What is grit?

introducing grit.

Growing Resilience in Teens (GRIT) supports young people to improve their mental health through group boxing programmes, workshops and one-to-one coaching. Young people come to us from a variety of routes, including health care professionals, education settings and self- referrals – the majority of referrals come to us directly from schools. At the core of our work is the ‘Four Corners’ method, which empowers young people to use adversity as a platform for growth.


GRIT is a unique programme that uses principles of group therapy combined with boxing to support young people in managing their emotions. Adolescence is a challenging time for a lot of young people and recent studies have shown that young people are less happy than ever before (ref 1) with 16% of 14 year olds reporting self-harm in the previous year. Through research over the last 20 years we now know more about the teenage brain than ever before and we know that it responds differently to an adult brain. This presents both opportunities and challenges. Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore (Psychology and Neuroscience) likens the teenage brain to that of a brain with the engine of a Ferrari (the engine being the emotions) and the brakes of a Fiat. When that engine is fired up it is easy to see why teenagers can sometimes have difficulty in containing their emotions. At the extreme end failure to regulate emotions as an adult can cause debilitating mental health problems. If we can offer support at an early stage then it is possible that a lot of these later issues can be avoided.

Understanding all of this is important and there is a wealth of information out there on this. However, understanding it is not always enough in being able to develop that sense of self and who you really are. You might have to feel it, sense it and hear it in order to understand it and that is what the aim of GRIT is. Understanding yourself and who you are makes it easier to manage emotions and make decisions that are right for you. Through boxing and metaphors related to boxing we are able to support young people in realising their power both in and outside the ring.

the programme.

The core GRIT programme runs over 12 weeks during the academic year with each new programme starting at the beginning of each term. The programme can take up to 12 young people aged 13-18 years. It is attended by two coaches and a boxing coach. The session is divided into two parts - the first half consists of non contact boxing and boxing based fitness and the second half consists of talking through life skills and how these relate to boxing. Content covered during these sessions includes connecting to self, understanding emotions, relationships with others and learning to lead. This has been developed in collaboration with Learning to Listen.

Each young person is also allocated a mentor - the role of the mentor is to act as a source of support and a neutral sounding board. They can be there to provide emotional support or practical support ( such as CV writing). Please see our section on mentoring for further information.

Following on from the programme we run a drop in continuation group for those who wish to continue having some ongoing support. This follows a similar concept to the core session including non contact boxing and an opportunity for young people to sit in a group and discuss and issues that have arisen for them that week and put into practice what they have learnt from the core programme. There is a small charge of £4 to attend these sessions.

who is it for.

At GRIT we are not concerned with diagnosis or labels. As GRIT is a skills based group programme it is most suitable for those experiencing early signs of emotional dysregulation which may manifest in physical self harm, school avoidance , risk taking behaviour (such as sex, drugs and alcohol) and anger management issues. We are directed at young people aged 13-18 years, although in our experience the programme works best with the 14-16 year aged group.

For younger people who may be experiencing more severe symptoms, including significant self harm or suicide attempts and those already under the care of Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), the GRIT programme alone is unlikely to be able to provide them with enough support especially in times of crisis. Whilst GRIT can complement any additional therapy we ask for young people already under CAMHS that they have access to 1:1 therapy and a crisis management plan in place.

For young people who are predominantly experiencing severe anxiety or who have a significant history of trauma it is also likely that some 1:1 therapy will be needed to fully support them and we are able to signpost to resources that may be able to provide this if this is not already in place.

Otherwise we simply ask that the young person and their carer are prepared to commit to the weekly sessions for 12 weeks and are wanting to change the way they are able to manage their emotions in order for them to be able to realise their full potential.

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At the end of the day it's about knowing you gave it all you had


splash leftsplash right

At the end of the day it's about knowing you gave it all you had


where are we based and what are the costs?

At present we are based in Hitchin. We have our own space at Elite gym close to the train station. Sessions are run after school.

The core GRIT programme is free and for those wishing to continue after the programme with the continuation group we ask for a £4 contribution per session attended.

How do I get a young person a place on the programme?

Please complete our Referral Form HERE and choose the type of support you are looking for. Alternatively you can email with any enquiries, we will then respond (usually within 3 working days).

Following on from that we may arrange a telephone or face to face consultation with the young person in order to be able to ensure we can meet their needs in a safe environment.

what if i don't like boxing?

The boxing is a key component of the programme. You do not have to have any experience of boxing and all boxing carried out is non contact. We have contacts for those who wish to take the boxing further with sparring and competing but it is not something that GRIT provides. If you are really not keen on non contact boxing then it may be that an alternative form of therapy is a better fit for you. Remember there is no one size fits all when it comes to personal development!

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what should i do in a crisis?

You can contact the Single Point of Access (SPA) number where you can get through to someone who can help you in a crisis. This number is 0800 6444101 and is available 24/7.

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Registered office: 18 Chiltern Road, Hitchin, SG4 9PJ

Registered Charity Number: 1176272