Making Boxing Accessible for Everyone
Dennis and Dyer prides itself on being a community hub that welcomes people of all abilities and backgrounds to train with us and discover a love for boxing and fitness. We use a strengths-based and person-centred approach across our work, which means we meet people where they’re at and help them believe they’re able to not just get involved but also achieve personal goals. We have a dedicated team of highly skilled coaches with expertise and experience in working with people with a range of needs, including adults and young people living with:
Physical and learning disabilities,
Learning difficulties and emotional/behavioural issues,
ASD and ADHD,
Mental health challenges,
Grief and bereavement,
Older people and long-term health conditions, including Parkinson's.
Boxing is a fantastic tool to support a range of outcomes alongside improving fitness and physical health. Our non-contact sessions are fun and work with everybody as individuals seeing improvements in:
Impulse control and self-discipline,
Focus, concentration and offers a safe alternative to risk-taking behaviours,
Self-confidence and self-esteem,
Mood and aiding emotional regulation,
Alleviating the inner feeling of restlessness for people with ADHD,
Dennis and Dyer prides itself on being a community hub that welcomes people of all abilities and backgrounds to train with us and discover a love for boxing and fitness. We use a strengths-based and person-centred approach across our work, which means we meet people where they’re at and help them to believe they’re able to, not just get involved but also achieve personal goals. The gym is on the ground floor and is fully accessible for wheelchairs, with disabled toilet access. We have a dedicated team of highly skilled coaches with expertise and experience in working with people with a range of needs.
Community Lead, Carly says:
“Alongside our fantastic team of coaches, I bring more than a decade of experience leading health and wellbeing programmes across health and social care, now using my passion for sharing boxing with everybody in our community as a way to help reach your potential. Boxing has helped me to transform my life, and I love to help others to discover that boxing can bring so many benefits alongside getting fitter, stronger and healthier. It really is a sport that lends itself so well to overcoming life challenges and barriers and making you feel great!”
We run a wide range of projects and services for our community, including offering free self-defence for local women and a popular scheme giving free opportunities for local children and young people to join our classes through Active Essex.
Highly commended in the Active Essex Activity Awards 2023 and Initially funded by Maverick Stars Trust and Active Essex, the RELEASE: Boxing through Grief programme is an innovative project designed and delivered by The Loss Project in partnership with Dennis and Dyer. It recognises that grief takes it toll on our health and wellbeing, as well as associated feelings of stress, anger, frustration, loneliness and feeling like your world has been turned upside down. The programme delivers group and 1-1 sessions for adults and young people who have experienced bereavement, which provides a space to connect with others who are bereaved, learn new tools to cope and improve health and wellbeing. The programme has been so successful that it’s being rolled out to other areas of the country.
Hannah, Adult Group said: “The bereavement boxing group has really helped me navigate my grief. When you lose somebody, it’s really hard to stay motivated to do anything. This group has given me something to look forward to and has been a great way to relieve the stress and anxiety that comes with grief. Carly has been amazing and hasn’t pushed anyone to speak about their feelings but allows us time to do so when we’re ready. It was very helpful meeting others who had been through similar experiences, as you can talk about your feelings and begin to understand that you’re not alone. This group has really gotten me through the last couple of months and helped me when I felt at my lowest.”
We work with a number of children and young people with learning difficulties, ADHD and other social and behavioural challenges in 1-1s, group classes and specialist programmes. We’ve worked with the West Essex Inclusion Project as well as the Loughton Youth Group aimed at young people with learning disabilities and ASD.
“Carly was welcoming and so good at getting the kids involved. They were lovely and accommodating and lowered the music for some of our members. Carly and the team helped to build confidence in our members and encouraged them to try new things.” Luisa Bowden, Loughton Youth Group Manager (SEND) Accuro
Amateur Boxer, experiencing autism says: “I previously felt really bad about myself, but getting into fitness has really helped me to improve myself. I love being at the gym itself; there are great people, boxers, and trainers. Everyone supports each other, we’re like a second family; now I feel like I’ve got a network – the gym has made a big impact on my life. I’ve even got some other people to come along too. The people here support you no matter what, there’s always someone here you can talk to. If I’m not feeling good then someone will listen to my problems, they’re understanding, and I know they won’t judge or belittle me.”
ACE Activities – Project of Voluntary Action Epping Forest
ACE activities provide a range of activities for adults with learning disabilities and mental health issues. A group of 15 adults with learning disabilities and autism have been enjoying attending a monthly boxing session, including bag and pad work, learning stance, guard and punches, and having lots of fun in the process. Many of the group had not had the opportunity to try boxing previously or would not have felt confident or comfortable attending a session on their own.
Sally, the Coordinator of the group, says: “Our Learning Disability Activity Group attends a boxing/ exercise sessions at Dennis and Dyer Boxing Academy with the brilliant Carly Attridge. The session was well organised, fun, and really good exercise for our members. Everyone was engaged from start to finish and. Some of our members have autism, behavioural and concentration issues and to keep their attention for that length of time is not easy and requires experience and humour which Carly clearly has. We would thoroughly recommend the sessions to all diverse groups.”
Mental Health Group for Men
Funded by MIND West Essex, in collaboration with partners, we delivered a specialist ten-week programme aimed at middle-aged men with significant mental health challenges through a lens of suicide prevention. The programme blended boxing with opportunities to meet new peers to reduce isolation as well as improve physical and emotional health. From never boxing before, the group all took the plunge and had a go at body sparring in the ring, an achievement they didn’t think possible at the beginning of the programme. After a small pilot, the participants shared:
“This class is a welcome break from my day-to-day life. It’s a chance for me to forget about my reality even if it is for 1 hour. I feel like I can express myself freely. And if you were to ask my family my mood has improved because of this class.”
“I’m more relaxed, calm and joyful because of this class.”
“It’s given me back my confidence.”
“Excellent trainer and very friendly club.”