Sporting partnership to transform the lives of underprivileged young people in Bristol


A unique sporting partnership between Empire Fighting Chance, Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, Bristol Rovers Football Club and the Hartpury Sports Business Hub has the power to transform over 500 young people’s lives in Bristol, thanks to the RISE project.

Aimed at individuals not in education between the ages of 16 and 24, the Bristol-based RISE (Reform and Interceptions through Sport) programme will upskill and boost the employability of young people.

The project will see professional sporting organisations open-up their facilities including the Seat Unique Stadium, The Memorial Stadium and Empire Boxing Gym to provide training, learning, and work opportunities in a range of areas including fitness, catering, digital, and stewarding at large-scale sporting events.

Jeremy Holt, Sport Business Lecturer at Hartpury University, is providing research and consultancy services to the project through the Hartpury Sports Business Hub said: “With the ONS reporting that 12.5% of the 16-24 year old UK population neither in work nor education, this project has the potential to literally change lives.”

Jeremy continues: “RISE is all about giving unemployed young people the support and encouragement to believe in themselves and a healthier, brighter future. Over the next five years, it is hoped that with additional project funding in place, the sporting partnership will have boosted the employability and confidence of hundreds of young people across Bristol. “

Areas of research currently being conducted by Hartpury University include the identification of best practice across similar programmes running across the UK, as well as identifying the resources and the financial commitment required to start up the programme, and what the first five years of the programme could look like.

Martin Bisp, Co-Founder, Empire Fighting Chance said: “We support young people experiencing emotional and behavioural issues as a result of social and economic inequality. By improving physical and mental health through boxing, young people become more open to new opportunities, develop a more positive attitude to work, and are better equipped to make those crucial next-step decisions to thrive in life.”

The Hartpury Sports Business Hub provides students and staff with an opportunity to engage with key local and regional sports organisations to complete live briefs and real-world research consultancy. This project is part-funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

Sport organisations benefit from having access to a postgraduate student for digital marketing, social media management, research and consultancy purposes while students boost their employability, expand learning and networks, and gain real-world experience. Recent projects have included consultancy around diversity within sports governing bodies as well as intelligence gathering ahead of a sustainable clubhouse development.

Click here to find out more about the Hartpury Sports Business Hub.

Picture: [From left to right] Martin Bisp, Co-Founder Empire Fighting Chance, Jeremy Holt Business Lecturer, Hartpury University and Pete Lamb, Head of Community, Gloucestershire Cricket Club.