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UEL uses boxing to help combat physical psychological and social disorders

Students in Stratford campus

UEL collaborates with charities to help sufferers of neurological disorders, through boxing 

The University of East London has been getting into the ring with local charities to combat neurological disorders through the use of boxing. We pride ourself on having a community-focused campus whilst making great contributions to society. As the people’s university we are consistently engaging with local charities and members of the wider community to assist and support people who need it most. Here’s two examples of where we’ve delivered a knock-out punch!
Since the beginning of 2019 three UEL academics – Dr Richard Buscombe, programme leader for Sport & Exercise science, Zeta Kougiali, lecturer in Forensic Psychology and Paul Watts, senior lecturer in Public Health – have been working alongside ‘Boxing Futures’, an independent charity which supports vulnerable young people to become vibrant members of society. This is delivered through a 13-week programme of education and non-contact boxing to see the effects on physical, psychological and social outcomes in patients.
The programme is a mixture of boxing classes and workshops providing advice on nutrition, managing anxiety and how to develop and maintain productive relationships. It is currently in its third wave of delivery with 36 patients having already benefitted from the course. Preliminary data shows reductions in weight, improvements in psychological well-being and small gains in physical fitness. 
Angela Gualt, London Operations and Development Manager at Boxing Futures said: “The work with UEL has allowed us to benefit from expertise in exercise, forensics and public health all under one umbrella which helps to inform our delivery of the next round of the intervention.”
In addition to this, UEL has also been working alongside other external charities to deliver support programmes through boxing. Dr Kim Hastings, senior lecturer in Exercise Physiology; Youssef Telbe, MRes Sports and Exercise Science student; and PDKinetics have been working together to evaluate outcomes associated with a boxing therapy programme delivered to patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. PDKinetics is an advanced movement programme that incorporates both physical and cognitive activity for people with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions. 
Their research has suggested that this type of boxing therapy will help to maintain and encourage normal function e.g. reaching for something or being able to have a stable stance when standing upright, thereby reducing the risk of falls. 
Here at UEL the mental and physical health and well-being of all staff and students, as well as the wider community, is an essential pre-condition for learning gain and underpins our vision 2028 strategy.