Poverty is not just about income, it extends to every aspect of an individual’s life. Poverty can lead to poor mental and physical health, anti-social behaviour and unemployment. we can help one person at a time – we are doing our little bit to help eradicate poverty, by helping one person at a time find their voice and value.

Living in a state of uncertainty and insecurity can leave people feeling disenfranchised – School of Hard Knocks exists to give people back their power by delivering impactful mentoring sessions and harnessing the values of high impact sport. We often work with people in areas of high deprivation who face significant barriers to leading healthy lives and gaining employment. We address the external issues participants face that perpetuate social exclusion and provide a holistic programme with substantial support on nutrition, financial capability, help with substance abuse and mental wellbeing.

A few years ago, we met Gary, who took part in one of our boxing programmes in Scotland. Whilst undertaking the course, Gary was going through a very difficult period of time. He was struggling to make ends meet and eventually became homeless. Without a roof over his head or enough money to buy food, anyone would understand if Gary fell apart – but he didn’t.

Gary’s tenacity, perseverance and willingness to learn never failed to amaze our course facilitators. Week after week he turned up to the course sessions and training, giving absolutely everything he had to them. He learnt about what it meant to have a growth mindset and which elements of life were within his control and which were not; these particular lessons proved to be instrumental to his personal and professional development. Gary attended every additional employability session we put on outside the usual programme and made huge strides towards changing his negative core beliefs. Eventually, Gary began to see situations with new eyes and gained a renewed sense of purpose. 

Gary met the army at the post-course jobs fair and with the support and encouragement of SOHK he applied. One year on and Gary had completed his training and took part in the Passing Out Parade, which is often one of the proudest moments in a soldier’s life.

The reason that we have shared Gary’s story this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is to show what happens when we place value in everyone. The many causes of poverty cannot be eliminated overnight, but if we all learn to lend a hand when someone needs it, we can help one person at a time to rediscover their power and potential and make that playing field that we call life just a little more even.