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Case Studies

Brightstar Boxing Academy has helped many vulnerable people. We wanted to share with you some of their stories.

I was always very angry, and this led to people saying I was a troublemaker or misbehaving. I often made myself look like a fool to impress people I thought were my friends, it helped me feel like I fitted in and gave other people a sense of joy. Even if they laughed for just a little while, it made me feel involved and happy, knowing I had made them laugh.

After this continued for a while, I became known for this behaviour. When I was kicked out of school, I developed a reputation that I thought I had to live up to, my anger and mental health worsened, and I found it hard to see a way out.

When I wasn’t at school anymore, the people who I thought were my friends, no longer cared about me. This alongside issues that I was struggling to deal with in my personal life took a huge toll on my mental health and I did things that I am not proud of.

The new school I was placed at had a link with Bright Star and I was given the opportunity to attend the Futures programme twice a week. I didn’t think that I would like it to be honest and I get very nervous in groups, but when I walked through the doors I was made to feel at home. Almost straight away when the coaches and other people spoke to me I felt like I belonged somewhere – the coaches and others understood me and just got it.

At the start I just wanted to hit the bags and let my emotions out, but the coaches taught me about control and how to manage my feelings. They sat me down and I felt like I could talk to them about things that were on my mind – this was very scary as I hadn’t told anyone some of these things before. It made my life feel 100X easier – I felt in control and like I could manage everything. It made home life easier too as there were no more arguments.

I proved myself wrong on many occasions as I showed that I could achieve, I got 3 qualifications in just the first term.

I now have huge goals that I know I will achieve. I am so happy and am now training with the squad too. I am introducing more people who need support to the club and have helped the coaches in schools. My life where I want it to be. 

Arron McAllister

Amateur Boxer

Up until a year ago, life was very dull. I worked all week and drank away every penny I had at the weekend. I became alcohol dependent and struggled to have a positive relationship with my son.

I joined Bright star in January 18, I needed to try and come away from alcohol and heard about how they had supported others. The club made me see much more to life, I could do something positive and they made me want to be a better person.

I now train most evenings and my son who is 7 is also a member of Bright Star. We train together at home almost every night. We are so close now and hearing him say he is proud of me for my boxing is an incredible feeling. 

I have lost so much weight and have been clean for 8 months. I have just made it into the Amateur squad because of the hard work I have been putting in and how much I've improved. I am also running to help with my fitness and my life outside of boxing has improved so much because of this.

Kat Stanworth

Amateur boxer

About 7 years ago I had mental health issues and ended up in a rehab facility, at the time I weighed 26 stone and I decided it was time to change my life. 

I joined a gym and 3 years ago started boxing. Last year my mom passed away and I felt signs of depression coming back, however I was able to go to the gym and channel my energy into boxing.

I've lost 14 stone and have fell in love with boxing. Bright Star is a place where we are all family.


Junior Boxer

Age  16

I've always struggled with my fears, especially crowds. It's stopped me doing a lot of things and combined with ADHD has led to me getting into a lot of trouble. I have been expelled from school and been involved with the police. My anger was really unstable, I often hurt myself by hitting walls in frustration or lost close friends because I didn't feel in control.

I was referred to Bright Star and at first I didn't think it was a good idea because of my social fears. But the coaches opened up the doors when the gym was closed and did one to one training with me until I felt comfortable at the club, they then slowly got me used to boxing with people around, by doing one to one pad work whilst the sessions were happening around me. They didn't just teach me to box, they made it feel like a family and told me different ways of dealing with my anger and overcoming my anxiety.

In just 5 months I have evolved. I look forward to the boxing sessions and am getting so good. I have a punch bag at home, which is great for practice and for channeling my anger. I deal with bad situations so much better. I train hard and now when we have newcomers I like to help show them the basics too.

Because of boxing my confidence has grown so much that I had the courage to ask out a girl who I would have never of dreamed of even trying to talk to before, she's now my girlfriend and will come and watch me box in my first bout when I'm ready. I've overcome my fear of crowds too... boxing has helped me overcome all of my fears... nothing will stop me now!


Junior Boxer

Age  14

I was referred to Bright Star after getting in lots of trouble at school and in my care home. I had a lot of aggression which I couldn't control. 

Boxing has taught me respect. I've learnt if I react on aggression in the ring and not control my anger I get hurt and this is the same in life. 

I'm still learning, but I am able to deal with situations in life better and feel part of the Bright Star family which is important to me coming from a care home.

I'm now helping coach other boxers who struggle with their anger like I was.

Emma Dall

Boxer and Coach

When I started boxing I had no confidence and was very nervous. But at Bright Star I quickly felt like one of the family. 

My confidence grew so much and I even introduced my four children to boxing. It's helped with their anxiety and asthma too. Last year, I was also lucky enough to meet my now, fiancé at Bright Star. 

I never thought I would be able to stand in front of a room full of people and talk. I now coach and lead our mini-star session. 

Simon Lewis

Bright Star Boxer

Due to massive lifestyle changes I became alcohol dependent around 6 years ago. My anxiety was through the roof, I was so angry at everything and I felt so alone.

The alcohol, anger and anxiety lead to me not having a strong relationship with my twins who are very young. My fiancée left me because I was out of control and a couple of months ago I almost ended my life.

I saw an article in the Shropshire Star about Bright Star starting Counterpunch sessions for people with poor mental health, I was willing to try anything.

I could relate so much to everyone's story and combined with boxing I started to control my anger. A few months on and I am now boxing at bright star 3 times a week plus putting in extra work at home.

I no longer need counselling and last weekend my fiancée moved back in with me and said she has seen some amazing changes. I have the best relationship with my kids ever and have so many goals around boxing. 

I want to inspire others to take the same steps that I have.

Stu Cook

Amateur boxer

I was in a very low place, I was diagnosed with PTSD, I almost lost my family and tried to take my own life, twice. My anger became a real - issue. 

A friend suggested I try boxing with Bright Star to help my recovery.

Since boxing I have been able to control my anger and have lost over 6 stone. I am able to live my life with no medication or counselling.

Me and my wife are extremely happy and I am able to be the dad my kids need.

Kallum Manders

Aspiring Amateur Boxer

Since the age of 12 all I had known was a life heavily involved with drugs. 100 days ago today my life hit rock bottom and I knew it was time for a change.

I went to rehab but once I finished I was left with lots of time and was tempted by my past which is why I was referred to Bright Star. I instantly fell in love with Bright Star and now feel I have a real purpose.

I have a new positive friends group, great role models and boxing has become my life. I box almost every day, I am now 100 days clean and have no intention of turning back.


Bright Star Futures

Age  15

Keaton was disengaged in school, his attendance was very low and he would often walk out of lessons.

His anger was as he describes "out of control". He was referred to the Bright Star futures programme to help him manage his emotions and to reengage back into education

The Bright Star staff helped Keaton see a future vision and set goals related to this.

Within the first 6 months Keaton's attendance increased significantly and he did not leave his lessons, he said that this is because school is a huge part of his goals.

He now has coping mechanisms for his anger and his reacts on logic rather than emotion. School staff have said "we are so so proud of how focused and disciplined Keaton has become, he has made huge positive changes".

We are working with Keaton to help him gain a career as a mechanic and are very hopeful of him gaining an apprenticeship next year, this is something that he really wants to do and is working hard towards. Keaton says, "I now have the direction I have always needed in my life Bright star has given me a future".

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