Shifnal’s Bright Star Boxing Academy proudly working with nearly 200 of Shropshire’s most vulnerable young people, is one of the country’s most successful ‘Chances’ projects. Through boxing, sport, education and mentoring, Bright Star have supported 80% of its young people to reduce their risk of being excluded from school or leaving school without a progression pathway.

Bright Star in partnership with Energize, joined the national Chances programme in February 2021 against the backdrop of the Covid pandemic, to support disengaged young people to attend school more regularly, gain qualifications, get into training, to reduce or avoid offending and to be more physically active.

Bright Star have established great partnerships, with over 20 schools in Shropshire referring students who are struggling to engage, focus and succeed in the standard school system. Boxing and mentoring are key components used to support participants. The team of boxers, mentors, coaches and educators at Bright Star are positive role models who use boxing, sport, mentoring and education to support each young person individually and help them to gain accredited qualifications including Boxing Leaders Award, ASDAN Sports and Fitness Short Course and mini-medics awards.

In addition to achieving awards, Bright Star has also had a positive impact on increasing school attendance and on helping young people to improve their mental health with 77% saying they now feel more positive about their future.

“The programme has helped me control my anger and make me more aware of my mental health. I've also learnt how to use my skills to be a leader in the group.”

Freddie, aged 14 has been involved in the project for a year as he was struggling to manage his emotions in school and was finding home life difficult. Before joining Bright Star’s Chances project Freddie started displaying negative behaviour and his attendance at school was declining.

Chances is a national programme with a local focus co-commissioned by Shropshire Council, Sport England and the Life Chances Fund (via the Department of Culture, Media & Sport).

Paul Thomas, Telford Langley School:

“The positive changes we have seen on our students is unbelievable. We have had students who have been on a reduced timetable now back on full timetables, students managing their emotions so much better, and students who would not attend certain lessons now not only attending these lessons, but actively thrive in them. We will continually work with Bright Star to further support all those students who need the extra help and show them that they are able to achieve.”

Joe Lockley, Brightstar Boxing Academy:

“We are delighted to be able to work in partnership to support young people across Shropshire. This work is needed more than ever and it’s great to see local schools and the Local Authority so on board with this programme. We are looking forward to expanding this work and help reach more young people at the earliest possible stage.”

People at Brightstar

People at Brightstar

If you have any questions about how Chances is being delivered in Shropshire please contact: Harry Cade at Energize Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin: [email protected] or 07539 377701.

If you are interested in understanding more about the programme overall, please contact Sangita Patel at Substance: [email protected] or visit