Members of staff from Bristol’s leading four-star hotel helped one of the city’s most inspiring charities, which helps tackle issues faced by vulnerable young people from deprived communities.
The ten-strong team from DoubleTree by Hilton, Bristol City Centre, spent a full day at Empire Fighting Chance in Easton clearing space for a new vegetable patch and cleaning out and painting numerous rooms that are used for mentoring and teaching the young people.
Part of the Worldwide Hilton ‘Week of Service’, the team then finished off their day’s hard labour with a rigorous boxing work-out!
Headed by Martin Bisp, Empire Fighting Chance was created in 2013 and now works with over 250 young people a week in the communities throughout Bristol. Its HQ is at the redeveloped Mill Youth Centre in Easton, a purpose built facility which includes a state-of-the-art gym, classrooms and studio space.
Martin said: “Bristol is a hugely vibrant and successful city but there are huge inequalities between different parts and is home to some of the most deprived areas in the whole country.
“In St Pauls, it is estimated that one out of two young people live in poverty with many families not being able to afford books, computers, good nutrition or adequate housing.
“In Easton and St Pauls there is also a devastating mix of low academic achievement, high unemployment and mental health issues.
“The gang culture is also rife which brings with it drug issues and violence while there are limited services to support young people.
“The aim of Empire Fighting Chance is to turn young people’s lives around helping them improve their education, their emotional capabilities, mental health, employment prospects and reducing crime.”
And it seems the work Martin and his team are doing is having the desired effect. Having spent time at the gym, 92 per cent of the young people have improved school attendance while 88 per cent are no longer deemed at risk of exclusion.
96 per cent of the young people say they feel more confident with 75 per cent progressing onto further learning opportunities.
John Dowling, general manager of the Redcliffe Way-based venue, is so inspired by what the charity has achieved, he is now looking to develop a long-term partnership so that users of the gym can gain work experience and receive mentoring across all aspects of the hotel’s day-to-day operation.
John said: “Empire Fighting Chance is a truly inspiring place. The combination of non-contact boxing alongside intensive individual support has really helped turn the fortunes around of many young people and we look forward to developing an on-going partnership with Martin and his team.”
For further information click here