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School of Hard Knocks

by School of Hard Knocks in London, Greater London, England

We did it
On 11th December 2018 we successfully raised £50 with 2 supporters in 49 days

Our mission is to empower people to realise their potential. Our vision is a society where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.

by School of Hard Knocks in London, Greater London, England

We run courses throughout the UK, changing the lives of children and adults using rugby, boxing and strongman courses, supported by a curriculum of powerful life lessons. We work with unemployed adults to find and sustain employment, and with school children at risk of exclusion to help them re-engage with education.

Working in the most deprived areas of the UK, our 8-week courses give individuals the skills to increase their physical and mental wellbeing, grow in confidence, take responsibility for their own lives and ultimately begin the journey back into employment, education or training. All work on and off the pitch is underpinned by our defined psychology, which has been developed in conjunction with expert academics and psychologists.


SOHK’s programmes target individuals who are in receipt of benefits and struggling to re-enter employment for a number of reasons, including addiction, criminal history, lack of skills or even poor confidence at interview. Since 2012, we have changed the lives of over 1000 adults via our employability programmes, in London, Cardiff, Glasgow, and Edinburgh. By focusing on these deprived areas, SOHK is able to help to lift individuals from inter-generational cycles of poverty and unemployment and empower them to rejoin society in a positive and fulfilling way. Our programme works to improve physical and mental well-being, which we believe are integral components to being fit for work. In the last year, 78% of participants have shown improved well-being on an academically-verified wellbeing scale.

Sport is an excellent way to learn vital life skills, such as effective communication, decision-making, inspiring others, leading by example and active listening. These are addressed in the SOHK programme through the use of various sports – namely rugby, boxing or weightlifting. SOHK delivers these sports sessions in order to foster and require a team dynamic – this means participants must effectively communicate to be successful. At the course’s end, we support participants with several opportunities to develop their leadership skill and deepen their work experience, including:

- Sport and leadership-based qualifications

- Volunteering opportunities

- Paid, full-time employment opportunities

One-to-one mentoring improves participants’ mental and emotional well-being, giving them the guidance and confidence to believe they deserve a fulfilling and worthwhile career. We believe people cannot sustain paid employment until they are emotionally and intellectually ready, and so our courses cover ‘The Person’ (values, aspirations, what sort of person should they be); ‘The Mind’ (managing fear/anger, identifying stepping stones to success, maintaining motivation); and ‘The Career’ (interview skills, CVs and cover letters, job applications).

SOHK is requesting funding to run one adult programme for up to 25 participants in London. Despite being the UK’s centre of commerce, London has the highest poverty rate in the UK, with 27% of citizens living in poverty, 7% higher than anywhere else in Britain (BBC, 2013). The SOHK programme targets the highly deprived areas of Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Lambeth and Southwark in London to provide tailored programmes that merge employability, life skills, and team-building with sporting activity, including boxing, rugby, and weightlifting, which are delivered 2 days a week over a period of 8 weeks. On average, 40% of these adults will find full-time work as a result of the course.

Please visit our website for more player's stories, or our youtube channel and check out why sport matters.

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