Empire Fighting Chance was born on the streets of Bristol to fight the destructive impact of poverty and inequality on the lives of young people.
Using a powerful combination of non-contact boxing and intensive personal support, we challenge and inspire vulnerable young people aged 8 to 25 to realise their unique potential.
Our history goes back over 50 years to when the renowned Empire Amateur Boxing Club was founded on Newfoundland Road in St Pauls in 1972. Through former Empire boxer and now Empire Fighting Chance Ambassador, Chris Sanigar, the club has produced British, Commonwealth, European and World Champions.
We have built on the club’s heritage and social capital in the community to build Empire Fighting Chance as a leading sport for development charity with a multi-disciplinary team of coaches, therapists and mentors.
Empire Fighting Chance’s story began in 2006 when our founders, Martin and Jamie, spotted two young men dealing drugs in a park near to the Empire Boxing Gym in inner-city Bristol.
They decided to tackle their behaviour and invited them in for a private training session and discussed the issues they faced. Both young men enjoyed the session and turned up the following week with a few friends. Within six weeks 50 young people were attending sessions five nights a week.
Together, Martin and Jamie recognised the potential of what they were building, as did more and more organisations and partners.
As our reputation grew, schools began asking us to work with their pupils who were on the verge of exclusion. The success we had with these groups led to us working with Pupil Referral Units and Avon and Somerset Police.
Over time, we evolved from a small boxing project into running the UK’s largest non-contact boxing schools engagement programme. Shortly after reaching this milestone, we asked ourselves what we wanted to do next, and it became clear we needed to “give as many people as possible a fighting chance to succeed”.
So, in 2013 we created the boxing charity, Empire Fighting Chance, to help us achieve our ambition.
In 2015, we moved from the historic Empire Gym to our new home at The Mill on Lower Ashley Road in Easton, with the support of Bristol City Council. Since then, the charity has grown exponentially.
Today, we deliver four psychologically informed non-contact boxing programmes, reaching over 5,000 young people every year. We run these programmes in our Bristol gym, in schools and via a growing network of affiliated amateur boxing clubs around the UK.
We receive referrals to our programmes from parents, schools, NHS mental health services, the police, youth organisations and young people themselves.
Find out more about what we do by clicking the links below.