We exist to fight the impact of deprivation on the lives of young people. Poverty, poor housing and unemployment are common experiences among our target group. We developed our programme in overlooked neighbourhoods close to our gym in inner city Bristol. Thousands of other young people in impoverished neighbourhoods across the UK experience the same issues that young people face in our own community, which gives us the drive to scale our work across the country. These issues include;
Underperformance at school
We work with young people who are failing at school, under-performing academically or are at risk of exclusion. We also work with young people whose severity of behaviour has meant they are outside of mainstream education.
Poor physical health
Low levels of physical activity, combined with poverty, mean that poor physical health is rampant. Obesity and nutrition deficiencies are a particular challenge among young people and can lead to more serious health conditions. Low immunity, coupled with high levels of stress perpetuate health and social problems such as absence from school and confidence.
Poor mental health
Exposed to a toxic social environment, many young people arrive at our doors with a range of emotional issues, including anger, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Poor mental health has devastating consequences – it can disrupt young people’s education through absence from school and lead to challenging classroom behaviour and even exclusion.
Challenging family lives
Many of the young people we work with are from single-parent families, with few positive role models in their lives to learn from. Chaotic home lives, where imprisonment, addiction and violence are common, further inhibit a young person’s future.
Crime and anti-social behaviour
Young people’s distress is often expressed in ways that can lead them into trouble rather than care and support. Many of the young people we support are involved in anti-social & criminal behaviour, from gang crime and drug abuse to aggressive behaviour and offending.
Despite the huge challenges that young people face, few services exist to support them. Even fewer inspire young people. The lack of appropriate support for young people gave us the inspiration to create Empire Fighting Chance and now motivates us to scale our work across the country.
All of the above means that many young people are heading towards a life of unemployment. In addition, inter-generational unemployment limits young people’s aspirations. Many do not realise the opportunities their future could hold, let alone believe that they are able to reach them.