15 October 2013

Thinking outside the box


AWP service users and staff at the Bristol Boxing Gym were delighted to meet Lee Haskins (British bantamweight champion), who was there last week to launch a new 'box fit' course.

Bristol Boxing Gym is running the course to help people with mental health problems in partnership with AWP's Bristol Active Life Project.

Martin Bisp who, with Jamie Sanigar runs the gym's community engagement projects-said: "There were a number of high-profile boxers suffering mental-health difficulties and we wondered whether there was a role we could play in that.

"We had a man who was bi-polar come to us. He was three stones overweight to start off with but now he is three stones lighter, has a full-time job and has come off his medication, so working with us completely changed his life. Speaking with him, combined with our experiences of the boxing world, made us think 'What more can we do?'."

Mr Bisp and Mr Sanigar contacted AWP's Marvin Rees explaining how they wanted to combine an exercise programme with mentoring. They were then put in touch with our Bristol Active Life Project Team, who work to get people involved in a host of activities to boost their mental and physical health.

The non-contact sessions will include basic boxing techniques; shadow boxing, bag work, circuit training, running and skipping as well as psychological support.

Mr Bisp said: "We want to offer a support group for the people attending the sessions along with peer mentors - people who have come through mental health difficulties, those coming through the project, and celebrity mentors who we want to talk about their experiences of mental health."

This is a fantastic example of successful joint working between AWP and the community and it is hoped that people who attend the ten sessions will want to carry on and do more.

The Bristol Post attended the event on 10 October and many thanks to them for their photo of Lee showing us his moves in the ring!

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