Empire Fighting Chance has come a long way in the past four years, which is when we last documented our charity’s Theory of Changehow we believe our activities will lead to the impacts we want to achieve. 

We are now:

  • operating at a national level, training and supporting partner organisations to deliver our programmes across the UK
  • beginning to advocate to shape attitudes, policies and practices
  • developing a better understanding of the key drivers of our performance
  • delivering Box Therapy ourselves (rather than through a specialist mental health provider)

With all this growth and development, now is the perfect time to review and refine our Theory of Change. This will guide our work for the years to come by setting out what change we are working towards for young people and how we achieve this. 

To help us to develop our Theory of Change, we are excited to announce that we have launched a partnership with leading academics from Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU), Dr Deborah Jump and Dr Paul Gray. We have had a relationship with Dr Jump and Dr Gray for several years now, having contributed to some of their research into serious youth violence and boxing.

Dr Deborah Jump is a Reader in Criminology at MMU. She has over fifteen years’ experience of working in youth justice as both a practitioner and service manager. She is the Associate Director of the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies and was previously the recipient of a Winston Churchill Memorial Fund evaluating the impact of sporting programmes on communities in the USA.

Dr Paul Gray has been a Reader in Criminology at MMU since 2011 and is the Deputy Director of the Manchester Centre for Youth Studies. In the fifteen years prior to joining MMU, he was involved in applied research for a wide range of funders including the Home Office, the Youth Justice Board, the Welsh Government, and the Ministry of Justice. He has authored numerous journal articles and research reports on a wide range of topics including youth justice, substance misuse, and childhood trauma.

We kicked off our partnership last week with a series of inspiring workshops facilitated by Dr Jump and Dr Gray at our gym with young people, parents/carers, and our team. The insights gained in these sessions were invaluable and will be used to update our Theory of Change. What we produce will give us a clearer picture of our work, keep us laser focused on impact and help us to improve how we understand and evidence it.

Dr Jump said, “it’s exciting to work with Empire in its mission to improve lives and communities through the power of trauma-informed boxing”.

Dr Gray said, “it’s refreshing to work with a charity that is committed to adopting a rigorous, evidence-led approach to its work with young people”.

We will be sharing more details about our Theory of Change project later this year – watch this space.

Some of the Empire Fighting Chance team in a Theory of Change workshop with Dr Jump and Dr Gray on 1st March 2023