Published date : 06 Apr 2017

Jenny Gilruth, MSP for Mid Fife and Glenrothes, was delighted to host an event in the Scottish Parliament last week to promote the Fighting Chance Project and the Yellow Belt Challenge. More than 80 guests attended the event, among them Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education & Science.

The Fighting Chance Project is a non-profit organisation working to empower young individuals through the martial art and Olympic sport of Judo. Anyone aged from 11-23 years, who is disengaged, suffers from a disability, has been the victim of a crime or bullying, faces social isolation, is at risk of being excluded from education, is from a poor or disadvantaged background, or has engaged in low level anti-social behavior, is eligible to participate in the program.

Welcoming the visitors to Parliament Jenny Gilruth MSP recognised how the Fighting Chance Project has personally affected pupils and young people in her own constituency, as the organisation currently runs programs at Glenwood and Auchmuty High Schools and at Southwood and Warout Primary School. By encouraging participants to embrace the central values of judo—which are sincerity, friendship, politeness, courage, honour, modesty, self-confidence, self-control, and respect—Fighting Chance aims to help these young people realise their own potential.

Drawing on her own experience as a secondary teacher, Ms Gilruth stated that she noticed a clear difference in her students’ academic performance after they participated in a PE class, finding them “more alert, more focused and undoubtedly more productive in class”.

“There’s a clear link between sport and academic success,” Ms. Gilruth continued. “They both require discipline – focus – and commitment”.

Programs such as Fighting Chance are playing a key role in helping to close the attainment gap. Indeed, Co-founder Jim Feenan, confirmed the effect Judo has had on the lives of many of Fighting Chance’s participants. Many of the young individuals came into the program facing large academic and social difficulties. however, the program has helped these students improve their own self-confidence and achieve academic success. Mr. Feenan, an expert in Judo who has achieved the 5th Dan ranking, founded the organisation in 2014 with his business colleague Charles Watt, and his son, Iain Feenan, who is a three-time British Judo Champion.

For further information – contact Jenny Gilruth MSP – 01592 764815

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