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what is mind fit?

Mind Fit is designed to help anyone suffering with a mental or physical health issue to make purposeful changes to their lives. We deliver a range of non-contact boxing classes and programmes under this pillar. All our programmes are inclusive and diverse, so that people of all fitness and ability levels can progress and experience positive outcomes.

Our Mind Fit Programme has been running consecutively for over 7 years, the programme has grown from a pilot project back in 2015, to now being one of our most impactful provisions. We work with established mental health organisations to refer people onto our Mind Fit Programme, which uses non-contact boxing training, circuits workouts and partner drills to build confidence and fitness amongst individuals in an inclusive environment.

parkinsons sessions 

Parkinson's Session.JPG

Thursdays 12pm-1pm


The sessions are structured to include exercises that support mobility, movement and balance amongst individuals who have Parkinson’s. Our fully qualified and trained coaches provide a welcoming and supportive environment for everyone, regardless of physical ability. Our coaches work closely with referral organisations and occupational therapists that have over 18 years of experience, to minimise risk and ensure that individuals receive the best possible support and guidance when developing and reaching their fitness goals. In addition to the physical outcomes we see, we also notice that those who participate in the sessions become more confident and have improved levels of self-esteem. 


At Pat Benson Community Sports Foundation, we are big supporters of using exercise as a form of disease management and encouraging independence and confidence amongst the community. Research has shown that the right kind of exercise may help to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s. Early intervention therapy can help maintain function and independence for longer.

Mondays & Thursdays 10am - 11am



These sessions are open to women & girls over the age of 16, who are looking to improve their mental health.

In addition to the hour of non-contact boxing & circuit fitness, we also offer bi-monthly social groups. These social groups are where women who participate in the fitness sessions come together over coffee to discuss issues, feelings, and to give signposting to one another. Our programme promotes friendships between women in the community to reduce social isolation and improve community cohesion.

women only sessions 


Mixed sessions 


Mondays & Thursdays 11am - 12pm



These sessions are open to anyone over the age of 16 who has a mental health issue or who would like to improve their mental wellbeing. 

We conducted an evaluation questionnaire, in which we found that:

85% of attendees stated that their social networks and friendships improved

100% of attendees reported improved mental health after 6 weeks of attending the programme

100% of attendees reported improved physical health after 6 weeks of attending the programme

disability sessions 

Thursdays 12pm - 1pm


Our disability programme provides unique sessions for disabled people or people with special educational needs within the Birmingham area. These sessions aim to improve an individual’s health, self-esteem, confidence, co-ordination, balance, and agility. Our qualified coaches do this using fun and engaging exercises with an underlying boxing theme. We work with people with a range of disabilities including visual impairment, hearing impairments, wheelchair users and those with physical disabilities affecting movement.  

Scott's problematic drug use began when, at just 13 years old, he started to

inhale gas. This quickly escalated and by the time he was 15 he was using cannabis, LSD

and ecstasy. After leaving school without qualifications, Scott had a few jobs, working in

factories and as a labourer, but by the time he was in his 20s he was using crack and

heroin on a regular basis. He became anxious, insecure and paranoid, thinking that

people were looking at him and wanted to rob him. His drug abuse had a massively

destructive impact, not only on his family and relationships, but on his physical and

mental health. Eventually, it led to a diagnosis of psychosis.


Scott was conscious that this was not the way he wanted to live his life, but with so many

years of drug use behind him, making changes wasn’t easy. He made many efforts to get

himself off drugs, but he was continually targeted by drug dealers and found it difficult to

get away from his old lifestyle. To make a fresh start, Scott realised he would need to

leave Birmingham, so he researched other options and, after a six month wait, was

accepted into a rehabilitation unit in Wirral. And it worked… for a while. After being drug-

free for eight weeks, Scott started drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, he was involved in an

altercation and was asked to leave the programme. He returned to the Midlands – and his

old ways.


 In August 2017, at the age of 30, Scott attended his first Mind Fit with Changes UK, a

recovery programme for people with drug and alcohol addictions. He had never done

boxing before, but soon found that he loved it, and that the programme was helping him

to make some massive lifestyle changes. Now, he’s fully incorporated exercise into his

daily regime, which gives him focus and discipline. Not only that, but Scott feels that

Mind Fit has helped him to integrate back into society. He feels supported by his mentors

and peers, and meeting people from a range of different backgrounds has given him the

confidence to trust other people and overcome his anxiety and paranoia.

From there, Scott has seen one success after another. After some short college courses,

he successfully completed an Access to Higher Education course and in 2019 he gained

one of only twenty places at Bath University to study for a degree in Psychology

specialising in Addiction Counselling. Inspired by the people that helped him, and boosted

by the self-belief and self-worth that he’s gained since starting at Mind Fit, he now wants

to help others. He says “I am thankful for where I am and look forward to waking up

every day”.


Case study: Scott 

Attendee of the Mixed Mindfit sessions


Darren Sweeney
mindfit co-ordinator


I have been co-ordinating the Mind Fit programme for several years, working with people with a range of disabilities, mental health issues and learning difficulties. We strive to give everyone the support they need to remain fit and healthy, and to thrive in a safe and welcoming space. If you are looking to improve yourself or stay active, Pat Benson is the place for you. 

If you would like to enquire about our Mind Fit Programme or any of the sessions, please contact or call 0121 773 2784.

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