Shropshire Star

Shifnal boxing coach and academy boss in plea on mental health

A boxing coach who has shared the ring with Anthony Joshua has called for sport to be “embedded” into society to help tackle mental health challenges faced by young people.

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Joe Lockley and James Pugh, host of the Graveyard Shift

Joe Lockley, director of the Bright Star Boxing Academy in Shifnal, believes the needs of young people can be met earlier if they are encouraged to take up sport from an early age.

Former amateur boxer Joe has seen first-hand how the power of boxing can bring people together and his academy has grown from a sporting training club when it started in 2016, into an organisation that helps the unemployed, people suffering with mental health issues, and mentoring for youngsters. It also takes referrals from other organisations.

Joe recently told The Graveyard Shift podcast: “The people we work with have been in some really dark places. Hope is what a lot of young people need.

"Our mission is to help them thrive. I always want to make sure young people who are struggling are always on people’s agenda.

“Regardless of techniques, if we meet their needs earlier then that is how we can support them.

“Currently, the Government spends £16 billion on not meeting their needs soon enough and that’s when it gets to mental health crisis point."

He added: “I think sports should be embedded into the system so it is seen as a ‘must do’ before it gets to that stage. Let’s work with sports clubs and support them.

“If we can empower other people to empower other people that’s probably going to have the biggest difference.

“In Shropshire, I think we get it and are becoming a real part of the system now. We work with Shropshire Council to support that.”

Charlie's experiences can be heard in full on The Graveyard Shift podcast on Friday, March 24, by visiting

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