I have always been a great believer in community, but more specifically, in community projects that have lasting impact. The Nick Maughan Foundation has always placed education and community at the forefront of its activities, its three pillars being education, community and the environment. Initiatives that can bring about the best in people by providing them with opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise be afforded are particularly special.
Social issues facing young people today are both complex and critical, and have been particularly exacerbated by the pandemic. According to recent research, the education gap between rich and poor pupils stopped narrowing even before the pandemic hit the UK, with disadvantaged children thought to be up to around two years of learning behind other pupils.
Considering the mixture of an ever-increasing funding cut to youth services, concerning levels of mental health problems amongst the young and a need to rebuild communities damaged from the long lockdowns we have been forced to undergo - the future for Britain’s young people looks very challenging indeed. And it is not just for governments or educational institutions to sort this problem out, but for civil society everywhere.
That is why we are delighted to be launching BOXWISE, a non-profit social enterprise that helps young people build confidence, improve their health, and maximise all opportunities available to them. Most importantly, it is an initiative built upon the two founding pillars of education and community.
Boxing provides a structure for young people to channel their energy and harness their potential in all walks of life. But BOXWISE is not just about boxing. We want to build partnerships with schools and provide tangible foundations and opportunities for young people, not just providing them with a place to go and box.
What we want is to give young people, wherever they might be, the opportunity to develop a sense of purpose – particularly as we emerge from a period where many might feel that they have lost it.
There is perhaps no more opportune a moment than this for us to be launching BOXWISE, as the end of the pandemic starts to appear ever more visible on the horizon.
In a world where the young have had to go without schools, gyms, community centres and sporting events for far too long, we hope that the launch of BOXWISE will coincide not just with a return to normal, but a journey to somewhere better.
I am delighted that we are finally turning a long-held dream into reality, and hope that our foundation will help young people build their foundations for a long and successful future.