New Box Smart programme punching above its weight

New Box Smart programme punching above its weight

By Mary Dennehy

A TEAM of students have successfully graduated from a winning drug-rehabilitation programme that provides people with the opportunity to change their lives through education and high-performance sport.

Having just finished its third round, Box Smart is a four-month drug rehabilitation programme run by the Tallaght Rehabilitation Project (TRP) that strives to re-integrate participants back into mainstream society through a QQI award in Health Related Fitness – which includes a healthy food and nutrition module.

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With a 90 per cent completion rate, the programme has boxed well above its weight for the money required to run it – with participants not only receiving a recognised qualification but also building their confidence, self-esteem and a real progression route within their recovery from addiction.

Last week, Jobstown native and internationally renowned former UFC fighter Paddy Holohan visited students for a coaching session, his second visit since the programme started three years ago.

Other sports stars such as Philly McMahon, Kenny Egan and Michael Carruth have also visited the programme and trained with participants since its inception.

Speaking with The Echo, Paddy said: “It’s a great programme and I’m a true believer in combining physical activity and social interaction, working the two of these together has a huge impact.

“I offered a variety of different exercises and education to the group, and shared my experiences.

“What I love about this programme is that everybody on it really wants to be there, they don’t have to be there but they are.”
The programme is based across a number of venues, including the Sacred Heart Boxing Club in Killinarden for training, and IT Tallaght for classroom-based learning.

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According to Pat Daly, the Manager of TRP: “For very minimal funding, the rewards of the Box Smart programme are phenomenal . . . you couldn’t put a price on the rewards for the participants, their families and the wider community. 

“People on the programme are in a mid to advanced stage of recovery and the programme supports them on their path to recovery by giving them a very high standard of certificate, but also giving them the skills to turn their life around.

“The programme gives them confidence, self-worth and self-esteem, alongside providing them with the opportunity to mix with new people and make new friends.”

He added: “Box Smart has been so successful with 90 per cent of participants successfully completing the programme.
“This year the average score of participants was 75 per cent, with some getting grades in the high eighties.”

TRP wished to thank the South Dublin County Sports Partnership, IT Tallaght, Tommy Hanrahan of the Sacred Heart Boxing Club, and the Tallaght Drugs and Alcohol Task Force for its ongoing support.

The team behind Box Smart is hoping to secure additional funding next year so that the programme can be opened up to more participants. Any local business interested in becoming a sponsor or donating kits or equipment is encouraged to get in touch.

Mr Daly also stressed that TRP is hoping to secure funding for an independent evaluation of the programme.

For further details on TRP, which is based in Kiltalown House, Jobstown, visit or call 4597705.