Finding the right hobby for you can be life-changing – as a person we support found out when he took up boxing with the help of his support worker.
Shaun is 28 and is supported by a service in Hft’s Sheffield and Derbyshire region. He shares supported living accommodation with two others.
At the start of last year, Shaun decided to take up a new activity to improve his fitness and mobility skills. During a chat with his support worker Sue, Shaun mentioned that he’d love to try out boxing – something that Sue already had experience in.
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After struggling to find a local gym that Shaun could travel to independently, Sue suggested he tried a session with her own instructor.
Shaun took to the sport straightaway and started training every week. Sue noticed an immediate change, describing him as “coming on in leaps and bounds.” Since starting his boxing training, Shaun’s speech, confidence, strength and walking ability have hugely improved, with him now only needing his walking frame when he goes out on his own, a significant change.
A few months into his training, Sue spotted an upcoming local charity boxing match online and Shaun asked if he could take part. Sue’s response: “why not?”
Shaun stepped up his training in preparation for the big match, increasing his number of coaching sessions whilst also fundraising for Cash for Kids, the event’s chosen charity. Shaun was matched with a professional boxer who volunteered to fight him.
The night before the match felt like Christmas Eve, Shaun said, and he couldn’t wait for the next day to come.
He describes the match in his own words:
“On the day of the fight I was so buzzing and a bit nervous but when I got in the ring everything went away and I felt on top of the world. I was a bit tired doing the fight but when I won the match in the second round by a knock-out win I felt a kick and a buzz and I was so happy.
“I feel excited when I go boxing because it helps with my walking. When I am in the ring I feel like my disability has gone away and I can do everything.”
Support worker Sue was at the match cheering Shaun on. She said:
“The moment that stood out for me was when Shaun first entered the boxing ring. He proudly strutted his stuff all the way around the ring – the applause and shouts of encouragement he got were really overwhelming and emotional. It was unbelievable and he really looked the part. For Shaun to take part in an event like this in front of so many people was amazing.”
So what’s next for Shaun? He’s looking forward to a re-match with his opponent later this year, and is even crossing his fingers for a future charity sky dive – although he says he’s having trouble finding a support worker who wants to jump with him!