02 January 2019
Our January Member Spotlight features the work of Boxing Futures, a charity that has been delivering non-contact Boxercise Programmes to more than 300 young people over the last three years. We spoke to Angela Gault, London Operations and Development Manager, about Boxing Futures’s current projects, future plans and their passion for youth work.
Q: What programmes do you run at Boxing Futures?
A: We deliver non-contact Boxercise Programmes to young people. We aim to make an immediate impact on their lives, working predominantly with 16-25-year old, however we also work with younger age groups, by improving their physical and mental health and well-being through sport. Additionally, by building empowering relationships and developing soft skills in the sessions this also facilitates their pathways into volunteering, training, education and employment in the capital.
Q: How many young people do you work with?
A: We work with over 300 young people (male and female) within different boroughs, and this depends on where our partner organisations are based.
Q: How did you get into youth work?
A: I started working at a youth empowerment organisation when I finished studying, previously I had done some volunteering as a group facilitator for a domestic violence charity. I then became a programmes manager for a youth homelessness charity, before coming to work with Boxing Futures just over a year ago. I’m not too sure where the time has gone, it’s all flown by so quickly!
Q: How does London inspire you?
A: The city has such energy! If you were to stop and talk to everyone in the street, there is such a wealth of life experiences, cultures and languages that shows how the capital has been built and continues to grow and evolve through a mix of people who are born and bred Londoners as well as from people who have moved here from so many countries across the globe. It’s amazing when you think about it! No matter where you go, every area in London has its individuality that marks it out and makes it special and unique.
Q: What is best about doing what you do?
A: I attend quite a lot of the boxing sessions to assist the coaches when needed, and the highlights of what I do are things that others might see as quite insignificant if you aren’t paying attention – cracking a joke and getting a smile from someone who has been really quiet in sessions, seeing someone run an extra lap in the hall and noticing on their face that they are pushing themselves to keep going when before they would have quit, getting to present groups with their certificates and t-shirts and seeing the pride on their faces that they have achieved something and been acknowledged and celebrated for it. I think it’s often underestimated the power of meaningful and continued encouragement and the amazing effects it can produce, no matter what the age of the person.
Q: What’s been most exciting this year?
A: There is so much that has happened this year, its hard to know where to start! Next month we will soon have 8 programmes running over two days which is absolutely fantastic, and this is only due to the fact we have been able to build up such a talented pool of coaches and volunteers who know how to work with young people and get the best out of them in the sessions. Our 2 year Movember Foundation programme we are currently running, working to tackle male isolation, is also going from strength to strength! We’ve also managed to do some great collaborative work with other London Youth (LY) members in the last few months and got to bring down our portable boxing ring and be one of the delivery partners for the LY Inclusion Festival in Haringey a couple of weeks ago, and getting to see so many young people benefit from putting on some gloves and trying boxing who probably would never try it otherwise.
Q: What’s your next big project?
A: We have an exciting new all-female programme that we are soon to begin with another London Youth member. This is the first time we have run all-girls sessions, and it is being led by all-female coaches, and shows the demand is there, and that we are able to deliver a programme that means girls can feel comfortable enough to come and give boxing a try. I’m really passionate about seeing more girls and women take up sport in general and so this is a fantastic step in the right direction, particularly in boxing, which is seen as a male dominated sport.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d offer young Londoners?
A: This might sound corny, but you are the future. Organisations like ours are all here to help lay the foundation for you guys to come and take on the world, so capitalise on it. Organisations are now much more aware of the barriers that young people are facing that previously might have been overlooked. Although the system isn’t perfect, it’s getting there. So take advantage of all of the opportunities that are being offered to you, there is so much at your fingertips, and just see where it takes you! One of my favourite sporting quotes related to this is ‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’.
Q: Anything else you’d like to mention?
A: If you’d like to know more about what we do at Boxing Futures or would be interested in discussing doing a programme together please do visit our website and reach out to us via the Contact page.