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Durham University

University and City: Growing together

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Boxing clever – how Durham University is helping adults in recovery through the ‘gentleman’s sport’

(26 October 2018)

Participants in a University-run boxing programme have told how the project has aided their recovery.

The Active Steps to Recovery initiative involves adults who are recovering from addiction, have served a prison sentence, have been homeless or who have experienced mental health issues, being supported on their recovery through organised physical exercise, including boxing.

The programme is part of Team Durham Community’s Adult Outreach programme and is supported by Durham Constabulary and Changing Lives, a charity which provides specialist support for vulnerable people and their families.

Watch a BBC Online report on the initiative

‘I managed to see that there was a way out’

Donald Wheatley was a heavy user of Class A drugs from the age of 17 to 25. He was jailed on several occasions.

He benefitted from Active Steps to Recovery and now, aged 31, he helps others.

“I managed to see that there was a way out through sport, through other treatment I did, I managed to get clean and get my life back together.

“I still have to nip myself. If someone had told me six years ago when I was in prison that I’d be standing here with my own son, with my own family, a career, a house, a car and being able to just be a normal person in society – I didn’t think it was possible.”

“I got involved with the wrong people and got into trouble. I can’t do anything (wrong) now because I’m here.”

‘I can’t do anything (wrong) because I’m here’

Adrian Collins joined the Active Steps to Recovery programme through the probation service.

“I got involved with the wrong people and got into trouble. I can’t do anything (wrong) because I’m here.

“It’s nice to socialise as well, and find a new group of friends.”