Box4Life

“It was like Manna from Heaven when the Deutsche Bank volunteers walked in!”

Box4Life was formed in 2009 as an antidote to gang culture following the tragic murder of a local teenager. Determined to create a safe haven for young people in the local area, the club uses non-contact boxing to teach new physical skills, raise confidence levels and develop emotional resilience.

From the outset, founder Mark Rule and Peter Sandy, wanted Box4Life to be more than just a boxing club. They wanted to create an extended family atmosphere; somewhere young people could come and discover who they really are, away from the pressure of other people defining what they could become in life.

Walk through the doors of the old church hall in Leytonstone when a Box4Life session is in full flow, and against a soundtrack of gloves hitting pads, creak of floorboards and shouts of encouragement, you’ll witness a rich melting pot of young people. Different ethnicities, genders, faiths, social groups, physical and academic abilities come together, united by their love for boxing.

More than just a boxing club...

    This safe, friendly and supportive environment allows young people to leave the social pressures of the street behind them, their preconceptions at the door, and really flourish under the watchful tutelage of Box4Life’s coaches.

     

    Mark and Peter always had ambitions to plug-in other educational activities in alongside Box4Life’s boxing sessions, so when the opportunity came along to join Sported and Deutsche Bank’s sporteducate programme, it seemed like a match made in heaven.

     

    With funding and support from sporteducate, Box4Life was able to launch its first supplementary education sessions aimed at improving young people’s attitudes to learning and academic achievement.

     

Sporteducate

Reaching critical mass

A member of sporteducate, Box4Life was able to draw on volunteer support from Deutsche Bank staff. As Peter explains the help couldn’t have come at a better time:

“It was getting to the point where it was too much work for one person. It was like Manna from Heaven when the Deutsche Bank volunteers walked in! It really was critically important for the development of the organisation. We’ve got very few resources and our foot was on the accelerator getting our educational sessions up to speed, so we had very little time for anything else. I don’t think we could have progressed any further without the volunteers from Deutsche Bank.”

Philosophy for Children

They first started with a homework club, focusing on supporting young people with their Maths and English, before broadening the focus of their sporteducate sessions with the introduction of Philosophy for Children.

Within these classes the young people will choose a question and, with the teacher’s help, discuss it together.  Central to the concept is the ‘Community of Inquiry’. Young people are encouraged to welcome the diversity of each other’s' initial views, but not to accept answers easily. Through questioning assumptions, developing opinions with supporting reasons and analysing concepts, they are taught to hone their creativity, critical thinking and debating skills, so central to academic success.

In addition, the club has been a keen adopter of the CoderDojo movement. At a Dojo, young people learn how to code, develop websites, apps, programs, games and explore technology in an informal and creative environment.

Deutsche Bank volunteers

Box4Life was matched with three Deutsche Bank volunteers - Hazel Ince, Anand Dattani and Tim Carey. They volunteer with Box4Life on an ongoing basis and support the club’s development in a number of different capacities, from taking care of general admin, preparing accounts, developing and building their new website and assisting with communication and marketing.

Thanks to sporteducate and Deutsche Bank volunteers, the infrastructure of the club has been strengthened and plans are afoot to grow the club so that more young people have the opportunity to become who they were born to be.

“It was like Manna from Heaven when the Deutsche Bank volunteers walked in!”

Peter Sandy, Box4Life