From the Empire’s home in St Paul’s, Bristol we run an extensive boxing engagement programme under the Fight for Peace Five Pillar Methodology. This methodology was first implemented in the favelas of Rio De Janiero, Brazil and more recently in Newham, London to tackle those young people immersed in crime and violence. As part of the Fight for Peace Global Alumni we are implementing that methodology across deprived communities in Bristol. The five pillars of the boxing engagement programme are:
We believe that boxing offers a broad appeal and important values to young people: discipline, respect, self-control, identity, a feeling of belonging and pride, amongst others. The adrenaline of combat sports also works in attracting young people to take part, offering life lessons from the training sessions and in the relationships between the pupils and the coach. In an approach that sees sport as a tool in the inclusion and development of young people, Empire creates champions inside and outside the ring through its project. As well as this, all the young people signed up to the sporting activities have to regularly participate in the personal development sessions, which contain citizenship lessons and broaden horizons.
The Education pillar offers support and new opportunities for learning to young people who find themselves out of education or with learning difficulties. Empire as such offers numeracy & literacy classes as well as fast-track formal education qualifications. Through the Pathways project Empire offers an inclusive and tailored learning programme, different from traditional schooling practices. Like the other members of Empire, Pathways pupils must attend the personal development sessions which, combined with mentoring offered by the institution’s Social Support team, help them to build better opportunities for the future.
All members of Empire have the opportunity to be trained and prepared for the job market. That may be through access to specific courses and training sessions carried out by the organisation or by business partners, through support received when searching for jobs, or training for interviews, writing CVs or job referrals amongst other services available.
Youth Support Services
Empire’s Social Support team individually accompanies all the young people who are members at the gym. This support involves the members and their families and attends to the specific needs of everyone, whether that be through offering information, legal aid or psychological support. Members are also offered individual and group mentoring, guided support and referrals (social, medical, legal). As well as this, the team carry out home visits, case working and street outreach work.
Empire creates new leaders inside and outside of the organisation, by giving its members responsibilities and influence. In Bristol there exists the Youth Council, a group of elected members of Empire who participate in the organisation’s decision-making as well as in its process of evolution and change.