Martin fights his corner with MPs

Published on: 03 Dec 2015

A CHARITY founder from Downend has been addressing MPs on the role sport can play in improving mental health.
Martin Bisp, who helped set up boxing charity Empire Fighting Chance, visited the Houses of Parliament to address an All-Party Group on mental health.
Before the meeting, Martin, along with charity co-founder Jamie Sanigar, met with Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy to tell her about the charity’s inspirational success story.
The pair started Empire Fighting Chance eight years ago after witnessing a drugs deal outside the Empire Boxing Club in St Paul’s.
They invited the lads involved to try their hand at boxing which led to them turning their lives around.
The charity’s use of non-contact boxing programmes has been credited with transforming the lives of thousands of young people by keeping them on the straight and narrow.
Martin, 45, pulled no punches when he told the meeting there was a reluctance to financially invest in sport as an alternative to medication.
He said: “Statistics show the poorer you are the less likely you are be to offered alternatives to medication and I stated that I struggle to understand why, in an age of budgetary pressures, the government isn’t prepared to fully invest in suitable, successful and cheaper options.”
Martin said he was encouraged by the response he received.
“All the MPs appeared to have a genuine interest in changing the government’s approach to mental health,” he said.

Pictured from left to right: Charity co-founder Jamie Sanigar, Ron Tulley, head of development at the Amateur Boxing Association, and fellow charity co-founder Martin Bisp

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