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Fighting Spirit CIC was founded by Gwen Richards following the discovery that non-contact boxing fitness training had a positive impact on her mental health and enabled her to take control of her mind and thoughts; subsequently making a full recovery from depression.
Realising the benefits, Gwen started working within the community running sessions for all age groups, to improve their physical and mental wellbeing.
From this, 'Fighting Talk' sessions developed and combining these with the boxing training, Gwen now helps individuals, companies and organisations with mental health awareness.
We all have mental health; our mission is to help others take care of it and offer support for isolation, stress, anxiety and low mood. We plan to build a community of like minds, encourage people to talk to each other and show there are many people feeling the same way who understand.
I had been a long-term sufferer of poor mental health for many years and this impacted on both my personal and professional life. Like many people, I was an expert at ‘masking’ my suffering - mainly driven by embarrassment, feeling silly and worrying what people or especially employers, would think of me.
It was a perpetual cycle; I’d been in the system for many years trying to get the right support with little success.
The turning point came when I was advised to try non -contact boxing fitness training -this led me to qualify as a Boxing Fitness Coach at the Hatton Academy to advanced level; from this point my mental health improved dramatically and I am now completely depression free and continue to be well.
I had a ‘lightbulb’ moment and realised if this had helped me - perhaps it would help others too; Fighting Spirit was born.
Using my professional experience; which includes training and coaching as well as event management, combined with my personal experience of mental health, my passion is to help and support as many people as possible to prevent, manage or recover from mental health challenges.
Nige brings with him a wealth of corporate experience; a high achiever - he has worked on a global platform for large organisations and SME’s. With this successful career came a 20-year battle with severe work-related stress, which at times was debilitating.
Nige hid it well until the point he could not carry on and decided to use his vast experience to support start up companies and their founders to successfully build their business.
Nige recognises the value of what Fighting Spirit aims to achieve and through his lived experience of stress, brings empathy and understanding; this combined with his business knowledge is an invaluable asset.
To box well you need to switch off from the outside world; it is fast, furious and above all fun, leaving little room in your head for anything else. Being able to avert daily stresses can help you to truly take time out, giving you a fresh perspective to better deal with problems, or things that are bothering you.
The act of putting on boxing gloves and doing pad or bag work, demands the mind to focus, allows you to ‘take control’ of your thoughts and requires complete mental discipline. A powerful step in prevention, recovery or stress relief.
Fighting Talk sessions and workshops add social value by building on the Boxing Fitness Training, encouraging people to share their experiences and help each other. Gwen leads these sessions with support from an accredited counsellor, using a bespoke approach tailored to meet client needs. The content can cover a wide range of support from stress management, to dealing with anxiety, or even how to recognise low mood.
Fighting Talk forms, a valuable link to further team-based events and activities within the Fighting Spirit community. They can be group based or one to one in a supportive and confidential environment.
A programme designed to equip employers with tools to tackle mental health challenges in the workplace, raise awareness and gain a better understanding.
A workshop designed to get people talking, share mental health experiences and support each other.
Facing a mental health crisis, the NHS are exploring options to improve community- based services and following an invitation to present to Heads of Procurement in December, Fighting Spirit received interest from four Trusts within Greater Manchester. Further discussions have started, and the plan is to conduct a pilot programme with 20 patient referrals and demonstrate the effectiveness of the Fighting Spirit programme, with a view to offering a Social Prescription via GP's.
Any NHS enquires are welcome.