Swann packs punch for charity

Published on: 02 Jan 2015

Graeme Swann at Empire Fighting Chance Boxing GymGraeme Swann at Empire Fighting Chance Boxing GymGraeme Swann at Empire Fighting Chance Boxing GymGraeme Swann at Empire Fighting Chance Boxing Gym

A CHARITY set up by two men from Downend and Frenchay was given extra clout when it received a visit from former England cricketer Graeme Swann.

Empire Fighting Chance was founded by Martin Bisp and Jamie Sanigar to use non-contact boxing programmes to keep young people on the straight and narrow.

To inspire people to get involved with working with young people, Swann paid a visit to the Bristol-based Empire Fighting Chance Boxing Gym in St Agnes which has been supported by youth sports charity, Sported. 

Swann, who was in his capacity as a BT Sport Ambassador, showed his support for the charity by donating four hours of his time to help youngsters practice their sparing techniques, give hints and tips on dealing with setbacks in sport and taking part in a fitness session. 

He said: “It’s about donating a few extra hours here and there to help out local sporting clubs and community projects and giving youngsters the opportunity to do something positive with their lives - you can see here they’re giving the kids a positive channel. It has been a great experience and so much fun to watch these guys in action.”

Martin, who lives in Downend, said: “We work with young people who are in danger of committing criminal offences by trying to get them back into education or employment through sport. The idea is that we offer any young person a chance to come and work with us and try and get them to see their future differently. 

“Having Graeme down here is a huge plus even though he isn’t a boxer – he represented England in a completely different sport but young people look up to these sports stars and the response will be fantastic.”  

Swann visited the gym to launch a campaign called #myextratime for BT Sport’s charitable initiative, The Supporters Club.

The Supporters Club aims to show the difference that various time pledges can make to many of the charities it supports. For example, a pledge of just two hours could be used to help coach a local under-9s team. 

Other BT sport ambassadors backing the #myextratime campaign include Robin van Persie, Ben Kay and Rio Ferdinand.

Chris Grant, chief executive of Sported, said: “Our army of volunteers across the UK give one of the most valuable gifts they can – their time. By lending their professional expertise to community sport clubs like Empire Fighting Chance, they are helping these clubs grow, become more sustainable and, most importantly, change more young lives. The Supporters Club’s ‘My Extra Time’ campaign is brilliant and I would encourage everyone to donate some of their time to volunteering – it really does make a massive difference.”

People can pledge their extra time to sports volunteering opportunities in their local area via www.btsport.com/myextratime.

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