Youth development

“BBC Children In Need have funded us for a number of years now and they see the value in how highly respected boxing mentors can utilise the respect they earn in society, using that to develop skills in young people who see them as role models. The programme is vital to working with those most in need, providing them with an identity and a purpose in life, which is invaluable considering many are surrounded by poverty, gangs and a lack of opportunity.”

Paddy Benson
Chief Executive


Supporting children and young people up to 18 years of age to improve physical fitness, whilst improving self-esteem and levels of confidence and self-belief. Most participants are from areas of high deprivation in Birmingham.

Funded by

Thanks to funding from BBC Children in Need, we have been able to develop an innovative programme for under-18s, focusing on personal development whilst addressing physical and mental wellbeing.

The aim is to improve physical fitness, whilst improving self-esteem and levels of confidence and self-belief. A majority of the young people who participate in our youth project are from areas of high deprivation, where poverty levels are some of the highest in the country.

A dedicated Youth Development Officer runs a successful after-school and evening-based provision for a diverse range of young people, all under the age of 18, which includes one-to-one mentoring and, where necessary, onward referral to partner organisations. Examples of where we may intervene and refer on to a specialist include mental health issues, housing problems and possible homelessness, gang affiliation and grooming, and county lines exposure.


In over 8 seven years of BBC Children In Need funding, we have worked with over 1450 young people.

  • 91% reported a positive experience at Pat Benson Boxing Academy
  • 83% have improved their self-confidence
  • 90% have experienced improvements in their health
  • 11% have progressed to compete in some form of boxing competition
  • Over 600 young people have been diverting away from serious involvement in gang activity

Youth Council

The Youth Council is a group formed from young people who participated in our youth project. They act as a voice and decision-making group within the organisation, feeding back to the board of trustees. This is a diverse group: some of the young people competed as part of the club; others joined the project simply to improve their confidence and become more active. The Youth Council has been running for three years and is currently organising a charity fundraising event to raise money for our Mind Fit programme and for the next BBC Children In Need appeal night.