Bullying causes long-term, profound impact for some young people, yet joining in with physical activities can help repair the damage.
At 15 years old, Callum was suffering extreme anxiety, low self-esteem and he felt uneasy around people, particularly his own peers, and as a result he’d missed a lot of school and had failed his GCSEs.
“At school, I used to get bullied in PE, so I was scared to be there. I started avoiding more of my lessons and I lost all my friends because they didn’t get it.”
Our work with young people secured funding for physical activities for his class and although the main objective was to help the young people to get more exercise, the application process provided lots of english and maths learning along the way. Kickboxing was chosen as one of the favourite student options and Callum reluctantly agreed to attend the eight-week course.
“At first, my friends and I didn’t want to take part. It was a bit intimidating, everyone in the gym with boxing gloves on. As the weeks went on, I did join in, I got more confident, people were more encouraging, and the instructor was really nice. Towards the end I would really look forward to going.”
A positive impact on every aspect of life
As well as doing the activity, students had to navigate buses and walk over to the boxing club, having their lunch in town on the way. All of this helped to build Callum’s confidence. “Now I’d recommend giving new things a go.”
Team building and self-esteem raising
Alongside the funding for the kickboxing course, we have supported the group to apply for equipment to use on site or at the park and to fund a team-building day with multiple outdoors activities.
Callum’s tutors have really noticed the difference the activities have made to him. “The kickboxing really brought Callum out of his shell,” said Liz.
Last summer Callum spent most of his time at home, alone. This year? “I’m planning on going to the gym and I’ll go out with my friends more,” he said enthusiastically. “Even if boxing’s not exactly my thing, I might find something else which is. I definitely won’t be sat in the house doing nothing.”