Today we share the story of another one of the thousands of young people we fight for every year – and how Empire Fighting Chance has transformed their life. 

Meet Tom*.

Tom was referred to us by his school after behaviour and attendance issues.

He was experiencing depression, anxiety, aggression, and low self-esteem, due to a tumultuous home life. It was hoped that Empire Fighting Chance’s flagship 20-week Training with the Champions programme could help him build up his resilience and confidence – and improve his overall wellbeing.

The journey

When Coach Matt first started his sessions with Tom, he noticed that he was friendly and eager to engage in the boxing sessions. Tom was able to talk openly and honestly about his struggles and how he was feeling.

It was noticeable that Tom was susceptible taking on a lot of the stress of those around him. Matt describes Tom as carrying “the weight of the world on his shoulders”.

After admitting that he struggles with over-worrying about the people around him, his coach taught him the principle of ‘No Wrong Feelings’ and that trying to push difficult emotions away would lead to becoming more stressed.

Coach Matt got also Tom focusing on his ‘Growth Mindset’, to push him out of his comfort zone. With his dedication to attending sessions every week and putting in a great amount of effort, Tom was able to improve his physical fitness.

The impact

Tom’s mum said, “He is so much more positive, you can really see this when he faces struggles at school. His self-esteem is so much better since seeing Matt.”

Tom’s school saw a big improvement in his resilience after he started with Empire, and he no longer had outbursts. His mum also saw a big change in Tom, as he showed more confidence, less aggression and stronger friendships. She feels that the bond Tom built up with Coach Matt has been a big factor in this.

As Tom’s sessions came to an end, his mum told our Family Liaison Officer:

“I can’t praise his time with Empire enough. The help the charity has given Tom has been amazing which has put him in a much better place.

“Tom certainly is a happier, more settled child since being with you.”

*Name changed to protect identity. Image used for illustrative purposes only and not connected to story.


To find out more about Empire Fighting Chance’s Training with the Champions mentoring programme, click here.

To refer a young person to Empire Fighting Chance, email