The Empire Fighting Chance podcast

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  • 6. Episode 6: Medellín's first Resilience officer who worked with Nelson Mandela; Santiago Uribe Rocha

    In this episode of the empire fighting chance podcast its back to urban violence. Neil talks to Oscar Santiago Uribe Rocha aka Santiago, who was the first Chief Resilience officer of Medellin in Columbia; formerly the most dangerous city in the world, it radically turned that reputation around over the last 15 years.Santiago was heavily involved in that process of reformation. He was the world's second appointed Chief Resilience officer; a role that works with cities to build resilience and opportunity, and to address violence by building a more sustainable response to it, being proactive rather than reactive.From 2007 to 2010, he served as an administrative assistant on cultural and economic affairs at the Colombian Embassy in South Africa, working alongside Nelson Mandela. Neil and Santiago discuss his expertise in the field of violence reduction and what lessons can be brought home to Bristol and beyond.To support Empire Fighting Chance and to find out more about the work we do, head to

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  • Episode 5: From young coach to pro boxer - Matt Lawrence

    In previous episodes of the Empire Fighting Chance podcast we've spoken about young people and the challenges that they face in today's society. In this episode Neil Maggs talks to a young man that stepped into the gym several years ago lacking confidence, suffering from social anxiety and being bullied at school. Boxing, in his own words, saved his life. So what was it that helped transform him? What was it about boxing that was instrumental in his development? His name's Matt Lawrence. He is now a coach at Empire, working with young people that were just like him. He's just signed a professional contract with Chris Sanigar to fight in Bristol and expects to make his debut in the autumn. Neil talks to him about his journey and how far he wants to go in the sport.To support Empire Fighting Chance and to find out more about the work we do, head to
  • 4. Episode 4: Sports psychologist Sam Kotadia

    In this episode of the Empire Fighting Chance podcast, Neil talks to somebody that's been pivotal in the journey of the charity.It's sports psychologist Sam Kotadia. He cut his teeth in professional football, working at several clubs, including currently with Wrexham FC. He's also starring in Welcome to Wrexham, the behind the scenes documentary about the club which is streaming on Disney plus.Sam crossed the Rubicon into boxing when he was working at Bristol boxing gym stable several years ago. After a conversation with Martin Bisp and Jamie Sanigar from the charity, they asked him to write some programs for coaches to use with young people with some underlying principles which guide the work of the charity as a whole.In this discussion, Neil and Sam dive into sports psychology and how he is trying to push the field forward at Empire Fighting Chance.
  • 3. Episode 3 - Empire trustee Charlotte Leslie

    In this episode of the Empire Fighting Chance podcast, Neil talks to trustee and a founding member of Empire Fighting Chance, Charlotte Leslie. She's the former member of parliament for Bristol North West between 2010 and 2017 and is currently director of the Conservative Middle East Council. Her work in Parliament saw her set up the all party parliamentary group for boxing in 2011 with the aim of promoting the sport and keeping it high on the agenda in Westminster. In this discussion, Neil and Charlotte talk about her background in boxing and the impact it had, her involvement in founding the charity, her life in and after politics and the future for Empire Fighting Chance.
  • 2. Episode 2: Urban violence officer Alfredo Malaret Baldo

    With the recent knife crime epidemic in Bristol, in this podcast we wanted to reach out to global experts, people that have solutions that have been successful in other cities around the world.So on the Empire Fighting Chance podcast, we talk to Alfredo Baldo. He is an Urban Violence Program Manager for Peace in Our Cities; A global network that look for solutions, in particular, in this case, urban violence. He's also the Urban Violence Program Manager at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the University of San Diego. We talked to him in New York, and it's a deep dive. What ideas, what strategies can we bring back to Bristol that might potentially be successful here?To support Empire Fighting Chance and to find out more about the work we do, head to
  • 1. Episode 1: CEO Martin Bisp

    The first guest of the series is the CEO of Empire Fighting Chance, Martin Bisp. Neil Maggs and Martin discuss the origins of the charity, the work they do and they impact they have.In light of the ongoing issue of knife crime among young people in Bristol, they talk about how to make Bristol safer and how to learn from other cities in order to reduce youth violence in a sustainable way.To support Empire Fighting Chance and to find out more about the work we do, head to