Follow the action!

For all (well, most) of the action as it happens, follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Boxing Clever in the Corridors of Power...

Launching the re-formed All Party Group on Boxing turned out to be a brilliant event. (Click HERE if the video above doesn't work on your screen.) It's no secret that I've enjoyed boxing training ( and watching the sport!) since I was a teenager and trained at Spanniorum Farm Gym, alongside ( but at a safe distance from!..) Champion Jane Couch.

We were really privileged to have boxing legend Barry Macguigan lend his support, as well as Duke McKenzie and commentator-legend, Jim Rosenthal. We were specially proud to have some of our Olympic Team present - and London 2012 will be the first Olympic games ever to hold women's boxing events. Local boxers from Filton college also came along and were superb ambassadors for the benefits of the sport.

I know first hand how it can change lives. I'm currently very lucky to be president of the Avonmouth National Smelting Amateur Boxing Club, but clubs up and down the country do extraordinary work ( often on a volunteer basis) in transforming young people's lives, and instilling discipline, self-respect, self-esteem and the ability to walk away from a fight. If you're squeamish about boxing, I have one message - go to your local amateur gym and see what goes on there.

There's a lot of work for the group to do, and I want the group to be able to support local clubs in Bristol ,and across the country.

I couldn't help including possibly the photo I'm most proud of, below. (I'm desperately trying not to look utterly star-struck! ) Thanks to everyone who made the event such a success, and looking foward to doing more work with the group!

Monday, 25 July 2011

Pub Politics at The Bear and Rugged Staff

I have to say, as an unrepentant supporter of our community pubs, it's always a pleasure, never a chore, to hold a 'Pub Politics'. They're always lively, lots of issues always get discussed and people often swap contact details and keep in touch if they don't already know each other. Last Friday's pub politics at The Bear and Rugged Staff in Southmead was particularly lively, since the landlord, Richard Porch had organised a surprise performance from the local street dance group D-Streets. (See other blog posts for how you can support them in their bid to go to the World Championships in Blackpool later this summer... ) That's something that's often underestimated about pubs - they are often not only a place where the community comes together, but also a place which does fundraising and supports local causes. In short, pubs are definitely 'Big Society'!
People stayed on after the performance and joined in the discussion. I find it really helpful to make sure I'm listening to what's really going on locally, and also getting a straight, honest opinion about what's going on, what what issues people are facing. That's the only way politicians can really keep an understanding on what's going on in the real world, outside the Westminster bubble. Oh, and half a can of Natch helps as well, thanks Richard!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Southmead's Ds Streets for world championships!

As I arrived at The Bear and Rugged Staff for my 'Pub Politics' session, the upper level of the pub had been mysteriously cleared of the pool table... It soon became clear. The landlord Richard had organised a big surprise performance by Southmead's very own Streetdance group, Ds Streets.

Their performance was really impressive - and they are raising money to go to the World Championships in Blackpool later in August.

We all chipped in, and at the pub alone they managed to raise over £400. They need more, and they are also fundraising to afford some basic equipment like mirrors and a proper sound system.

If you can donate, please email Dwain Trivett at - let's take Southmead's Ds Streets to the world championships - watch out Blackpool!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Avonmouth's funday success

It's the season for looking anxiously at the weather, crossing fingers for sun, booking bouncy castles and holding community fundays. It's the season where I inevitably get carried away and buy far too many cakes and jars of jam and pickle, however hard I tell myself I'm not going to.
On Saturday, it was Avonmouth's funday - and it was well named. There was all sorts going on - from zorbing to information stands from community groups like Friends of Suburban Bristol Rail ( FOSBR.)
I sat in on a session with some young people who had been looking at allocating funds for youth community activities, and caught up with friends. The photo with Cllr. Siobhan Kennedy-Hall says it all. A properly Fun day, thanks to everyone who put so much effort into organising it.