Educating and inspiring young people and their communities at Alliance member Bulldogs 

12/02/2019 – Bulldogs Boxing and Community Activities (BCA), a Fight for Peace Alliance partner since 2015, uses the power of boxing to involve, educate and inspire young people and their families. Based in Port Talbot, south Wales, the Bulldogs is having a significant impact through their investment in young people and their inclusive programmes supporting members of the local community. Over the past three years alone, Bulldogs have engaged almost 1,800 people.

“The Bulldogs was a traditional boxing club but we realised early on the powerful difference boxing and the tools within a boxing club can make within a social impact philosophy”, explains Mal Emerson, Chief Executive of Bulldogs BCA. Bulldogs registered a separate charity in 2014 to run in parallel with their boxing club and have subsequently grown year on year, both in terms of young people engaged and in the physical expansion of their facilities. “In 2015, we became partners of Fight for Peace and have witnessed the tremendous benefits of doing so. We adopted a Five Pillars approach but adapted it to suit our community – we have a mix and match plan where participants can have as much or as little intervention as required”, added Mal.

The success of the organisation has brought funding opportunities which in turn have seen the growth of programmes offered. Support delivered by Bulldogs’ Education, Employment and Training Pillar alone has seen 97 people gain jobs.

Two young members that have progressed as a result of support at the Bulldogs are Danny* and Ceri*.  Danny was referred to Bulldogs from her school and when she first joined was demotivated in her studies and didn’t take part in any form of extra-curricular activities. After beginning regular boxing classes at Bulldogs, Danny began to show real dedication. As well as improvements in fitness and boxing, she developed her social skills and became an active member of the Bulldogs Youth Council, taking a lead in discussing the future of the club and helping to organise fund raisers and other events. Danny also received support in her education at Bulldogs which led to her gaining a place on a higher education course to study to become a fitness instructor.

Ceri, meanwhile, not only became an accomplished boxer at Bulldogs but also completed her A-levels and gained full time employment with support from the organisation. Ceri initially wanted to lose weight and gain confidence, through training at Bulldogs, however, she gained success in the boxing ring and successfully completed her coaching qualifications. She went on to volunteer at the organisation and received support in applying for a Support Worker role in which she now works full time. Ceri has no doubt of the impact the organisation has had on her: “Bulldogs definitely brought me out of my shell and gave me so much confidence in all aspects of my life, not just training”, she says.

Bulldogs Boxing and Community Activities are among over 100 members of the Fight for Peace Alliance, a global community of organisations which provide partnership and support to each other through the sharing of knowledge, expertise and best practice. All Alliance members receive training in Fight for Peace’s methodology as well as ongoing support from Fight for Peace and fellow members. Alliance members are united in their belief in the power of combat sports in supporting young people to realise their potential and in preventing violence in their communities.

*the names of these young people have been changed to protect their identity.