The meeting on the 24th April 2018 covered a wide range of issues related to boxing and the impact that the sport can have to promote desistance from crime.
APPG members, Angela Gault (Boxing Futures) and Martin Bisp (Empire Fighting Change) opened proceedings with some information about the boxing programmes that their organisations run and some how these have had a positive impact on young people at risk of violence and social exclusion.
The panel discussion began with Anna Cain, Principal of the Boxing Academy, talking about the Boxing Academy as an alternative provision free school which uses boxing to help young people between 14-16 who have been excluded from main stream education.
Dr Deborah Jump, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Manchester Metropolitan University, spoke about her academic research looking at why boxing promotes disistance from crime, especially in young men.
Shadow Sports Minister, Dr Rosena Allin-Kahn MP, shared some of her experiences as a boxer and trauma doctor who has seen the positive impact that the sport can have on people who have been affected by gangs, violence and social exclusion.
Alex LeVey from the Centre for Social Justice discussed what policy levers could be used to promote boxing as a social intervention in disadvantaged communities.
Finally, Dr Stephen Hills, Senior Lecturer in Sport Management at London Metropolitan University, discussed ways that research could be used to gather a strong evidence-base for the impact of boxing on communities.
The panel was followed by an open discussion with members of the group covering:
- What could be done by policymakers to bring boxing programmes into prisons.
- How best to measure the impacts that boxing clubs have on community cohesion.
- The importance of the good coaches and role models when it comes to boxing and young people at risk of violence and social exclusion; it is as much about building positive relationships for these kids as it is about the sport itself.
- Boxing can be used as a hook to get young people on the right path; it can be seen as an analogy that teaches them how to deal with situations outside of the ring.
- The importance of making this discussion relevant to the wider policy agenda if we want to affect change and promote boxing as a positive intervention that should be supported by government.
- The APPG would take evidence from members on this issue and prepare a letter to submit to the Sport Minister, Tracey Crouch MP, and the DCMS Committee.