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Connecting Communities - Inspiring A New Generation

Inside This Month Justice in Kogi State - Page 3

Check out coverage from the SOTIC 2016 - Page 21

Exclusive Interview with Big Narstie - Page 13

Experience the launch of the Signature Awards - Page 35

and much more...

BLACK BCU Celebrates HISTORY 10 Years in China MONTH y c a g e eL


elebrations took place in Shanghai, marking 10 years since Birmingham City University established a representative office in China. The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Carl Rice led the festivities, addressing

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senior academics and graduates from the University, along with members of the British Council in China, local stakeholders and recruitment partners. Birmingham City University’s Shanghai office was established in 2006 to promote the University’s courses across

mainland China, as well as guiding prospective students through the application process. It also has a role in helping to establish university partnerships.

Continued on Page 10

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The Phoenix – October 2016

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National T Association Of Nigerian Students Visit IGP

he public trust reposed in the Nigeria Police Force leadership of the Inspector General of Police Ag. IGP Ibrahim K. Idris NPM mni, continued to receive a boost as the newly elected executive members of National Association of Nigerian Students, led by its president, elect, Comrade Haruna Kadir, paid a courtesy visit to the Inspector General of Police last month at the Force Headquarters, Abuja. The IGP, Ag. IGP Ibrahim K. Idris NPM mni, expressed his appreciation to the students union president and his executive for finding time to visit him. He applauded their good conduct and democratic values displayed during their last

national convention held in Abuja and urged the association to always embrace dialogue and use communication as imperative ingredient to resolve conflict. He also enjoins them to shun crime and vices within and outside the student communities and they should maintain a good communication link with Commissioners of Police of various commands across the country. The IGP assured the NANS leadership of the determination of the Nigeria Police Force to continue to cooperate with them most especially in the prevention and reduction of violent crimes and other vices within the student communities. While speaking, Comrade Haruna Kadir and his EXCO call for increased Students and

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with Anthony Kelly #Black Lives Matter


aving been following this debate across the globe regarding the unnecessary and unlawful killings of black men in the USA by trigger happy law enforcement officers it is of paramount importance that I contribute to this debate or some would argue lack of it in some quarters. What is being reported on an almost daily basis is in my view a ‘shoot to kill’ policy. There is no other explanation and I hope someone within the police ranks will have the courage of their conviction to confirm what for some is a widely held belief as there is no rhyme, logic or reason to be killing black people in such a brutal way. I notice with dismay some of the comments on social media websites that

decry the term #Black Lives Matter and focus on that instead of the continuous killing of black men. I tend to ignore such trolls as there is no point having a discussion bearing in mind their ignorance and racist views which are so apparent. To compound matters the Courts and juries often conclude that these killings are justified making a complete mockery of the justice system In all honesty whilst recently in New York and Florida every time I left my relatives or friend’s homes to venture outside, as a black man I was fearful. I gave some of my black relatives and friends advice and tips if they get

stopped by the police. I hid my worries and concerns from them but the fear factor gripped me throughout my stay as I cannot understand why anyone would shoot someone in any of these circumstances mentioned below?: A) shoot someone in a car with the mother and child having pulled the driver over for a traffic violation. B) shoot someone in the chest at point blank range whilst he was lying on the ground surrounded by several police officers. C) shoot someone in the back whilst the person fearing for their life was fleeing.

Police partnership. He used the occasion to appreciate the NPF for the elaborate security coverage provided for them during the association’s recent national convention held in Abuja. The NANS president lauded the IGP’s stance on zero tolerance to corruption, his commitment at ensuring assets declaration by officers and men of the Force. He further intimated the Inspector General of Police that, since his assumption of office NANS have been monitoring closely his security trips to various parts of the country, such as Niger-Delta region, north–east, and of recent Lagos State, yielding positive results with crime reduced throughout the country as he pledged more supports and close partnership.

D) shoot someone who had both his hands raised above his head which is the normal thing to do in terms of surrendering and being non resistance. These are just four of the several acts of cowardice that have recently been reported. It has now become like a war zone in which if you get back to your home safely you breathe a sigh of relief and say a prayer. Then again there have been countless other black people whose innocent lives have been brought to an abrupt end in the comfort of their own home at the hands of some of these police officers who are on most occasions not being held accountable for their knee jerk reactions. Does firearm training not cover shooting at the lower part of the body if needs be? There is so much truth in the proverbial saying ‘ My camera never lies’. Yes # Black Lives Matter and it is time that the powers that be make a concerted effort to address this serious issue which is spiralling out of control. Enough is enough.

The Phoenix – October 2016

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Justice in Kogi State Nigeria


he Supreme Court upheld Yahaya Bello’s Election as Kogi State Governor. The seven-man panel headed by Justice Sylvester Ngwata affirmed the election after listening to the closing statements of all the counsel. The court also said it would provide reasons for its decision on September 30. The management and International correspondent rejoice with the Governor and Kogities for this victory. Congratulations.

l Supporting the Count Them In campaign are Councillor John Reynolds, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for City Economy, with Corporal Andy Bolus and Private Mitchell Pinson from 4th Battalion The Mercian Regiment.

Council pledges to Count Armed Forces community In in next Census The Royal British Legion’s new campaign ‘Count Them In’ calls for questions of the Armed Forces community to be included in the next UK census, and has now received a declaration of support from the City of Wolverhampton Council. The community of members of the Armed Forces is currently estimated at between 6.5 and 6.7 million across the UK, approximately 10% of the population. The inclusion of new questions on the next census form, due in 2021 would provide local authorities, public bodies and charities with the valuable information to ensure that they are able to deliver the best services they can for the

Armed Forces community. “It cannot be right that our servicemen and women, veterans and their families are effectively hidden from official statistics, and that’s why we are pleased to back the call for new questions to be added to the next UK census.” explained Councillor John Reynolds, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for City Economy. “This will mean that the council and its partners will be able to plan properly and to make sure our armed forces, and especially veterans, are looked after. We count on them – so let’s Count Them In.”

Chris Simpkins, Director-General of The Royal British Legion, said: “As a nation we promise to provide lifelong care and support for those who serve our country. “By adding questions to the 2021 UK census, we can help public bodies and charities deliver the best services they can for our Armed Forces community, when and where it is needed most. “We thank the City of Wolverhampton Council for adding its support to our campaign: together I’m confident that we can make the next census count for our Armed Forces community.” Residents can find out more about the campaign by visiting the campaign website,, or by posting their own pledge of support on social media using the #CountThemIn hashtag. The City of Wolverhampton has signed up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant, a pledge of mutual support between the city and its Armed Forces community. Special webpages at armedforces highlight the help that is available locally to members of the Armed Forces community and veterans.

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Page 4


Word Up, Asma

Food memories give past taste of Wolverhampton


l Asma Elbadawi

sma Elbadawi is a one of those very special beings who has been wowing audiences up and down the country with her very unique blend of ‘word-art’ that has seen her override the one stumbling block that would hold-up a lesser person. The Sudanese-born, Bradford-based poet, with a Masters degree in visual art, was chosen as one of the final six poets for Words First, a collaboration between BBC Radio 1Xtra and The Roundhouse. Her brand of poetry has helped her make up her own rules for using words and she writes about the everyday, from conversations with a friend to nostalgia for her home country. Her main interest is women empowerment and education and she uses the skills she has - in both the arts and sports - as a tool for international development. As world renowned poet, Maya Angelo, put it; "Some birds are not meant to be caged. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure." With a Bachelor of Arts (BA), in Photography, Video and Digital Imaging, at the University of Sunderland and a Masters (MA) in Visual Art at Leeds Beckett University, Asma has facilitated career development sessions with high school students from 12-19 years old and also does basketball coaching too. A Visual Artist, Spoken Word Poet, Basketball player and Coach, you’ll be hearing an awful lot more about Asma Elbadawi pretty soon.

The Phoenix – October 2016

A A Close Shave for Charity


l Tess (seated) with hair stylist SImone Madourie from Toni&Guy and the team from RBS New Street, Birmingham ahead of the hair shaving.

s the nights start to get colder moving into Autumn, a Customer Services Manager from the Royal Bank Of Scotland may need to invest in a new hat after she shaved her hair off to raise money for Marie Curie. Tess Power, from the RBS New Street branch in Birmingham City Centre, took on the challenge as branches of RBS across the region looked to raise money through cake sales, sponsored walks and more. Tess, who herself has battled breast cancer in the past, was nervous and emotional before the big

chop; “I’ve had breast cancer in the past, thankfully it wasn’t terminal, but even though I’ve lost my hair before, I’m now doing it for a good cause and for people who are terminally ill. My hair will grow back, but what I’m doing is for others.” Simone Madourie, hair stylist at Toni&Guy Cannon Street, Birmingham was on hand to do the

dirty work and shave off Tess’ hair, coming down to the New Street RBS branch especially for the event. After all of her lovely locks were chopped off, Tess said, “I’m a bit emotional, excited but yeah what’s done is done now. I only decided to do it last week, but we’ve raised quite a bit of money for it, so I just think if we can do it again next year we’ll have to try and beat it!” At the time of the event, Tess and the team at RBS New Street had managed to raise over £400 for Marie Curie, with further donations still being received. Congratulations to everyone involved!

l Tess before...

l And after!

l There’s no going back now!

Beginning With Your Last Breath


night filled with inspiring thoughts and reminiscences was in order when the gentleman of poetry, Roy McFarlane, invited an audience to the Wolverhampton Arena Theatre for the launch of his latest collection; ‘Beginning With Your Last Breath.’ Currently the Poet in Residence at Shakespeare’s Birthplace, in

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Stratford-upon-Avon, Roy brought on stage with him some of his array of talented fellow-wordsmiths and musicians hosted by Chester Morrison. The evening of poetry and jazz saw Roy performing a set from his collection, accompanied by a soundtrack. This was not just poetry, this truly was theatre. Powerful poems exploring love, loss and identity, taking in the

Black Country, Norman Tebbitt and Marvin Gaye along the way struck a chord as all present ‘lived his life’ growing up in an archetypal Caribbean family, in archetypal Britain of his time. But it was ‘A Love Supreme,’ which tells of the lengths, as a young music lover, to which he went to get the classic John Coltrane LP of the same name, which resonated with the diverse, tentative crowd, as it was homage to, not only Coltrane himself, but other legends he grew up on, like Mile Davis, Art Blakey, Lester Carter, Dexter Gordon, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman. “The greatest gift that you could have is a love supreme,” Roy said.

There was a very special guest appearance by Birmingham Young Poet Laureate, Serena Arthur, who performed some of her own classics such as; ‘Skin And Bones’ and ‘Where The Heart Is’ to a fulfilled audience. Her presence was one of great honour and appreciation as it fell just before she was off to Oxford

unique project capturing people’s memories of food using images and artefacts from Wolverhampton Art Gallery is being published. For the past two years older people have been meeting once a month as part of a reminiscence group to talk about food. The end result is a thought-provoking online book, which captures the city’s past as well as lots of happy shared memories about cooking, eating and drinking. The gallery was one of 29 European galleries who received funding from the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme to run a Europeana Food and Drink project which aimed to promote the theme of food and drink using gallery collections. Wolverhampton Art Gallery set up a Meet Me @ WAG group for people aged 50-plus to get together and chat about their memories of food and now they have all been captured and saved in an online book. Jean Bate, 81, from Springfield, was one of the group founders. She said: “There is a photo of some children drinking from milk bottles and I remember those days clearly – even if you didn’t like the taste you had to drink it and not waste anything.”

University to study English Language and Literature. This was Roy McFarlane’s night and he came out tongues blazing and passions burning. It really proved to be a love supreme – at its deepest. Published by Nine Arches Press, ‘Beginning With Your Last Breath’ is out now.

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The Phoenix – October 2016

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Helping others to create opportunity T

by Daniel Riley

aking place at the stunning Laurent Perrier Champagne Bar on the 25th floor of The Cube in Birmingham, Beacon Organisational Development’s ‘Conference on Creating Opportunity - Business and Personal’ drew interested parties together to hear from high profile speakers. Including Baroness Stedman-Scott, OBE, DL FRSA, Dr Dawn Elson Group Engineering Director, Merlin Entertainments plc, Dr Kathryn Hinchliff RGN, RM, MSc, D.Ed. (HON), Harriet Khataba, Executive Director, Her Story Matters and Dr Neslyn Watson-Druée, CBE FRCN FCGI, the day long conference drew on the combined experience of all of these incredible women. Baroness Stedman-Scott is a Conservative member of the

House of Lords and former Chief Executive Officer of Tomorrow’s People Trust, and spoke about the trials and tribulations that she went through in setting up and running the trust, and the opportunities that she made for herself during that time. “I’m no saint. I trained to be a Salvation Army officer. I went to school sometimes, but not often, I failed all of my O Levels, but because someone believed in me, I actually managed to become something.” Dr Dawn Elson is one of the most influential women in UK engineering. She is responsible for Group Engineering strategy, policy and standards, maintenance system and compliance at Merlin. Dawn spoke of her time in the RAF and at Gatwick Airport, and the issues she had to overcome to continue her rise from where she was to where she is today.

“None of my success has been through my social network, it really has been all hard work throughout it all.” she explained. “Never be boxed in by the lack of your current knowledge, empower yourself to do what is needed.” Dr Kathryn Hinchliff RGN, RM, MSc, D.Ed. (HON), applied to Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) to be a health volunteer and in 2010 became Organisational Development Advisor to the Cambodian Midwives Council until the end of 2013. During this time she was subject to Cambodia’s different approach to human rights and in particular the right to free speech, health, education and the consequences for ordinary people especially women when these rights are violated. She spoke passionately about her time there, and encouraged others to step outside their comfort zone

and to give VSO and schemes like it a try. Harriet Khataba is the founder of Her Story Matters - an organisation advocating for change and giving women a voice. Hearing her story moved some to tears, but learning about the opportunities that she took advantage of to progress was heartwarming. Dr Neslyn Watson-Druée, CBE FRCN FCGI went into more detail about the idea behind opportunities, and also explained the current meaning behind Beacon “Be your very best Exercise Emotional Intelligence Achieving your Potential Communication Opportunity Now is the time.” Attendees of the conference came out stating that they felt inspired to go out and create their own opportunities to further their lives and careers.

The Phoenix – October 2016

l Baroness Stedman-Scott, OBE, DL FRSA

l Dr Kathryn Hinchliff RGN, RM, MSc, D.Ed. (HON)

l Dr Dawn Elson Group Engineering Director, Merlin Entertainments plc

l Harriet Khataba, Executive Director, Her Story Matters

l Dr Neslyn Watson-Druée, CBE FRCN FCGI

The Phoenix – October 2016

Birmingham crowned this year’s ‘Most Enterprising Place in Britain’


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irmingham has been named the ‘Most Enterprising Place in Britain’ by the 2016 Enterprising Britain Awards. The winning project saw Birmingham City Council team up with six Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) to improve confidence, encourage investment, and attract and retain business talent. It supported 1,000 businesses, generating £87 million in private sector investment and creating or safeguarding 4,300 jobs, as part of the ambitious plans to build a Midlands Engine for Growth. Companies to benefit from the project include Westfield Sports Cars which accelerated production of a new prototype vehicle and Induction Technology Group which invested in new manufacturing equipment, leading to an increase in global sales. "Birmingham is fantastic place to do business and this award shows that when we work together and invest in people, the city really can thrive,” explained Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy. "In partnership with the LEPs, the Business Support Package has been a huge success and it's so rewarding to see businesses playing their part in boosting the city economy and that of the wider region. "We're supporting Birmingham's natural creativity and entrepreneurial drive to create jobs,

improve skills and give people across the city the opportunities they need and deserve." Run by Investment in Young People (IiYP), on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Enterprising Britain awards celebrate local initiatives which boost business and growth. “We are delighted that the success of the Business Growth programme has been recognised nationally, our work with Birmingham City Council, the six West Midlands LEPs has helped to foster an even stronger environment for start-ups,” said Saqib Bhatti, Board Director, Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP. “There is a great entrepreneurial spirit that exists within Greater Birmingham and Solihull and this programme has helped to provide the necessary conditions to improve entrepreneurial confidence, encourage investment and stimulate economic growth.” Liverpool John Moores University, the Borough of Broxbourne Council and Kent International Business also won awards for building enterprise skills, promoting entrepreneurial spirit and supporting exports, respectively. Small Business Minister, Margot James said: “We have 900,000 more small businesses than in 2010 and they have an important role to play in building an economy that works for all.”


• • • • •

Seasonings Plantains, green banana and yellow yam Household goods Root drinks Health Soaps & butters

Quality is our trade mark Nubian Driving School lessons start from £11 Standard Lesson £22

Bringing only the best produce for all communities in Birmingham


et up in Birmingham less than 2 years ago, Sunripe Produce has been supplying the best in African-Caribbean groceries and produce to the local community. Started up by 35 year old Dwayne Whyte, hailing from Clarendon in Jamaica, who settled in Erdington in 1996, the store aims to serve the local community, giving help and advice to customers who are branching out into African or Caribbean cuisine, and trying to serve the loyal client

base they already have to the best of their ability. “With our background, we know what to buy, so you can be sure you’re only buying quality from us. If we don’t have something in the shop that you want, we’ll try our hardest to get it in for you.” Ably assisted by his partner, Sade McLennon, Sunripe Produce has quickly become a staple of the community, and has a great relationship with other local businesses, as Dwayne explains; “We also like to coexist with the other local businesses, we’ll send people to the butchers next door, or to the Caribbean restaurant, as we don’t sell meat, and they’ll send them to us for the fresh produce too. It’s really important to support local businesses, run by local people, in your area.” Stocking a wide vari-

ety of fresh African-Caribbean produce, from yellow and white Yam, to plantain, green banana and sweet potatoes, Sunripe Produce also sells seasonings, household goods and breads and buns, but their sights aren’t set low. “At time progresses we’ll be doing more and more things. We’ve recently signed up with MoneyGram, and you can already pay your bills here too.” Dwayne, who is also a qualified driving instructor, has been teaching independently for 11 years, and is still offering his services now, as well as as a taxi service doing airport runs in his Hackney Carriage – locals even get a discount on driving lessons! “Give us a try! We consider ourselves as locals servicing the locals, so come down and see what we have!” The future looks bright for the local couple and their 3 young children, so get down to Sunripe Produce and check them out!

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9-Year old CEO raises $28,000 to manufacture GaBBY Bows

Snapshot ‘Report Card’ on the British Economy


s we move closer to the end of 2016, the idea of business and the trends that are associated with this economic activity, looms large. It is oft-repeated that a routine assessment or evaluation of a country’s economy is vital since it allows all concerned to reflect upon the challenges affecting key areas as well looking at future prospects (either in the short or long-term). Despite structural issues within the UK, the primary purpose of business is to; • Create jobs; • Bring new information, skills and technology; • Generate money for investment; • Produce goods and services; • Contribute to economic prosperity; • Reduce welfare dependency; and • Celebrate creativity and innovation. (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK Government 2015) Unemployment persists across gender, age and other socio-economic divide. Data on ‘economic inactivity’ show that 5.3 million females and 3.1 million males are jobless. About 6.6 million don’t’ ‘want to work’, 3.3 million have ‘no qualifications’ and only 33.6 million residents have a national vocational qualification (NVQ Level 1 and above) (Regional and National profile for Great Britain, March 2016). The number of 16 to 25 year olds who represent the ‘claimant count’ (August 2016 estimates) varies 93,230 to 726,790 or 3% of the Great Britain average. The UK unemployment situation is further compounded by business uncertainty. A recent survey pointed to the lack of confidence amongst small businesses post-EU Referendum. A total of 424,000 owners plan on ‘selling within the next five years’, 370,000 firms plan on ceasing ‘trading in the next five years’ and 1.8 million jobs could ‘be lost’ by 2021. (UK Small Business closure 2016). Yet, there are encouraging signs in the country that are largely unknown to the general British public. More than 300,000 minority ethnic firms comprise an estimated £6.4% of all self-employment activities with a contribution exceeding £35 billion to the UK economy (The Institute of Economic Affairs, Britain and independent research, 2011-2016). While sections of academia have conducted periodic research on this community, mainstream media institutions for the most part, have been reticent. The input of minority entrepreneurs is just as important and relevant to the UK economy (as their mainstream counterparts). So this aspect of enterprise diversity should be given ‘pride of place’ in all sections of the media -print, audio-visual or electronic. Additionally, other indicators do offer some degree of ‘economic’ comfort as to the state of play on the number of businesses in different parts of the UK. Table 1 highlights the number of firms according the nine English


w a r d - w i n n i n g journalist, editor and publisher Dr Christopher Johnson writes his monthly column in The Phoenix aiming to inform, educate and entertain.

Regions coupled with Scotland, Wales and Northern Island. Generally, UK businesses are quite versatile with 11 prominent sectors having a market value of £24 million to £76.9 billion with employment ranging from 1 to 3.3 million and their contribution to the GDP up to 9% of the total UK economy (Oxford Economics UK 2015 & Laing Buisson March 2016). BMG Research (2015) reported that the 82% of firms in the South East were optimistic about the future, followed by London 76% and other Home Counties notching up just over 60%. Business owners in the North East of England and Northern Island however, had a lower ‘optimism’ rating of 56% and 50% respectively. For those on the verge of starting a business, these areas require careful scrutiny (although not exclusive): • Reason or reasons for business start-up. • Type of customers being catered for. • Research to determine business competition. • Types of goods and services on offer. • Skills and experiences to manage the business. • Committed, dedicated and trusted business partners. • Short or medium-term business plan. • Appropriate premises and suitable business location. • Registration with Companies House or the Charity Commission. • The type of organisational structure in place. • Quality control systems and procedures to monitor performance. • The level of capital-finance required to start the business. • Type of technical help and enterprise support needed. Table 1 Businesses by UK Regions London 505,140 West Midlands 228,550 South East 377,445 South West 261,735 Yorkshire & Humber 208,790 Wales 120,825 North West 285,460 Scotland 214,835 North East 84,530 East Midlands 194,275 Northern Island 82,070 Eastern England 282,155

(Source: Inter-Departmental Business Register, UK 2015)

The Phoenix – October 2016


l Elementary entrepreneur Gabrielle Goodwin

lementary entrepreneur Gabrielle Goodwin recently raised $28,000 on Kickstarter with the help of her mom Rozalynn. She will use the capital to manufacture new designs and colors for her hair accessory solution GaBBY Bows. The mother-daughter duo solved the age-old problem of disappearing girls’ hair barrettes by inventing The Double-Face Double-Snap

Barrette by GaBBY The fourth grader received an outpour of support from more than 300 backers and businesses. Jan-Pro of Columbia and Once Upon a Child stores in Charlotte and Matthews, NC owned by Reginald Barner and Charles Johnson of the Carolina Panthers, Koils by Nature, and Capital City Takeout of Columbia invested generously to make Gabrielle’s Kickstarter goal a reality. Gabrielle was just five years old

OPOL targeting banqueting suite to call their own


group of enterprising business people in Birmingham have got together to undertake one of the biggest projects heard for some time and open their own banqueting suite, ideally suited for their community and beyond. Ken Ivey, Jacynth Brown, Winnie Adams-Bell, Rev Canon Eve Pitts, Dr Gregory John Roberts and Mark James have formed the OPOL (Our People Our Legacy) to realise their collective vision for the African Caribbean

community in Birmingham and the wider conurbation to own their own multi-purpose licensed building. They are working on the possibility of taking on the popular Parkland Banqueting Suite, in Hockley, in the city which they feel will gives their community the ideal chance to invest and own shares, which would, in time, pay dividends. At a public meeting held for prospective investors, with special guest, EastEnders’ Nicholas Bailey, showing great interest,

when she started daily insisting she and her Mom create a barrette that would stay in her hair. They started the company when Gabrielle was seven years old. In just two years of operations, GaBBY Bows have saved families time, money and frustration in 48 states and eight countries through online sales at The hair accessory is also sold select retail stores in the Southeast. She is the self-proclaimed President and CEO, handling inventory, serving as the lead saleswoman at trade shows, speaking to community groups and schools, writing thank you cards to customers who order online, and helping with sales taxes. She also hosts GaBBY Play Dates to teach girls in children’s shelters about

entrepreneurship. The 9-year-old was chosen as a 2015 SC Young Entrepreneur of the Year (the youngest to ever receive this honor), and GaBBY Bows was one of 14 national finalists for the 2015 U.S. Small Business Administration InnovateHER Business Competition and a 2016 SCORE and Sam’s Club American Small Business Champion. This summer, GaBBY made her national television, radio and magazine debuts on ‘The Real, The Tom Joyner Morning Show,’ and in ‘Kiplinger Magazine,’ respectively. “It feels really good to have people support me because they believe that my business can go to the next level!” says Gabrielle.

OPOL board member, Ken Ivey, said: “Almost every week our community uses a banqueting suite; whether it be for a wedding, christening, funeral, or dance, but we’ve never owned our own place. We’ve had buildings and centres for the use of our community but we’ve never owned them. Here now is the perfect opportunity for us to have a place we can fall our own.” Fellow board member, Canon Pitts expanded, saying: “This is more than just bricks and mortar – it is a vision. We want to prove that we can work together as a community and share in this vision. This is an oppor-

tunity to share in our philosophy that we can work together with like-minded people. It’s a project to excite everyone and catch their imagination.” One keen onlooker, BBC Radio WM presenter, Bishop Joe Aldred, raised eye-brows when he said; “For me, I wouldn’t invest in something like this. Why I am here for, though, is to invest for the benefit of my grandchildren. Their future is vitally important to me so having shares in this project is a fantastic investment for their future. I’m in.” A document offer is currently being drawn up for people to invest in the centre and, in doing so, buy into the vision of OPOL. Board members emphasised that the project is not another case of asking for donations and handouts. With 200 people already registering their interest, anyone who takes up shares joins the ‘one member one vote’ system and would be investors rather than simply members.

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The Phoenix – October 2016

Page 9


ART pioneers funding model to support small businesses

Broadway Casino present cheque to military heroes


urviving veterans of ‘Operation Market Garden’ gathered in Birmingham, as the city’s Broadway Casino presented a cheque for those with us today, plus loved ones, be able to continue making their annual pilgrimage to visit the graves of lost comrades, in Arnhem, in The Netherlands. Leading independent casino, Broadway Casino, hosted a fundraising event in aid of the Market Garden Commemorative Association, an organisation that pays homage to the 1944 Battle of Arnhem giving them a last chance to visit Holland, where so many of their comrades were lost.

As the number of returning soldiers dwindles each year, and the availability of funds became scarce , they raised £5,500 through a number of fundraising activities and events in order to present the cheque on what was a very special day. Making the presentation was Broadway Manager, Antonio Socci, who was on hand to hand over the sum total. Antonio, a band member with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Warwickshire, said; “To be able to send these veterans, and their loved ones, back to the scene of their greatest battle is an amazing and very blessed thing to do. This helps to allows them to

go to Holland, look after their food bills, accommodation, travel around Arnhem plus other amenities.” One veteran, 92-year-old tanker drive, Les Reid, who recently received the Chevalier de Legion d’Honneur - the highest decoration in France – for his unyielding service, said; “My time in Arnhem will always be ‘a day in my life.’ I was wounded three times and bailed out eight times - losing three tanks in one day. We were a hardy bunch of lads and it’s my duty to visit the grave of those who didn’t make it back and pay homage to my fallen brothers. I thank Broadway Casino and the Market Garden Commemorative Association for making it happen.”


l Steve Walker, Chief Executive of ART Business Loans nnovation Birmingham Campus-based ART Business Loans has joined forces with peer to business lender ThinCats, to pilot a unique scheme to raise £500,000 to support local businesses. The move is designed to improve access to finance for small to medium sized enterprises in the West Midlands, enabling them to create and preserve jobs. ART lends £10,000 to £150,000 to businesses unable to access the finance they need from the banks. Working with local peer lending platform ThinCats, ART is trialling raising money to lend on to businesses. The usual model is

that investors choose individual businesses in which to invest through ThinCats. This initiative is part of ART’s continued planned expansion to meet demand from West Midlands businesses, following a third record year of loan delivery in 2015/16. “We have seen an increase in applications in the first quarter of this financial year, with loans delivered in excess of £900,000,” says Steve Walker, Chief Executive of ART Business Loans. Launched in 1997 as a local mutual lender, ART Business Loans, a social enterprise and member of Responsible Finance, has worked

with other Responsible Finance members across the UK to develop the ThinCats Community Chest offer. Since it started it has lent over £20m to more than 900 local businesses, which as a result have been able to create or preserve over 7,000 jobs. “It is loans of this size, so important to smaller businesses that are of least interest to the banks and many other providers” explains Steve. “That is why it is vital that lenders like ART exist, with a remit to fill gaps in the business finance market.”







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Page 10


g n i t o Prom xcellence E As part of our ongoing commitment to promoting the positive and inspirational individuals and organisations in our communities, The Phoenix Newspaper presents Promoting Excellence - a closer look at our role models, entrepreneurs, community figures and success stories.

James 'Plaice'd On Shortlist


The Phoenix – October 2016

Thousands turn up for Careers and Apprenticeship Show 2016

Birmingham City University celebrates 10 years in China

l James Houlston, frier at Our Plaice Fish & Chips Bar in Kidderminster

idderminster frier, James Houlston, has been named as one of the UK’s top five fish friers after he was shortlisted for the 'Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Award' as part of the 2017 National Fish & Chip Awards, organised by Seafish. The West Midlands man, a frier at Our Plaice Fish & Chips Bar in the town, will now compete at the highest level as he goes up against the four other contenders ‘fishing’ for the top prize. The young friers have faced a rigorous judging process, undergoing exam questionnaires and in-depth telephone interviews conducted by senior industry experts. They also received a skills based assessment and underwent a personal interview during a comprehensive judging day at the National Federation of Fish Friers (NFFF) Training School in Leeds. They will now receive a mystery judging visit at their respective workplace, combined with another test of their skills and knowledge whilst in their

own working environment. The overall national winner will be announced on 26 January 2017 at the National Fish & Chip Awards annual ceremony in London. Kelvin Lee, Managing Director at Drywite Ltd, commented: “After attending the judging days for this award category I knew that cutting the shortlist down from 10 to five was going to be difficult; all the semi-finalists were extremely talented young people.” Seafish Chief Executive,

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Marcus Coleman, added: “The aim of the National Fish & Chip Awards has always been to showcase the very best fish and chip businesses and individuals in the UK while setting incredibly high standards for the industry to aspire to. We’ve been extremely impressed by the high standard of talent in the young fish frier category this year. To reach the top five in a UK wide competition is a great achievement in itself – they should all be very proud of themselves.”

l (L-R) Professor Cliff Allan,Vice-Ch

Changshu Institute of Technology; Mrs D Birmingham; and Ms Lily Cai, Director o

Continued from Front Page

l Councillor Carl Rice, Lord Mayor of Birmingham lead the festivities at the Four Seasons Hotel, Shanghai, as Birmingham City University celebrates 10 years in China

Since the Shanghai representative office opened with one staff member, more than 5,000 students have joined the University from China and the institution has gone on to base staff in both Beijing and Wuhan, with a total team of 10. Cllr Rice, visiting Shanghai for the first time, said: “I am delighted to be flying the flag for the city of Birmingham, which has a close and long-standing relationship with China. At the heart of our city is Birmingham City University, which is currently home to 800 students from China. Along with an already welcoming community of Chinese descent, these students enrich our city and contribute so much to what makes Birmingham a great place to live, work and study. Birmingham City University has been instrumental in the regeneration of the Eastside area of Birmingham and has made

0121 339 5885 or 0208 865 1922

The Phoenix – October 2016


Page 11


housands of young people and their families turned out at Millennium Point on Saturday 24th September for the Careers and Apprenticeship Show. A very diverse crowd surged their way into the show, with over 1,500 people coming through to doors by midday alone. Georgina Mendez, Chair for Birmingham and Solihull Network of Training Providers said “We are excited to be hosting the show for the second year running, which we believe will help to shape the future leaders and entrepreneurs of our city.” The free event supported by Birmingham City Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, linked young people with more than 30 exhibitors ranging from employers, experienced apprenticeship providers, experts from universities, providers and colleges. Sue Tipton, Director of the Network explained, “It’s our second event, and we learned a lot from the first one, but it has been

very challenging. “We’re here to give advice and information about Apprenticeships and Traineeships, as well as inviting colleges and universities to come down too. “There is a common misconception that you have to stay in formal education until you are 18, and a lot of people don’t know that there is an alternative in the form of apprenticeships and traineeships.” “By contacting households directly, rather than through their schools, the turnout that we have had is brilliant,” Gordon Franks, Director of the network announced. “They are a group of young people who are engaged and want to find out more about the options for their future.” Every provider in the network is either a Grade 1 or Grade 2 Training Provider, Good or Outstanding,ensuring that everyone going through the network will receive only the highest standard of education. The event was a huge success, with over 4,500 people attending on the day. The Birmingham and Solihull Network of Training Providers have a fully functional website with all the information, including the providers and the routes from 16+, as well as full social media coverage, so if you were unable to get to Millennium Point for the event, check them out at l

Cabinet Member for Jobs and Skills, Cllr O’Reilly stands alongside the Deputy Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Raymond Hassall, Georgina Mendez, Chair for Birmingham and Solihull Network of Training Providers and Gordon Franks, Director of the Network. - Photo - Jesse Gerald


by Kesa Nkulu

n our African culture the women NEVER walk behind the men. Absolutely no misogyny here, in-fact our women, should be commended or even idolized for their roles in the wars of independence! Wherever there is chaos, the women ‘stand up’ and put order back into the house-hold, community or the nation. Yaya Nzinga the first Queen of Egypt and Ma’at represent the epitome of this order. We will briefly discover 3 such heroines who have fought against colonial domination and who we should never forget!


hancellor, Birmingham City University; Professor Zonggen Shen,Vice President, Deed Curry, Lady Mayoress of Birmingham; Councillor Carl Rice, Lord Mayor of of the International Office, Changshu Institute of Technology

an investment of £260 million in new facilities. Coupled with its wide array of world-renowned courses from jewellery design to accountancy and business, there really has never been a better time for Chinese students to be part of Birmingham City University.” The celebrations took place at the prestigious Four Seasons Hotel, which is located in the historic Puxi area of Shanghai, while the office itself is housed within the nearby Academy of International Visual Arts (AIVA). As well as dealing with all the University’s applications from across China, including Hong Kong, the office has helped establish nearly 30 Memoranda of Understanding with Chinese universities, including the highly-ranked Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Communication University of China and Changshu Institute of Technology.

Birmingham City University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Cliff Allan was also present at the celebration event. He said: “Our China office in Shanghai is a window for Chinese students and institutions to understand and get to know Birmingham City University better. Our staff here are an important bridge between China and the UK, not only showcasing the innovative and high quality education we offer, but promoting the benefits of cultural exchange between our two countries. Thousands of Chinese students have come to Birmingham City University over the past 10 years through our Shanghai office and these students have made a fantastic impact across the University and the City with their creativity, hard work and enthusiasm.” Birmingham City University enrolled its first student from mainland China in 1991.

After the exile of the Asante King, the British Governor General Sir Frederick Hodgson demanded the Golden Stool, symbol of the Asante Kingdom. (According to the legend the high priest summoned the golden stool from the skies to land in the lap of the first king Osei Tutu). The demand led to a secret meeting of what remained of the Asante government at Kumasi, to discuss the steps needed to secure the return of the King. Yaa Asantewaa disturbed by the lack of progress stood up and addressed the members of the council with these now legendary words: “Now I see that some of you fear to go forward to fight for our king. If it was in the brave days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anokye, and Opoku Ware, Chiefs would not sit down to see their king to be taken away without firing a shot. “No European could have dared speak to Chiefs of Asante in the way the governor spoke to you this morning. “Is it true that the bravery of As-

Thanking Our Women In The Struggle For Independence ante is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be! I must say this: if you, the men of Asante, will not go forward, then we will. “We, the women, will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight! We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.” With this, she took on leadership of the Asante Uprising of 1900’s. During the course of the war, she was captured and also sent into exile to the Seychelles on 1 January 1902. Yaa Asantewaa died in exile in the Seychelles on 17 October 1921. Three years later on 27 December 1924, Prempeh I was allowed to return to Asante. The remains of the courageous Yaa Asantewaa were returned for a proper royal burial. The fight for an Asante Kingdom free of British rule was realized on 6 March 1957, when the Asante protectorate regained their independence as part of Ghana, the first African nation to achieve this.


Yaya Vita Kimpa is the most famous cultural, spiritual and political

Icons in the war of resistance against colonial rule. She is the great Saint venerated by the Congo (Kongo) nationalists. Yaya Vita Kimpa refused to denounce her spiritual and cultural heritage, for this she was targeted by the colonisers, who were aware that the only way to take control of the Kingdom, would be to eliminate all traces of the old kingdom, by destroying its languages and cultural practices. For this Mama Vita Kimpa, a fervent Kongo Nationalist was burnt alive; on the 2nd July 1706 she was put to death, by Catholic missionaries with support from the Portuguese army.


Mekatilli fought against the exploitation of the Kenyan people by the British authorities who sought to hire cheap labour and impose a tax on the people in order to ensure that the work force were obligated to work to build foreign economies. Her ability to organise the women together, in the tradition of Mepoho was fundamental for the resistance.

She was eventually arrested by the British and exiled. She escaped and return home to continue her fight against the injustices and was again captured by the authorities and once again sent, this time to Somalia where once again she escaped and returned home. She was known has a medicine woman, just like Sister Nanny of Jamaica, Francois Makandal of Haiti, Nganga Zumbi of Brazil to mention just a few. It seems that the practice of their African Spirituality was fundamental in their sustained fight and victory to colonial rule of any sorts. The British failed to gain control over the country, which elected its own government. Mekakilli returned to head a women’s council. She died in 1925 at the age of around 70. Bika Lusakumunu Ba Tata Ba Mpungu Tulendo Yasikila Mu Bawu = Let the blessings of The Father Almighty be upon them. Ingeta. Ibobo Ibobo.

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Page 12


The Phoenix – October 2016

Nothing that is worth it ever comes easy Women of Excellence: Cynthia Davis CEO of BAME Recruitment by Dr Neslyn Watson-Druée, CBE, FCGI, FRCN


ynthia Davis is an inspirational professional within the recruitment field and her presence will shake up parts of the field that has been complacent in sourcing the best candidates. Cynthia provides a truly unique and authentic recruitment and consultancy service that is dedicated to attracting the best candidates from a diverse community that includes all backgrounds in-

cluding ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation and religion amongst others. Cynthia has well-honed strategies to attract and place the best candidates into posts, and her ethos is in helping companies to recruit a highly skilled workforce, whilst looking beyond the appear-

ance, background and origin of people. BAME is not your run of the mill recruitment agency. Cynthia and BAME truly believe in breaking down barriers to provide fairer employment and hiring processes that are representative and inclusive, reflecting the diversity within

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the population of UK. Cynthia’s expertise is derived from 17 years+ recruitment knowledge gained through working in large corporate organisations including BT, Carphone Warehouse, ITV and others.

So who is Cynthia?

Cynthia grew up in a large family that was bound by good Christian values and respect for one another. They were always taught to treat everyone as how we wanted to be treated no matter their background or where they came from. Those values have stayed with Cynthia and have allowed her to push her contribution for a world where everyone is treated equally and fairly. As a child, Cynthia was always ambitious and never took no for an answer. That gave her the ability and courage from a very young age to stand up for what she believed in. She said: I am a great advocate for inspiring the next generation, thus helping to inspire future leaders. It is imperative that the next generation have good role models whom they can look up to, who inspire them to push themselves further and are relatable to them. It is our duty as business leaders to leave a legacy for the next generation that they can be proud of and aspire to and build upon. The three most important things in Cynthia’s life are: Family, Friends and Good Health Cynthia’s most important values are honesty, loyalty, trust, love and empathy. The core value that drives Cynthia’s decision making for humanity is focused on compassion and values relating to her family are: love and laughter and to that end her family always comes first. In conversation with Cynthia I found that the accomplishments that have given Cynthia the most personal fulfilment are: Motherhood and setting up her own business that helps and inspires the next generation. She said: Being part of the change is powerful.

That said I wanted to know what are some of Cynthia’s daily practices to keep her motivation high. She commented:

“I keep myself motivated knowing what we do make a massive impact on people’s careers and livelihoods. “We also help to empower our candidates to achieve their goals, that is a priceless experience to witness and this helps to keep me focussed. Prayer and a good work out when I get a chance to exercise also help.” I was so inspired by Cynthia’s infectious enthusiasm that mentally I wanted to cheer go girl, go.

So what does success look like or feel like in Cynthia’s business and life? She said:

“Success to me is not measured in monetary basis but in the difference that I make in people’s lives. By giving them the opportunity to go for their dream job, this enables them to be successful in their own way and it’s humbling to be part of that process.”

What more would Cynthia do in this life if she knew that she could not fail?

“Aim higher and bigger, reach out to as many organisations as possible to help open up doors of opportunity for more candidates from diverse backgrounds and those who are underrepresented within our society.”

People most admire Cynthia’s honesty, straight talking and warmth, but what does Cyn-

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thia want to be remembered for?

“Being part of the change where people are seen for who they are, their talents and skills are not over looked because of their background, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. “I would like for everyone to be treated fairly and on a level playing field with no barriers to opportunities.”

So what has Cynthia learnt from life?

She is very clear that certain events that have shaped the way in which we live today around terror attacks like 9/11, 7/7 or the Paris attacks. These are all fuelled by hate and not love. It’s made our society more divided and cast a shadow on how the views of people in world on how they view people from different religious backgrounds.

What has Cynthia learnt from her challenges in life that has made her a better person?

“Don’t ever give up, nothing that is worth it ever comes easy. As one of my great idols Muhammad Ali once said, Impossible is nothing!”

What advice can Cynthia give to someone wishing to start out?

“I always remember Richard Branson saying: ‘It’s amazing what doors can open if you reach out to people with a smile, friendly attitude and a desire to make a positive impact’ ”

0121 339 5885

The Phoenix – October 2016

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Page 14


The Phoenix – October 2016

TV - Online - MAGAZINE /markdwaynehost



ne Mark Dway

rs and Fila

, Mark Walte

Mark Dwayne All Black Birthday 2016 “For me the all black was amazing - I just wanted to get my ravers that have been with me since 1997 and make them relive the days of how we use to party” 22 Supreme Cat Show 23-25 Hot Tub Living Expo

14 Kano 18 Spring King 19 Billy Talent 21 Michael Kiwanuka 22 Gorgon City 24 George The Poet 27 Lady Leshurr 29 JP Cooper

l Nickelback play the Genting Arena on the 14th October


October 04 The Hunna 05 Fireball – Fuelling The Fire Tour 06 Louis Berry 07 The Spitfires 08 This is Madchester 11 Frankie Ballard 14 All Saints: Red Flag Tour 16 Jamie Lawson 20 Keywest 21 Lonely The Brave 24 Jake Bugg 26 Emma Blackery 29 Gehtika 30 The Lumineers


October 04 The Birthday Massacre 04 Feeder 07 AURORA 07 Kate Nash 08 Hot Dub Time Machine 10 Ady Suleiman 13 Akala: 10 Years of Akala Tour 13 Goo Goo Dolls



October 08 Jean-Michel Jarre 12 Fifth Harmony 14 The Australian Pink Floyd Show 2016 15 Babbu Maan 17-18 Justin Bieber 19 Steel Panther 22 Frankie Gavin Vs Sam Eggington 25-30 Disney On Ice presents Frozen


October 05-09 Horse of the Year Show 14 Nickelback 21 Bad Company - Special guests Richie Sambora & Orianthi 22 Bear Grylls: Endeavour 24 Justin Bieber 26 Four Tops & The Temptations 29 Maxwell & Mary J Blige


October 07-09 Destination Star Trek Europe 11-16 Motorhome & Caravan Show 14-16 The Vaper Expo 19-23 Grand Designs Live 22-23 DIVE 2016

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October 03 Tamsin Waley-Cohen In Recital (TH) 06 Four Last Songs (SH) 07 The Brummies 2016 (TH) 09 The Legend Of Zelda: Symphony Of The Goddesses - Master Quest (SH) 09+12 Romesh Ranganathan (TH) 11 Level 42 (SH) 13 Christy Moore (SH) 15 Tony Hadley (SH) 16 Jo Malone My Story (TH) 16 Jason Byrne (TH) 29 Steve Backshall’s Wild World (TH) 29 Miles Jupp (TH) 30 CBSO Youth Orchestra: The Wooden Prince (SH)


October 07 The Ruts DC (SR) 08 Garage Gathering (CH) 16 The Feeling (SR) 17 Bars and Melody (SR) 18 We Are Scientists (SR) 21 Babbu Man (CH) 22 Omid Djalili (CH) 23 MAGIC OF MOTOWN (CH) 25 Joe & Caspar (CH) 27 Russell Kane (WH) 30 Alien Ant Farm (SR) 31 Michael Portillo - Life: A Game Of Two Halves (WH)

0121 339 5885 or 0208 865 1922


The Phoenix – October 2016

l Sold a u n n A e h T


WOW! y t r a P y a e Birthd n y a w D k r Ma


IP magazine editor and DJ promoter Mark Dwayne brings the All Black roadblock. Over the last 20 years we have seen Mark bring colour theme parties like Blue and White, Black and White and Red and Black, but this year Mark decided to do one colour which was all black which is his favourite colour for many reasons. This night was for his supporters, a massive road block Birthday in September. Nearly 1000 guests were dressed in full black to celebrate and party in VIP Style at the Myyst Nightclub In Birmingham.

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l Comedian White Yardie attends the All Black Party

The Street Cred magazine editor and DJ has always been known to put on massive and exclusive parties and to date this one has been the best this year. The All Black Event was highly anticipated as Mark announced earlier in the year that he was taking a break from the club scene to concentrate more on the corporate dinners, new album and tours in the UK and Abroad. But if you know Mark Dwayne he couldn’t leave this year without a swagger club party as this is what we know him for. “I don’t do club nights as regular as I used to” said Mark Dwayne “mainly because of my age and if I’m honest going out isn’t the same as back in the day but it was my birthday and I thought why not give it one more go this year and do a party for my friends that love Old Skool - but its gotta be all black” As you can see by the pictures 99 percent of the clients were dressed in Black if you were not then it was due to strict orders to not to have your pic taken. “Mark Walters of Aston

Villa has been supporting me for the last 19 years, it’s noted - Respect!” beamed Mark “Other celebrity guests included White Yardie and others attended the glamorous affair.” Over the last 20 years Mark Dwayne has been a trendsetter for VIP nightlife parties in the Midlands, his readers buy his magazines support him as a DJ and singer and all that is part of the Mark Dwayne Brand. He has often been hailed as the P Diddy of Birmingham but Mark states “I am simply me doing what I love for my supporters and all I aim to do in my life is put a smile on peoples face. “It turns me on that I am able to give people that escapism needed in their life for a few hours, I love to give people a big party and music is a great way to get everyone socializing and getting to know each other. “For me the all black was amazing - I just wanted to get my ravers that have been with me since 1997 and make them relive the days of how we use to party and it was so nice to see everyone here again and grown up, it’s been an amazing 20 years doing magazines and parties ’

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Page 16


Grime Heavyweight’s Bass Defence League Skank Is Sweeping The Nation!

“To think I made this darnce at like 4 am in the morning drunk in my yard and to see so many people across the place doing it is crazy”


Big Narstie



The Phoenix – October 2016



caught up with the hottest grime artist in UK right now who everybody loves. London Grime veteran Big Narstie met me at the Marriot Hotel in Birmingham before his Uni show to give Street Cred Magazine and TV the lowdown on his new album featuring some mega names and his new hit single BDL Skank which is creating a massive storm at festivals. If you know about Big Narstie he is one of the UKs greatest performers and his tracks always smash the raves and festivals. He is probably the most down to earth artist I have ever met thats doing it big in the music scene. This guy is good friends with Craig David and was the first grime artist to feature on Johnathon Ross show. Interviewing this guy you can tell all he wants is for the UK Grime scene to do well and open doors for as many people as he can.

MD: How is the response when you perform the tune? NARSTIE: It’s been mental to think I made this darnce at like 4 am in the morning drunk in my yard and to see so many people across the place doing it is crazy MD: That’s what’s needed in the grime scene, the fun element? NARSTIE: For sure, BDL ravers don’t do standing in

Narstie: I always say from you make the same music that I make we have to support each other whoever gets through like Skepta, Stormzy etc it opens the door for the whole scene and with great power comes great responsibility. MD: BDL Album is coming and its big I know, what kinda vybe we talkin here? NARSTIE: BDL album drops next year, Very Bipolar is my own computer game dropping next year, my android app dropping December, Uncle Pain dvd out now on MD: Who else you working with on the album? NARSTIE: Robbie Williams, Lady Leshurr, Tinie Tempah and many more.

MD: Easy bro, good to meet you thanks for the time NARSTIE: No worries fam big up Big Mikee in Birmingham. C








MD: Respect thats our grime king, so tell me the BDL Skank tune is explosive right now how you feel about the whole hype on it? NARSTIE: The BDL skank is doing really well fam, I had to embrace my Jamaican roots by having Supercat and I am riding with the flow fam its all happening.

the corner that’s dead! Man and woman are on Zumba behaviour on this song bruv [laughs] MD: Being with Craig David on that hit single “When the Bassline Drops” - how has that elevated your career? NARSTIE: What it done for me is it opened more international doors so big up Craig David man I mean he got the gyal all over the world. [laughs] MD: It was great Craig David came to street level it was about time wouldn’t you say?

MD: Wow you going in with the names bro mans with Robbie Williams thats mega! And Lady Leshurr thats a good look reppin our brum chick feeling that. NARSTIE: Of course, its English music bro. It’s all happening. See more of the Big Narstie interview on BDL skank out now, Follow Big Narstie on Facebook and Twitter Words: Mark Dwayne

The Phoenix – October 2016

Page 17


Sisters are doing it for themselves!

Black History Month


elcome to our Black History Month supplement, where this year we are introducing you to the legacy of those who have passed. Though we respect our past heroes and foundation layers, we have to acknowledge those who have picked up the baton, to continue the work that those gone before us had started. In our Black History Month, we have selected a few of those dynamic individuals that has surpassed their ability to continue the work and walk the walk and talk the talk.

Our headliners, Platinum People is a business started by two powerful sisters within the community that has demonstrated true grit, passion devotion, determination and success. We salute them, and celebrate the youth of today and the inspiration and continuation of our next generation, in particular Janaih and Serena, and the lifelong commitment to serve with honour and selflessness like Rupert Phillips and Victor K Leigh. They should be commended and acknowledged in light of Black History Month.

Page 18


The Phoenix – October 2016

l Murett and Georgina Mendez (centre) with staff members at Platinum People

Giving their students the

Platinum Package by Daniel Riley


hen you’re a young person who has just left school, the prospect of starting your future can be quite daunting. Platinum People, set up by sisters Georgina and Murett Mendez back

in 2002, looks to give people in that situation the guidance and education they need to continue on with their lives, whether that be to college, university or straight into employment. “Platinum People is about educating, supporting and shaping the future leaders of the city,” explains Georgina, “The occu-

l Georgina and Murett, sisters standing strong.

pational or technical area we’ve decided to work in is the trades, as we see the trades industry is a good skilled area for these kids to move forward to. “We empower our students to one day be the owner of their own company, in any area of trade, be it electrical, plumbing or motor vehicle.” Growing up, the girls went to Bournville Juniors and Kings Norton Girls School before heading out into industry, with Murret working at City Hospital, just a stones throw away from the current site of Platinum People, and Georgina in Social Services before both girls decided to go to Uni. Murett then worked as a training manager for a training company. It was actually while in that position in the run up to Christmas one year, that Murett stood up for the rights of the successful students that she had been working with in the face of discrimination and abuse from the owner over sending their exams to the awarding body to get the students their deserved qualification. Over that Christmas break, there was a lot of soul searching, and Murett came up with the idea of her and Georgina starting their

l Georgina and Murett Mendez in the Garage at Platinum People own training company. “Our Mom also say how distressed she was, and told us that she would support us both in setting this up if it was what we wanted to do – our Mom has been quite instrumental in everything we’ve done.” Their Mother and Father were also the ones that instilled in the young girls their work ethic; “We grew up in business, helping mum in the markets. She was the first black woman who sold green bananas and yam in the outdoor markets,” reminisced Murett, “We were used to being up really early in the morning, then out with her when she was selling all day.” When their Father was made redundant, their parents decided they wanted more, so they opened their own food shop in Sparkbrook on Walford Road, and were maybe the first or second food shop to open selling chicken. “We used to be known as the “Chicken Girls” as every Friday and Saturday, and every holiday we would be in there working away.” As you’d expect, Platinum People take on students from a wide range of backgrounds, cultures and abilities, but if the students are willing, and really want their qualification, they can really turn themselves around.

“We’ve started doing taster sessions, as at 16 or so, you don’t always know what you want to be or do at all, so our students can try their hand at plumbing, electrical, or automotive work to figure out what it is that they want to pursue.” Already an Ofsted Grade 2 Provider, the girls aren’t sitting back on their laurels, and have ambitions to move towards becoming a Grade 1 Provider, by developing their infrastructure, and upping the quality and provisions for the students. Achieving a whopping 85.5% pass rate this year, Platinum People is always looking to the future. “Locally, as a provider and nationally, we are above the national average, which is great, especially for a relatively small company competing in a very competitive marketplace.” Georgina and Murett took on the current site back in 2008, and decided it wasn’t fit for purpose. The garage was fine, but there was a car wash and a café attached to it. The boldly ripped everything down and rebuilt it from the ground up with our own design and layout to make the experience of learning more enjoyable. The pair now hope to expand on what they have, and grow the company

while maintaining the high levels of quality and service that they have become known for. “Our success has been down to the success of our staff, so we’d like thank all the staff we’ve ever had for all their hard work. We’d like to thank our Mom, who has helped us through tougher times,” Georgina smiled, “She’s always been there, praying with us, praying for us, and financial support too, we wouldn’t be where we are without her.” “I would like to say thank you also to the supporters who we may not know who are in the background and who we may not know on a personal level. Layota and Andre, our children are our number one supporters, they’ve been with us since the beginning and through the ups and downs, thanks also to my brother in law David, and to all of our family and friends.” “Give us a call, come and see us! We have open days every Wednesday at the Garage, we know everyone as individuals, and all the staff take the time to find out who you are, and to help you onto your next steps.” Whether you know what you want to do with your future or not, Platinum People is a brilliant place to check out.

The Phoenix – October 2016

Page 19

Page 20


Sharing his knowledge and expertise with the world one book at a time


igerian-born Victor K Leigh has lived in the UK for over 40 years, with a considerable amount of that time working in the fields of sheltered housing and social care. Victor was called in for a period of 9 months maternity cover as a sheltered manager for the council, which soon turned into 6 years as a contractor in trouble shooting and manager; in that time, he noticed many things were happening. Sadly though, it came to a point where the council had to lay off most of the staff, before retaking some of them in, but as Victor was a contractor with them, there was no room for him, along with


n his book, General Guides to Management in Sheltered Housing, V.K. Leigh shares information that supports why he is one of the most experienced sheltered scheme managers to have the privilege working with older persons in the United Kingdom; through some of the larger housing organizations in the country; both in the private and public sectors. Combining the gift and years of practical experience and knowledge, Leigh will undoubtedly be ranked as a professional in this field. Leigh spends time looking for ways of improving the lifestyle and care for the older people with new ideas of how to better the field that he is so knowledgeable about. Leigh is


uides to Scheme Managers’ Operations explores how every housing-related organization has strategic equalities and visions for their tenants and also for themselves to guide them more positively. No individuals or groups should be at a disadvantage by reason of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, employment status, and religious beliefs. When a tenant moves into a sheltered housing scheme, a welcoming pack is given by the housing organization. In this pack, all important and immediate valuable information, including telephone numbers for services like repairs, are enclosed for the tenant’s convenience. The aim of every organization is about giving the best services and the best values that can be offered

nearly 100 others. Being at home looking for jobs, Victor decided to do something to keep me busy, and he found himself getting deeper and deeper into writing which resulted to these books and then at the same time he was helping to check peoples’ books (Proof-reading and editing) when they write too. Rather than writing works of fiction, detailing epic battles between the forces of good and evil with dragons thrown in for good measure, Victor started writing about what he knew, and what he was good at; Social Work and

a professional business manager, consultant in management training, computer systems analyst and a credit and financial analyst.

to their customers. Some organizations improve their services and will do everything within their knowhow with greater or less positive results.

Sheltered Housing Management. “I picked the topics from what happens around me. The first one I wrote was to do with the environment of sheltered housing for older people, which was The General Guide to Management in Sheltered Housing.” Victor is a Registered Consultant in Management Training, used to training people day in day out during his previous and present posts and sorting people out on the right path within the field, and had an epiphany moment, realising; “I said to myself, if I can talk to people, train them, and solve problems that were going on around the place, then why can’t I write it down to help more people?” “When working with vulnerable people, one’s task is

to support them by keeping them happy and comfortable; these elderly people are valuable, people who know about the country and make it what it is today dating back from the first and second world wars, people that need to be respected for who they are and what they have done in their lifetime.” “So I went into the management side of writing, which is where the second b o o k c a m e


to Z In Health & Social Care is an A-to-Z dictionary-type of glossary book that contains the everyday words and vocabulary used in the environments of social care, sheltered housing, extra care, social housing, and related environments—words that people use every day and are taken for granted without thinking about what they mean or represent. Most of the staffs, clients, patients, and visitors use these words so frequently and indiscriminately that, to some people, they have lost the true meanings and understandings. This book is of educational value to training establishments and colleges. It is a source of reference when unsure about the terms of words that are being used


he roles of the modern sheltered scheme manager have changed drastically. Modernization in sheltered housing has created new rules in the field of sheltered housing and also to the modern sheltered scheme manager. The sheltered scheme managers of today must be well mannered, cultured, educated, and must be computer literate; more so are the expectations that this book brings into light the awareness behind the facts. The roles of the modern sheltered scheme manager are more complicated than ever and there are many dos and don’ts that need to be registered in peoples’ minds as this book is being read. General Extra Care: The Full Facts educates anyone and everyone that reads it, of the inner

from. It shows how the management side of things are run from within. In the process of writing it, I found myself creating some appropriate forms which were approved for the various purpose, the council used these forms, and it became the accepted general form being used at the time.” “Behind each of the books I have put the information for tenants and their families as an awareness for information vital for them to know. For example, when tenants/clients pass away, the council don’t actually release some of the possessions immediately, and you must have a will, else there will be some complications for your family.” More recently, Victor has published his 2 newest books in March this year; ‘A to Z in Health & Social Care’ is a dictionary of words found in the health and social care sectors and ‘Why Me? -respecting mul-


or pronounced. It is important to realize that this is not a textbook but only a reference source—that is, a dictionary.

n a world full of confusion, people may find themselves thinking without consideration for others. V. K. Leigh hopes to rectify that with his new book, Why Me? Leigh confronts how environment, culture, and religion can affect everyday life and reasoning. This book of knowledge is written as a source of awareness to the various cultures in the world and how their beliefs influence the lives of the groups within that culture and its environments. This book makes us aware that the world is a place of multicultural society, where everyone needs to understand the environment in which they live. In Why Me?, the contents go back to the early century when bravery was the order of the day. This book contains knowledge-based information, giving an in-depth history and enlightening the zeal of everyone who reads it.

working procedures and abilities of the sheltered scheme managers. This book is an educational material that can be used to train/teach a sheltered scheme manager to be.

The Phoenix – October 2016

ticulturalism’. “To be honest, ‘Why Me?’ just happened. In my quiet moment, sat down and a lot of things were just running through my head. Seeing the way people are mistreating each other, and especially women in the third world countries, prompted me to write this particular one.” “I looked at countries like Africa, the Zulu King, Nigerian Kings, Egyptian Queens, and some other rulers along West Africa, where you had 40 women who made the army to protect the King, and I also talk about discrimination and bullying too.” For Victor, ‘Why Me?’ seemed to come down to respect. “The world we live in today, a lot of people don’t respect each other, whether it be due to religion, culture or caste. In heaven there is no religion, I believe that God created man equal, and if that is so, everyone will stand before him at the end of their days.” “Hopefully people will think twice before they open their mouth and disrespect another person’s religion.” Food for thought: - For any young person wanting to go into writing, Victor has some wise words for you. “Before you do, make sure it is what you want to do, and make sure you have that zeal to want to write. Don’t go into it because you see someone else writing and just think “I want to do that”. Let it be your passion. When you’re writing, let it become a part of you and when it becomes a part of you, you will love whatever you’re doing.”

This book is written with the intent to share wisdom, knowledge, and information on world cultural heritage; explain how culture and environment affect our behaviors and thoughts; discuss how people regard and talk to each other; and delve into their mental reasoning and personalities.

Victors first three books are available through Xlibris Publishing at the link above, and his most recent two books are available now through Author House.

SOTIC 2016 in Barbados - What an Experience


by Mark Dwayne

was told throughout my life many times that I haven’t had a true holiday until I have experienced sun sea and sand, so when the opportunity came for me to review the SOTIC (State Of The Industry Conference) where 52 countries come together to highlight the new attractions of their islands and have a world class tour of Barbados, like any journalist I grabbed the opportunity with both hands. This year was my first visit to the Caribbean, Street Cred Magazine

featuring the lifestyle and travel section Swish along with the BBC and the world press were invited to a luxurious week tour of Barbados courtesy of the Caribbean Tourism Organization and the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. I was well prepared with my attire, boasting my shorts, white vest, pumps, and snazzy snapbacks ready for that white sand beach and powder blue skies experience. It was an 8 hour flight to get to the other side of the world which they call paradise on earth, as the plane landed I could not wait to stretch my arms and take in the sun.

l Marcia McLaughlin, Editor-In-Chief of The Phoenix Newspaper and Brenton Henry, Director of News, Observer Media Group, Antigua & Barbuda

When I stepped off the plane feeling the blazing heat beating down on my skin was brilliant. We were escorted from the airport to our Hilton hotel resort courtesy of the Barbados Tourism Board, the chauffeured drive went through the most amazing scenery. I filmed the whole journey and took so many selfies on my android phone just to have evidence that I was now in paradise. What amazed me was the view of the tropical palm trees amongst amazing large detached houses driving through the neighbourhoods. I hadn’t even reached my hotel and already I was saying to myself I want to live and die here. Yes Barbados is a beauty to the eye! As we got to the Hilton resort hotel we were greeted by two wonderful hostesess who said kindly ‘Enjoy your stay in Barbados’ while handing us both a tall glass of exotic rum punch. It was then I thought this is going to be an epic trip. So we checked into the hotel and within the hour I was confidently topless luxuriating on the beach with my cocktail , yes we were settled and had the first buffet meal over looking the beautiful white sand beach. It was a good start to the trip. The whole thing kicked off the following day when we were picked up at 6.30am to go to the press launch, where we received an in depth introduction from some of the islands, where we as journalist started to get

a feel of what as to come for the duration of our stay. After a day of preparation and information, the evenings event took place at an $88million mansion, with a restroom that was so lush you didn’t want to use it, instead taking photos of it. Boasting multiple swimming pools, cinema room, snooker table and all the mod cons, with a backdrop of dignitaries letting their hair down and enjoying the delectable delights that tantalised your tastebuds. The next day was another early start on an all day Rum Tour of Barbados, following breakfast at the Hilton and a factsheet of the Barbados attractions delivered by Billy Griffiths, followed by a mouth watering, knee trembling, anticipation growing pitch of Barbados by Dr Kerry Hall. The tour included a drive past of Simon Cowells multi-million dollar holiday home, Rihanna’s old neighbourhood and the estate where Tiger Woods got married. We stopped at the Rum Shacks and the Sugar Cane Mill as part of the Spice and Rum your, including a legendary massive warehouse built in the 1600’s. The group met with locals who had prepared a local delight of the island, Souse which is a dish of pickled pork and sweet potato. The trip came to a stop at a local restaurant, for the main meal. The next 3 days were dedicated

to the conference itself, interspersed with awards dinners, and networking, before the final night at a Concord bar. The bar was open all night with all bar tenders dressed in Air wear, a free world buffet ranging from Chinese Italian, Carribean and more. All in all, we would like to thank the Caribbean Tourism Organisation and Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc for an epic SOTIC 2016, where I was told there was an increase in

numbers of 500 delegates from previous years. All I am waiting for now is my invitation to the 50th Anniversary of Independence, so I can experience the uniqueness in celebration that Kerry Hall sold me at the beginning of the trip! A big thank you to Ginger Tree of Birmingham and La Romana Jewels #27 Broad Street, Bridgetown Barbados, dealers of fine jewellery - 436-6623.

l Marcia McLaughlin, Editor-In-Chief of The Phoenix Newspaper and Mark Dwayne Editor of Street Cred Magazine and Swish Holiday and Lifestyle

Page 22


The Phoenix – October 2016


he message which policy makers, players, and public and private sector representatives involved in the Tourism Industry in the Caribbean took away from CEO of Sandals Resorts International Adam Stewart when he addressed them at the State of the Tourism Industry Conference in Barbados was that “Sticking with what has worked” will not cut it. The 35-year-old Jamaican-born and raised billionaire delivered a keynote address on the theme “Honouring our Legacy and Defining our Future.” Left up to him, he would like to see tourism managed in a much more innovate manner. He said his role on the SOTIC stage at The Hilton Hotel was to speak to the visionaries. Those, he noted who think they have a better plan for the industry. “At its core, exploitation is about sticking with what has worked; its

Adam Stewart enco in managing the To

l Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International giving his Keynote Spee reliance upon old certainties and staying within our comfort zone. Like for us in the Caribbean, the ease of selling a traditional sun, sand ad sea experience; warm vacations that people know,” Stewart recognizes.

His advice is simply to change the approach to the industry, because to him, “the scales are tipped too much to business as usual.” Consideration has to be given to the factors affecting the industry, Stewart warned, referring to ad-

l Johnson JohnRose, Communications Specialist, CTO

l Grenada Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation

Clarice Modeste-Curwen

l Marcia McLaughlin, Editor-In-Chief of The Phoenix Newspaper with Carol Hay CTO’s Director of Marketing, Europe (left) and Nevis Tourism Authority’s Devon Liburd

l Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International, with Mark Dwayne, Editor of Street Cred Magazine and Swish Holiday and Lifestyle


The Phoenix – October 2016

Page 23


ourages innovation ourism Industry

business as usual.” Innovation is required; not complacency “We’ve added more hotel rooms along our full shores and added more lifted. We’ve reduced rates in the shoulder season and renovated. We’ve pushed wide white sandy beaches, blue waters and warm days. You know what? Over these last decades I think we’ve done a hell of a job. Beyond the current implications of Zika, the Brexit, Canadian stagnation, a US Presidential Election, the recent loss of the travel dollar to the Rio Games, the macro outlook for the Caribbean remains strong and so it’s easy to become complacent. To continue to exploit what has worked so well for so long,” he observed. In fact it has worked so well that the Caribbean Tourism Organisation is projecting 30 million international visitors to the Caribbean for 2016.


vances in technology, emerging markets, health concerns and fluctuating world economies. The CEO of one of the world’s leading resort companies recalled his father’s attitude towards business, always wanting to exceed

expectations, whether he was selling appliances or hotel rooms. “It’s about having the courage to dream big … for far too long however this has not been the case. With every good intention we have overwhelmingly pursued

l Adam Stewart, CEO of Sandals Resorts International, with Marcia McLaughlin, Editor-In-Chief of The Phoenix Newspaper

DUSTRY CONFERENCE 2016 l Sharon Flax Brutus, BVI Director of Tourism and Joy

Jibrilu, Director General of Bahams Ministry of Tourism

l Marcia McLaughlin Editor-In-Chief of The Phoenix Newspaper with The Honourable Obediah H. Wilcombe, M.P., Minister of Tourism for the Bahamas,(left) and Cardigan Connor Parliamentary Secretary for Anguilla


Barbados: The Rum Nation


arbados has something else to offer other than some of the best white sand beaches in the Caribbean and luxurious oceanfront resorts. The lush West Indian nation is touted as the birthplace of rum, having produced the world’s oldest liquor – Mount Gay Rum. Dubbed the rum island, it offers over 15 brands. Old Brigand and Mount Gay are the most popular, according to the bar owner of Sunset Vybz Rum Shop, Dana Knight. Her bar is among 1500 rum shops which can be found across the island. The visit to her bar was part of a Rum Shop Tour which the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc treated visiting journalists and travel writers to, attending the State of the Tourism Industry Conference. A rich rum history It is believed that the story of rum was founded in 1493 on the 280-acre Mount Gay Rum Estate. But it wasn’t until 1703 that the Mount Gay Commercial Rum Distillery was established, Mount Gay’s Brand Ambassador for Barbados

and the Eastern Caribbean Darrio Prescod recounted during a tour at the distillery. Then, Barbados was the hub for the sugar trade in the West Indies. It’s no wonder why the rum industry is booming there, as one of the largest producers of sugar cane in that region. Molasses - the main ingredient of rum – is made from sugar, and Barbados is claiming that its sugar is among the finest in the world. Prescod said what sets the Mount Gay Distillery apart from others is their distillation procedure, adding “many countries opt for one distillation process,” while Mount Gay has two unique distillation methods – the copper pot still (traditional method) and the column still. The Copper pot rum features complex, interwoven notes of chocolate, coconut and almonds, while the Column still rum is light-bodied with a short, crisp finish highlighted by floral and sweet fruit notes. Named after Sir John Gay Alleyne, the first manager of the distillery upon the request of the estate’s owner

ravel media from around the world were recognized for their excellence in journalism at the Barbados Tourism Media Awards at the Fairmont Royal Pavilion on the Platinum Coast. Created by Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI), the ceremony, themed ‘Recognizing Excellence in Global Coverage of Destination Barbados,’ which coincided with the Caribbean Tourism Organisation, State of the Industry Conference, was produced by the BTMI in recognition of the island’s 50th anniversary as an independent nation.

John Sober in the 1700s, the company has nine types of liquors to date. History will also show that Businessman Aubrey Ward turned operations up a notch when he bought the estate in the 1900s. He and his business partner John Hutson introduced Mount Gay Rum to the international market.

Today, the France-based liquor company Remy Cointreau owns Mount Gay Rum. Visitors can delight in experiencing Mount Gay’s operations during one of three tours offered by the company: the Signature Tour for US$10, Cocktail Tour for $US50 and a Buffet Lunch Tour for$US62.

Barbados: a top destination for


he homeland of the current hottest female R&B singer, Rihanna is considered a top destination for British vacationers. The United Kingdom market is a big deal for the independent Commonwealth nation of Barbados, which sells itself as offering ‘more than just sun, sea and sand.’ Of all the Eastern Caribbean countries, Barbados is the only one of which the United Kingdom is its number one tourism source market, according to that country’s Tourism Minister, Richard Sealy. He told international and regional media at the State of the Tourism Industry Conference hosted in Barbados in September that Barbadian

tourism authorities will continue to strengthen their marketing in the UK. More UK visitors expected “United Kingdom pleasingly continues to show growth. We’re at 2.7 percent ahead of last year … as a matter of fact I think by yearend 2016 we anticipate a marginal growth of just over two percent from the UK,” Chief Executive Officer of the BTMI Billy Griffith told the media. At the end of the year, Barbados hopes it can attract 600,000 international visitors. This will be record-breaking if it succeeds. There’s also been a boost in flights on major UK air carriers. “Three years ago British Airways had nine flights a week; we’re now up to 13 flights a week during the peak

Out of the 53 submitted entries from Canada, the USA, Europe and the UK, Canada copped the most top awards. Britney Hope who was present at the dinner won the category So You Know Your Stuff - Best Feature Article in a Trade Publication. Also present, Cara McLeay in Yup! You Told ‘Em! - Best Story by a Blogger copped this award with her piece “Barbados Diary.” With a story entitled ‘5 Reasons To Have Your Wedding In Barbados,’ Mara Sofferin took home the award in How Can This Knot Be Love?- Best Story on Romance; while Michael McCarthy hailing from

BTMI hosts inaugural Barbados Tourism Media Awards at SOTIC The Province came out on top in #NoFilter - Best Photo in Conjunction With a Feature Article with his ‘Making Friends in Bridgetown Marketplace’ article. Editor and freelance journalist, Violaine CharestSigouin, from ELLE Quebec won the category Is That An Accent? - Best Feature by Foreign Journalist in Foreign Media with a well written

piece dubbed ‘Elle Voyage Barbados’ and Doug Wallace from La Carte was not present, however, after winning the Shaken Not Stirred - Epicurean Excellence Media Award category with his entry ‘Eating Your Way Around Barbados, One Food Stand At a Time’ he mentioned in his acceptance video he remarked that “he can’t wait to eat his way around the island again.” Jon Hawkins was the lone UK finalist and won his category Spoken Like a True Bajan! - Best Feature Article in a Consumer Publication with a piece entitled, ‘Rum’s The Word.’ Meanwhile, Sangita Chandra of ABC Boston won favour with the judges with their broadcast piece titled, ‘Seaduced and Fish Fry, Barbados Pleasures, Barbados Roots, Barbados Art’ in the category Golden Mic - Best Feature Broadcast. CEO of BTMI, Billy Griffith, paid special thanks to all the journalists who took the time to write on Barbados and enter the first ever awards. He also noted; “These

awards are the start of many to come and we encourage each of you to keep up the excellent work in the promotion of the Barbados brand.”

Carter Cops Inaugural Heritage Award

This elegant evening, packed with cocktails, a delectable Bajan-inspired four-course dinner by chef Kirk Kirton, and sweet musical symphonies, climaxed with veteran Barbadian journalist, Gercine Carter being conferred with the inaugural Heritage Award - Exceptional National Coverage by a Local Journalist. In reading the citation, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, recognized Carter’s 49-year career in journalism, much of which has been spent raising awareness for the tourism sector. Carter, who was also the first public relations manager at the Hilton Barbados and has been writing a social column since 1987 for The Nation covering broad areas including her old love “tourism”.

p vacation r the British the winter months, and they will be adding this service also in November. Virgin Atlanctic has also announced that they will add additional service from Manchester and they will do that in April of 2017,” Griffith explained. From diversifying its tourism product from its ‘sun, sea, and sand’ niche to emerging niches like Voluntourism, Genealogy Tourism and Astro-Tourism, those responsible for managing the sector do not doubt international visitors will prefer Barbados as one of the choices in the Caribbean for their holidays. A big selling factor This island paradise in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles is also proud of two major feats, boasting that it is the culinary capital of the Caribbean and

the place where rum was produced. “From our fantastic world class restaurants right down to our street food and everything in between … we sell great food and that is the area we are definitely going to expand on because it’s one of the fastest growing area in tourism right now… I’m sure you know of Oistins; that is a greatest example of one of our biggest attractions in Barbados and it’s a community attraction and you can get food and observe cultures, listen to music and just interact with our Barbadian people.

It is probably the most popular activity on the island,” boasted Dr. Kerry Hall, CEO of the Barbados Tourism Product Authority. Words: Edona Jno Baptiste

Page 26


The Phoenix – October 2016

The sky’s the limit for young rising star F

by Daniel Riley

or the last two and a half years, a young girl from Dudley has been following her dream, soaring up the competitive ranks of the freestyle dance scene. Eleven-year-old Janaih Rattray started dancing after her mother, C a r o l e Johnson, was given a flyer inviting children to dance at a school called Touch Of Class, with the first ‘taster’ lesson being free. At the time, Janaih had just lost her Uncle, and both were unsure whether it was right to be doing something like this so soon after, but after a lot of discussion, they decided it was time. Although a shy girl by nature, Janaih quickly took to dancing during her first lesson at Russels Hall, which brought her to the attention of some of the staff there instantly. “A lady there called Hayley Massey came up to me after the lesson had finished,” explained mum Carole, “and she asked me about Janaih, how long she’d been dancing for, and told me in no uncertain terms ‘She could be really really good at this.’“. A bit taken aback by what she’d been told, Carole took the week to think about it all, and when it came around to the next lesson, Janaih couldn’t wait to go back, which Carole has supported wholeheartedly. “She absolutely loved it, and the rest is history

really!” Practicing one day a week, alongside her schoolwork, Janaih quickly got to grips with the ins and outs of freestyle dancing, and after only 12 weeks, Carole was taken aside once again, this time to suggest that Janaih was allowed to compete in competitions.

“ N o w there are children at the school, who Janaih quickly surpassed, who have been dancing for 4 or 5 years and were still classed as beginners” Carole continued, “so to be asked to compete so early on was a real shock!” So with extra help from the teacher at the time, Janiah went to her first ever competition, with no expectations on her. She won dancing the ‘Slow’. “I was so proud,” beamed Carole, “being so young and so new to dancing, I couldn’t believe it!” There are two types of freestyle dancing, as Janaih explained; “Fast is really quick and energetic, but Slow you take your time and be precise.” There are 5 levels, or tiers of ability in the freestyle dancing scene, going from Beginner, to Starter, Intermediate, then Champ and finally Premier Champion at the top of the girls group. All of these levels exist within each of the age groups, Under 4, U6, U8,

l Above and bottom left, Janaih in full flow during a competition l Below: Just some of the trophies that Janaih has won in just 2.5 years.

U10, U12, U14 To increase from one level to the next, each child has to lose 3 ‘lives’ by placing first or sometimes second place (depending on the number of dancers in the competition), 3 times at each level. From the first day stepping foot into a dance studio, Janaih climbed the ranks to reach Champ in just 6 months. “I love dancing to the freestyle music,” smiled Janaih “and I like doing the spot dances w h e r e I get to do the big flips!” Competitions take place all around the country, from the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool, to venues in Wales, Manchester, Birmingham, London and more, with the big one “The Worlds” being held annually. You have to qualify to go to The Worlds, and last year Janaih didn’t just make it to Worlds, she made it all the way to the Quarter Finals, pretty good for a dancer who despite recently becoming a Premier Champion still has a

lot to learn, even about the basics due to her meteoric rise. Emma Crystal Rose is now sponsoring Janaih, sponsoring the costumes for her solo performances in Fast, and she gets some absolutely amazing costumes. Touch of Class merged with Gemini Dance School in Redditch, so for the last 2 years, the pair travel to Redditch every week to practice, the kind of hard work and determination that they’d like to see more of from other young people, and especially their parents pushing them to stretch themselves and try more thing. “I’m extremely proud, looking back to where her journey started and to where she is now,” said Carole with a smiling glance over to her daugh-

ter, “She makes me smile every time we go to a comp, whether she makes the finals or not, she still smiles. It’s not always about winning, and she does know that.” “She’s just gone up to secondary school, but her primary school teachers told me that this girl came out of herself over the last year of primary school. She was quiet and hard working, but now the dancing is reflecting back into how she acts and interacts.” “I’d thoroughly recommend it to any young girls or boys, it’s a great experience with amazing people around you. Just give it a chance!” This is obviously just the beginning for the 11-year-old, but keep an eye on this little winner.

The Phoenix – October 2016

Poetry In Motion Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate comes to the end of her tenure


by Daniel Riley

oetry. It’s an area of English that many have tried, and failed to master during their school days, but for one Birmingham schoolgirl, it has become a passion that was rewarded with one of the highest honours over the last 2 years. Serena Arthur was only 11 years old, when at St Chad’s Primary School, a poem she wrote on the topic of ‘War Torn Countries’ was subsequently sent to and praised by her headteacher, before being published in the St Chad’s Cathedral Magazine. A few years later after entering, and winning, her first major competition, through a librarian at her local Library, Serena entered herself into the competition to become Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate. Although she made it through to the shortlist of 12 young people, unfortunately she only came second. “They said that my poem was the strongest in the competition, but they judge on the poem, the performance and the personal state-

ment,” explained Serena, “and as that was my first time ever on a stage I think that let it down.” The youngster, who hails from Jamaican and Barbadian heritage, was undeterred, and reapplied the very next year, this time, beating out all competition to become Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate, which she has now held for 2 years. As Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate, Serena has had a number of duties during her term, including visiting local schools and leading poetry workshops, commissioned pieces of poetry, and performances at events. “It’s been inspiring for me to go into schools and see the children become inspired and excited about poetry. Usually when they hear a poet is coming in they’re expecting someone much older than them that they can’t really relate to. “A lot of times the teachers have told me how coming into it they’d been dreading the poetry workshop, but after doing the session the children have all been inspired to write their own poetry.” “My first commission was in a deaf school

in Birmingham, so not only was it my first time in front of a class of children, but I had someone interpreting too. Serena has continued with her engagements, despite keeping up with her college studies, in which she gained an A*,an A and a B, giving her the opportunity to read English at Oxford University, where she will start at in October. “I’ve done an event for Holocaust Memorial Day, last February where I wrote a commissioned poem for that, and stand up on stage with a holocaust survivor that lives in Birmingham, hear her story and then share the poem that I’d written. “That was really hard knowing that she had actually lived through what I was writing about, and that I could never really understand it all.” To young budding poets, Serena had these words of wisdom; “There are not as many rules to poetry as there seems. It’s hard to teach something that is so free, when you learn it at school teachers will put certain rules in like it has to rhyme, or sound a certain way. “But when you’re actually writing poetry, it can be free verse or anything. Don’t restrict yourself to that. Writing your feeling and emotions into something that is short and succinct is an amazing way to start. “Poetry isn’t something old that people don’t connect to anymore, there is a lot of poetry that people can relate to easily, a lot of contemporary poets that anyone can connect to.” Now at the end of her term as Birmingham’s Young Poet Laureate, Serena is to pass the baton onto her successor at a ceremony as part of the literature festival. The articulate and confident young lady hopes to one day have her own poetry book, and her work has already been requested by the schools she has visited. With everything that Serena has done these last two years, her father Grantley Arthur is understandably proud. “I am extremely proud of her, I take her to all of her performances and just be there to encourage her,” he beamed, “It’s an enormous achievement as she didn’t go to a private school, she went to St Chads, an inner city school, and then on to Small Heath, again an inner city school. “She is loved wherever she performs and it just makes me so proud.” Despite passing on the baton, Serena’s work does not stop there; “Even though my role has finished, I’ll still be doing bookings and commissions for special occasions, especially during the holidays when I’m back from Oxford, and I’m performing at the London School of Economics at the end of the month.” It would seem that the world is Serena’s oyster and if she carries on with her life with the hard work and dedication that she is already showing, she will be a huge success in whatever she does.

Page 27


Afro Caribbean Entertainment Committee invites you to a

Black History Night of Celebration Food & Entertainment Open mic session

Finger buffet, Light Refreshment & Licensed bar

Music by resident DJ DRB

Dress to Impress

Traditional Costume African, Caribbean, Asian

5 £ 29th October 2016 Entry Start 7pm till late Telephone Ina on

07853 364 154

or Email :

West Bromwich African Caribbean Resource Centre Thomas Street, West Bromwich, B70 6LY

Page 28


The Phoenix – October 2016

Rupert Phillips – A Man for All Reasons

l Rupert with his wife Jenny (Pepsi Poet) and daughters Melsadie and Dionne


by Steve Williams

een at many a leading community events, public and political occasions, Rupert Phillips is seen by many as the ‘go to’ man to make sure all runs smoothly, correct and on time. A native of Jamaica, the socially approachable 72-year-old has rubbed shoulders with prime ministers representatives of Her Majesty the Queen and other leading lights of home and abroad as he stands steadfast as a man of principle, fortitude, pride and immense dignity. From his place of birth, in Westmoreland, through his early days living in the UK, in Oldbury, in the West Midlands, to today as a ‘son’ of Birmingham, he has often been

seen as the man ideal to advocate, at all levels, for whatever the occasion requires. Since arriving in Britain as a 17-year-old in 1962, he undertook a variety of factory-based jobs whilst in the early 1970s to eighties, also working voluntarily with the Sandwell West Indian and Afro Caribbean Association as adviser and committee member. “I’ve always worked since coming to the UK,” he says. “And whilst doing so, I was always looking to better myself.” With that, in the 1990s, he went on to work as a Building and Maintenance Supervisor, for Birmingham City Councils Probation Service, taking young people to and from court whilst advising them, where and when appropriate, and taking them on activities to open

l Rupert with his wife Jenny (Pepsi Poet) and Uncle Alvin Barrett

their minds; “I always found myself advising these young people. “In being a ‘people person’ would lead to my ’calling’ in what I do today.” A committed member of the Association of Jamaican Nationals (Birmingham) for the past 15 years, Phillips was a Deputy Welfare Officer; visiting fellow members who, through illness, death, or simply for company, needed someone to talk to – to advise them; “That was, and still is, enlightening and fulfilling,” he says. More recently, he’s better known as a chauffeur, driving dignitaries including Jamaican High Commissioners, past and present and other Ministers. During Birmingham City Council’s bid to host the Jamaican Track

and Field teams training camp in the city – pre London Olympics 2012 – it was he who chauffeured Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, Jamaican Minister of Sport, and bid coordinator, Beverley Lindsay OBE OD, Deputy Lieutenant of the West Midlands, around to the number of high-pressured meetings that would seal what was a successful period for all concerned. Married, to wife Jenny – with daughters Melsadie and Dionne, Rupert, who spent 5 years as a licensee for the now defunked Club Paradise, in the city, is enjoying his retirement whilst still being active with the AJN and being seen at a number of prominent events up and down the. He’s a man for all people – and a man for all reasons.

l Rupert Phillips

l Rupert receiving an award from Pamela Johnson, wife of His Excellency Anthony Johnson, High Commissioner of Jamaica and Beverly Lindsay OBE OD DL from the Association of Jamaica Nationals, Birmingham UK

The Phoenix – October 2016

Page 29




n order to mine for gold, greedy industrialist Bartholomew Bogue seizes control of the Old West town of Rose Creek. With their lives in jeopardy, Emma Cullen and other desperate residents of Rose Creek turn to bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) for help. Chisolm begins recruiting an eclectic group of gunslingers to help take on Bogue and his ruthless henchmen and bring peace to the town and it's people once more. However, with a deadly showdown on the horizon against an army that completely outnumbers them, the seven mercenaries and the residents of Rose Creek soon find themselves fighting for more than just their town. Antoine Fuqua, director of Training Day, Olympus Has Fallen, The Equalizer and Southpaw, returns to the big screen with his latest action-extravaganza, The Magnificent Seven - a remake-come-reimagining of John Sturges classic Western of the same name. Fuqua has proven himself time and time again when it comes to action, so it's no surprise that he absolutely nails The Magnificent Seven, delivering enormous, fastpaced set-pieces, some gorgeous scenery and a great cast. However, he also seems unsure of exactly what he's trying to deliver; a moody, violent Western

wORDS by antony brown

in the vein of Sergio Leone or a grand, adventurous Western of the John Ford variety and because of this, there are some tonal issues. On occasion, The Magnificent Seven switches from tongue-incheek humour to harrowing violence quicker than you can say "yee-haw!" and it can be a little jarring, but you’ll be having so much fun that the overall experience doesn't suffer too much because of it. The film opens with a lengthy introduction to the villain, Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard) and wastes no time in making you despise everything about him; which is helpful considering you don't see him again for a large portion of the movie while Denzel is rounding up his band of badasses. As for the ensemble itself, Fuqua managed to land quite an impressive cast. Alongside Washington, you have the likes of Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio and Bryan Hun-Lee, as well as a couple of relative newcomers in Manuel Garcia-Rulfo and Martin Sensmeier. Each character has their own distinct personality, but the screenplay limits them, forcing some to emerge as nothing more than two-dimensional caricatures. The closest The Magnificent Seven comes to well-defined characters is Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington) the mysterious bounty-hunter with a secret and

The Magnificent Seven Goodnight Robicheaux (Ethan Hawke) the legendary war-hero who plays up his status even though he suffers with PTSD. Chris Pratt also stands out as Josh Faraday, the cocky and highly inappropriate drunken-comedian of the group. All of the Seven are fun in their own way, but some just aren’t given as much time to shine as others, but The Magnificent Seven is definitely one of those movies where every member of the audience will have a different favourite character, which is always fun to discuss amongst friends. Once the action starts, it doesn’t stop and it is fast, furious and endlessly fun. It does however suffer from an eye-rolling sequence in which the good guys get the upper hand, so the bad-guys decide to bring out

EGX 2016 E

GX 2016 took place at Birmingham’s NEC from the 22nd to the 25th September, bringing with it a whole host of AAA and Indie titles, as well as a large selection of hardware, peripherals and merchandise. From the Cosplay Stage to tournaments in a wide variety of games across the 4 days, as well as celebrity meet & greets from Syndicate, The Yogscast and more, there was something for everyone, whether you’re a PC gamer, Console

Gamer or Mobile Gamer. One of the standout Indie titles at EGX this year was the bright and bubbly Mekazoo. Mekazoo is a love letter to the classic platformers of the 90s such as Sonic and Donkey Kong Country. It’s an insanely colourful, 2.5D puzzle platformer that gives the player control of 5 different mechanical animals (wisely named Mekanimals) as they bounce, spin and smash their way through a challenging set of madcap levels in single player and co-op.

a weapon that would have given them the upper hand from the very beginning, leaving you thinking “why the hell didn’t you use that earlier?” Having said that, this is a bigbudget action movie and there are certain criteria it must meet and you can’t blame them for including the tried and tested “we’ve won! Oh, wait…” moment. The final showdown between Rose Creek and Bartholomew Bogue and his men is exhilarating and Fuqua never loses his characters amidst the action, still pausing for smaller interactions between the group, which is admirable. In fact, that is something that would have elevated The Magnificent Seven to a higher level; smaller, character driven moments that give the audience and insight into the less defined characters and

The influences were clear from all the childhood platformers that we grew up on, and the game, having been in development for 4 years, feels polished and handles very well. EGX is the biggest games event of its kind in the UK, and attracts massive crowds on all days. With world ex-

what makes them tick. But, as it stands, it is still a solid piece of entertainment. John Sturges The Magnificent Seven (1960) is very much a product of it's time and tells the story of a group of white men who unite to save a poor, immigrant village from annihilation. The world back in 1960 was a very different place to the world we live in now, as modern society is comprised of a plethora of races and religions living together in harmony...for the most part, anyway; and that's the best thing about this remake. Antoine Fuqua's The Magnificent Seven is also a product of it's time - it's big, it's loud, it's fun and it features a group of people of all colours and creeds coming together to stand as one. There's the African-American

clusive first plays of Dishonoured and UK exclusive of Call of Duty, lines of 2 hours plus were not uncommon! EGX has been and gone for another year, but if you’re looking for some more gaming action, EGX Rezzed takes place next March in London at the Tobacco Dock. Get your tickets now!

leader, a couple of white guys, a Mexican, a Korean and a Native American, all of whom set aside their petty differences for the greater good. Make no mistake, this is a big, entertaining $110 million blockbuster, but if you look beneath the surface, it’s a blockbuster that's saying a lot more than originally meets the eye and you have to respect that. Ultimately, The Magnificent Seven is an endlessly entertaining romp that suffers from some pacing issues and a large group of interesting characters who aren't given enough time to shine, but it's good old-fashioned fun about a ragtag group of likeable, unlikely heroes doing heroic things and having a blast while doing it. It's one hell of a ride, so saddle up and enjoy it.

Page 30


The Phoenix – October 2016


and chill


he Fifth of September was an every important date to me as it was the day I started

college. I was worried, thinking what’s college going to be like? Will it be as bad as secondary school? Or will it be worse? But no, thankfully it is way better than school. With college there is more freedom than school; my college has a games room to relax in after lessons, and they also have a cinema room where we can watch films that have been released this year and so many more facilities. The teachers actually treat you like adults, not like little kids and the atmosphere is just better than school. I am studying a Business BTEC Level 2 Enterprise and Entrepreneur. The course is about how to

make your own business one day and how to manage a business. I am learning a lot about business because when I am older I would like to own my very own night club, and this course will one day help me to get to where I want to be. I also have to resit my Maths and English as well because I was unlucky and did not pass the first time. I was 1 to 2 marks of a C in English and 4 marks of a C in Maths. I think this was unlucky on my part but life goes on. I have to do them again later on in the year and hopefully I will pass, then I will be able to move on to do a level 3 business betc course from next year onwards.


irmingham Repertory Theatre will play host to ‘One Love: The Bob Marley Musical’, a new musical focusing on the defining period of Marley’s life and carrer in the 1970’s. Set to premiere at the REP in March 2017, the musical tells the story of the man propelled from rising reggae start to global icon, bringing his inspirational catalogue of music to the stage for the first time. Before he is able to help unite Jamaica, Marley must find his own peace first. “On behalf of the Marley family I am thrilled that

our father’s story is going to be brought to the stage with this production,” explained Cedella Marley “Birmingham is a natural place for its UK premiere. With its great mix of cultures, it’s a city where my father performed to audiences that were captivated by his presence, and we have no doubt that telling the story through music to a new generation in Birmingham will be part of his continuing legacy." After a period of self-imposed exile to London, following an assassination attempt in Jamaica, Marley returned to his homeland to perform

the One Love Peace Concert. During the performance, at the insistence of Marley, the leaders of the two opposing political parties came on stage, where he joined their hands in symbolic unity, resulting in a profound and transformative moment in the history of this country’s difficult political journey. One Love: The Bob Marley Musical is presented with approval of and in co-operation with the Marley family and Tuff Gong Pictures L.P. and has been developed with the support of Blue Mountain Music.

Start the Festive Fun!


oin in the fun for the 21st year at the fabulous Festive Gift Fair! The biggest and best Christmas shopping Fair returns to the NEC for four days from 10-13 November. The run up to Christmas Day involves a lot of planning and the hardest and often most time consuming part is buying the presents, so get it all done in one day at the Festive Gift Fair and make it FUN! Christmas starts here with plenty of choice, unique gifts, and a fun and easy shopping day out. For their 21st year they have a whole

new line-up of fantastic live music to entertain you through the day. So easy to visit, all in one hall, all on one level and there’s even a courtesy shuttle service to and from Birmingham International station. When your bags are full, you can drop them off at the Present Creche and continue to shop, stop for a bite to eat and enjoy all the great entertainment. There are 350 stalls overflowing with fabulous decorations for the home and present ideas for all – from babies to teenagers, parents to grandparents, for Him, for Her and even the pets!

5490 OE FGF16 DL Leaflet_AW.pdf




COMPETITION We have teamed up with the Festive Gift Fair to give 10 lucky readers a pair of tickets to attend this year! All you have to do is answer this simple question: How many days is the Festive Gift Fair at the NEC this year?

a) 1 b) 4 c) 8 Just email your answer, with your name, address and contact number to with the subject “Festive Gift Fair Competition”. Competition closes at 23.59 on 31st October 2016. There is no cash alternative.

Brimming with

unusual g

The Phoenix – October 2016


y a D g n Weddi uke & Jenny T


he joyous sound of praise and worship rang loud and long in the ears of many, as through the day and evening, friends and family of Dr Luke Jonathan Brown and Jennifer Anne Comery gathered in two of the most prominent landmarks in the second city to celebrate their wedding day. With Andy Gordon and Oasis Church Birmingham providing worship for the assembled congregation at St Philip’s Cathedral, everyone was on top form as they prayed and sang for the soon to be Mr and Mrs Brown. Reverend Canon Nigel Hand led the celebration, guiding the bride, groom and congregation through the service with his own inimitable style. Adrian Hurst gave the happy couple a few wise words of advice during his sermon, and with a solo performance by Debs Lawes and the worship band during the signing of the register, the service was almost complete. As the happy couple walked back down the aisle, drinks and canapes were served to all, before toasting the newlyweds who then posed for photos with their families and wedding party. Despite the weather not staying as dry as it could have, everybody filed outside for the confetti throw as the couple made their way to a family dinner with their nearest and dearest. But that wasn’t all she wrote, evening festivities moved everyone to the Banqueting Suite at Birmingham’s Council House, where a Caribbean style buffet dinner was served, with music, cakes,

dancing and laughter whiling away the time until the early hours. “The actual day was amazing, and exceeded all our expectations and dreams,” said Luke & Jen, “We were both overwhelmed with all the love we received from the over 300 guests who attended – we felt extremely blessed and lucky to share in such an occasions with so many of our dearests. “We were both born and raised in Birmingham, and have grown in our relationship in the city that we have come to love as our home. “This day, was by far, the highest point in our relationship, and it was a real honour to share in so many happy memories with all who attended. “We would like to give a special thanks to our parents, family and friends for all their support in the preparations leading up to our wedding day - we could not have done it without them! “We would like to thank the Reverend-Canon Nigel Hand and the whole team from St Philip’s Cathedral for hosting our wedding ceremony. “The venue was stunning and all the guests commented on how great the service was. We would also like to thank Adrian Hurst and the worship band from Oasis Church Birmingham, for delivering the wedding message and leading us in songs. “Finally, we would like to thank Irene Allen from OPUS restaurant and Sam Forth from the Council House for hosting our wedding breakfast and evening reception.”

Page 31


Page 32


Dr John Anthony Roberts CBE QC DCL LLD FCI Arb


or Black History Month I would like to introduce you to Dr John Anthony Roberts CBE QC DCL LLD FCI Arb an amazing man who sadly passed away on 26th June 2016 aged 88 years young. I am glad that I got to know Dr. Roberts, someone who made his mark in this world and left a legacy of hope. Be prepared to read about someone who really made the most out of life! Dr John Anthony Roberts QC was born in Sierra Leone on 17th May 1928. A man with great family history, his great grandfather Joseph Jenkins Roberts was born a free man on March 15th 1809 in Norfolk Virginia, USA. His grandfather immigrated to Liberia in 1829 and later became the first President of Liberia. Many of you may never have heard of Dr John Anthony Roberts QC, so read on and learn just a little about this humble man who had earned so much power and respect from people of all races from all over the world. Dr John Anthony Roberts was fascinated by aeroplanes, having

Welcome to ‘Camara features’ a new column where I will be spotlighting some of the most amazing charities, organisations and people I have had the privilege of working with. Be a part of my journey and learn and enjoy about being inspired. seen members of the Royal Air Force in Sierra Leone during the Second World War. He came to the UK in 1952 to join the RAF where he first qualified as an accountant. Later, he was selected for aircrew duties. Dr John Anthony Roberts remained in the RAF until 1962, serving in Europe, the Near East, the Far East and the South Pacific and many other places. He was invited by the then Prime Minister of Sierra Leone, to work in the Sierra Leone Civil Aviation Service where he worked in the Air Traffic Control Services Department between 1962 and 1964. Dr Roberts returned to England in 1964 with his wife, Jamaican born Eulette and their son Tony, who was born in Sierra Leone. Dr John Anthony Roberts and Eulette were married in 1961. He worked as Civil Servant in the UK between 1964 and 1969 and in 1966, he started to read law. His love of helping people was always at the forefront of his mind. He read law part-time at the Inns of Court School of Law whilst working and was called to the Bar (Gray’s Inn) in 1969. Three years later, he became

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The Phoenix – October 2016

1990. Whilst doing this, he was a tutor at the Inns of Court School of Law in London till 1992. A former President of the British West Indian Ex-Servicemen and Ex-Service Women’s Association and former joint President of the British Caribbean Association, UK. Whilst tutoring in London, he was made an Honorary Citizen of Atlanta Georgia, USA. Also becoming a Freeman of the City of London in 1996 and in the same year awarded an Honorary Doctorate at City University. In 1998, aged 70, Dr John Anthony Roberts retired from the Bench as a Recorder, as is the requirement and in 2000 he was made an Honorary Citizen of the British Virgin Islands. Dr Roberts was 88 in May this year and recently retired from private practice. He was a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and sat as an arbitrator and remained a door tenant at Warwick Court Chambers. Dr Roberts was a keen pianist, organist, guitarist, choir singer and a firm believer that, “you are never too old to learn”. He loved reading, music and a Member of Lincoln’s Inn and then in 1996 became a Master of the Bench in 1996. However, it was in 1970 he helped set up Chambers at 9 Stone Buildings, Lincoln’s Inn. Five years later, he left 9 Stone Buildings to set up his own Chambers at 2 Stone Buildings. He ensured that his set of Chambers was fully representative mixed with diverse Asian, White, African and Caribbean members. He left 2 Stone Buildings in 1992 when he became a High Court Judge in The Supreme Courts of the British Virgin Islands, and Anguilla, both British West Indies Dependent Territories. He tried many high profile cases, including homicide. It was in 1983 that he became an Assistant Recorder (a parttime judge of the Crown Court) and became a Recorder in 1987. A year later, Dr John Anthony Roberts became the first person of African ancestry to be appointed a Queen’s Counsel at the English Bar. Apart from the English Bar, Dr John Anthony Roberts has also been called to the Bars of 10 other countries: Jamaica, Sierra Leone, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahamas, St Kitts & Nevis, An-

tigua, Barbados, Bermuda, Anguilla and Grenada. It is said that this may well be a record, as well as being the first Head of Chambers to have accepted seven female barristers at one time (which was a record in that era) in 1975. Dr Roberts was made a Bencher of the Council of Legal Education in Sierra Leone in

dancing and was a member of the Guild of Freemen, a former boxer and sprinter in the RAF who enjoyed flying light aircraft. Dr Roberts Q.C formally became a 3rd Patron in June 2007 to Descendants, a group founded by Margaret Noel in 1993 with a motto of, “Education is our right. We strive for excellence. We are talented, ambitious and gifted young people. We aim for the sky. With your support and help we will achieve our full potential.” I hold this man with great regard and I could not think of a better role model for us all to learn from and what better Patron could you have hoped to have had for such a worthy cause. He was without a doubt a truly remarkable man and hero to many that cared deeply about children being educated. I will miss him in his earthly form but he has left a legacy behind that has and will be inspirational to many today and for all the years to come. His love for his wife and family and his zeal for life was abundantly obvious. We thank his wonderful wife Eulette, son Tony, grandchildren Lauren and James and great granddaughter Amelia. Who shared this incredibly special man with us, allowing us to know just a little part of his special life. R.I.P. Dr John Anthony Roberts of Pinner CBE QC DCL LLD FCI Arb May 17 1928 - June 26 2016

Get in Touch with Camara

Camara (aka mizzcamara for websearch)

0121 339 5885 or 0208 865 1922

The Phoenix – October 2016

Page 33


‘Divine’ inspiration from poet, Dave


l Dave Wilkes

ntrepreneur, Dave Wilkes, has been touring the country with his Just Divine poems, creative a unique personalised gifts for any occasions, and its popularity is testimony to his ‘journey.’ Wolverhampton native, Dave, has been into business from a very early age when, at eight, he helped his uncle, Errol, to sell cassettes to family and friends - before he put Dave forward to sell quality pine furniture to a wider, general public. Whilst at St. Peters Secondary School, things really took shape. “I had a fantastic time there,” he recalled. “My parents always talked about ‘focus’ saying; ‘education, education, education’ was the key to success. “Although I wasn’t always top of the class, it formed a major switch in my life. My brother, Maurice, a former soldier, was another who was integral in my growth – as a brother and a man. “My mindset now was ‘work, work, work,’ as I knew there was something in this Dave Wilkes.” Leaving education, he did a YTS scheme at B&Q where he always went above and beyond, getting him a permanent position at the store. He was soon to become one of its faces in a nationwide advertising campaign on TV. In general, though, he did feel he got very little recognition for his, so, as part of his ‘creative journey,’ he looked for something different - a new direction. He was back selling slush machines to bars, food outlets and shops before his life took another turn.

Sponsored By

l Dave Wilkes with Big Ron back in his Limo days During a night out with friends, he recalls; “We saw a limousine, which made me say ‘I want one of those.’ I was like a dog with a bone but, with support from my dad, Fred, I did get one.” He continued; “I remember, after some cajoling, my father stood as a guarantor, which, at first, he said; ‘Guaran what?’ “After 15 re-reads, he signed as guarantor and I bought my first limo, a stretch Lincoln which saw me take in people going to airports, parties, proms, etc. All I always wanted to do is make my parents proud.” In six years, the biggest l ‘name’ he had in his limo was the late Sir Henry Cooper; “No one has your passion,” he told a beaming Wilkes, who glowingly recalled; “Sir Henry was fantastic. I took him to Dudley on a speaking tour and he was just amazing. He was like a true friend to me.” A saturated market saw Dave pull the plug on his business

l Dave Wilkes with Apache Indian and the copy of Street Cred he was first featured in, 18 years ago.

Dave Wilkes with Nicholas Bailey

and he went back into slush machines - until that business came to an end. He went on to sell American-inspired body-wraps, a concept ideal for losing weight before where he is now. It was then when he found his true ‘calling’ and Just Divine bespoke individually framed poems, inspired by daughter, Jaydei and step-son Liam. With a handful of key personal words, Wilkes will make the ideal gift for individual, friends, families and businesses - big or small. He’s already worked with the likes of Premier League side, West Bromwich Albion, with American Airlines hopefully soon to come. Just Divine provides a fun and very therapeutic way to say ‘Thank You,’ creating a permanent and unique reminder for ever more. In 2016, Dave Wilkes is looking to write his first book – on inspirational poems - with ‘focus,’ which has always been his narrative, being likewise here.

Page 34

The Phoenix – October 2016


Leadership Excellence

with Dr Neslyn Watson-Druée CBE FRCN FCGI


n my last column I explored leadership excellence through the lens of empowering communication. In this month’s column communication is followed up from the perspective of staff engagement. In this column May 2016 the focus was on integrity. I will go one step further to link staff engagement with integrity, communication and trust. People desire transparency, openness and honesty from their leaders. The issue of trust can make or break your organisation. A survey by The American Psychological Association shows that one in four workers say that they not trust their employer, and only about half believe that their employer is open and honest with them. What might be the result if the culture within your organisation is full of fear, stress and confusion? What might you do to move your organisation from a culture of fear to a culture of trust? “To win in the marketplace you mist first win in the workplace” - Doug Conant, CEO of Campbell’s Soup Invest some of your time to think about the following questions: • Is your staff engaged? • Is the productivity within your organisation low? • To what extent is there recognition, planning and prioritisation of communication in

Employee Engagement relation to the contribution of your staff? • Are you expressing your recognition of your staff’s valuable contribution? • Are you aware of the needs of your employees? • How much do your staff know about what is important to you? • Do you know what is important to individual staff members and teams? • Are you building a solid foundation from where staff engagement can thrive?

formed. From a psychological point of view it can be argued that disengaged staff are more likely to leave your organisation. Staff replacement can be costly, so take staff engagement seriously. Periodically, from your leadership perspective, ask yourself: Am I likely to enable the full potential of my staff without effective engagement?

your staff do not feel engaged, talk to individuals, ask for ideas. o Explore what is working well? o What is not working? o What needs to change? o What support and what resources are needed? Understand why people feel the way they do. Become aware of the bottom-line and know that

Why is staff engagement important?

Engagement is directly related to trust. One of the most insightful ways to assess the engagement of your staff is to carry out a staff engagement survey at least once per year and take action on the results. It is important that you as a leader give even more attention to staff engagement. Gallup’s extensive research show that staff engagement is strongly connected to business outcomes that are essential to your organisation’s financial success, such as productivity, profitability and customer engagement. Engaged staff drive the innovation, growth and revenue that is needed by your organisation. Staff engagement starts at the top of the organisation, where the culture of the organisation is

The first step in accomplishing connection is to demonstrate that you really care. “No one cares until someone cares; be that one!” - Ken Poirot

3. Invest in a staff engagement programme

Business profitability and productivity is contingent on staff engagement. A happy member of staff will put in the extra effort and stay with your organisation during the testing times and during the highs and lows.

4. Pay attention to how you speak with people

Are you using words and metaphors that resonate with what your staff care about? Are there shared values?

5. Enable staff to play to their strengths

So how do you take staff engagement to the next level?

Here follows seven action points:

1. Get to know the reality

Find out how engaged is your staff by a staff engagement survey. If the survey shows that

engagement = happiness = productivity.

2. Make connection a priority

In your leadership, when you fail to truly connect with the people you lead, you are likely to create a workforce that only comes to work for the pay.

Gallup research shows us that a key engagement driver is the ability for individuals to play to their strengths every day. Within your role as a leader, a sure way to enable staff to play to their strengths, is to allow staff members the opportunity to define one of their strengths to which they are not playing and enable staff members with the freedom to play to that strength within their role and day to day functions. You may even take this further and track and celebrate staff members’ success.

6. Discuss the goals of your staff with them

It is all too easy to get focused on sales and bottom line that you may tend to forget that each person has a different reason for doing what they do. Meet with your staff and find out what they are working towards – what are their goals?

What is their purpose for being in your organisation? What is driving them – sending a child to college? Paying off the mortgage? What is their why? Help your staff to define their purpose and become a driving force to help them to succeed.

7. Lead a culture with clear purpose

A lack of engagement stems from lack of connection to identity -(organisational and cultural) – as well as purpose. It is important for you as a leader to create a culture where your staff feel the reward of contributing to your organisation. I have found that when there is a predominant lack of engagement within an organisation, there is often a lack of clarity on the purpose of the organisation. How are you articulating the purpose of your organisation? Is everyone aligned with that purpose? Is that purpose inherent in the strategic objectives of the organisation? On other words a compass in the business? Engage with your staff – A collective consciousness is very important to your business and it can truly make the difference to how your business functions. Remember this take away quote “A group of people get together and exist as an institution we call a company so they are able to accomplish something collectively that they could not accomplish separately – they make contribution to society, a phrase which sounds trite but is fundamental.” - David Packard, Co-founder of Hewlett-Packard

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The Phoenix – October 2016

Page 35


Recognition for Inspiration


onday 26th September saw the crème de la crème of business come together at the prestigious Park Regis on Broad Street to celebrate the launch of the signature awards. The glitzy black tie event is now a staple of the West Midlands awards scene and is set to take place next February, on the 10th at the Edgbaston Cricket Ground. Held at the Rofuto restaurant, high above the streets of Birmingham on the 16th floor of the Park Regis tower, the crowd gathered to hear creator and founder Ninder Johal and sponsors of the event talk about their vision and drive behind what is one of the premier events in the calendar. The awards will comprise of a black tie event commencing with a drinks reception followed by a three course meal, a keynote speech by a leading practitioner and superb entertainment attracting movers and shakers from the professions from both the

West and East Midlands. The Dinner which will be held at Edgbaston Stadium will be attended by 500 of the who’s who of the professional sector. The awards will be restricted to those involved in the wealth creation process and with a link to servicing the business community. The awards will be limited to banking, law, accountancy and those involved in with land, architecture and property development. “We are now entering a turbulent marketplace, where we may have a combined authority, we have uncertainty at an unparalleled level,” Ninder explained, “But where does that leave you? You are the present and the future, and if we don’t recognise the achievements in you, the next generation won’t be inspired.” Nominations are now open, and tables can be booked ongoing, make sure to book early to avoid disappointment, last year sold out weeks before the event.

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ublic Health England said that, by 2035, one person in every ten, in the West Midlands, is expected to have diabetes. According to startling new research, 9.4 per cent of the West Midlands region aged 16 or over already had diabetes in 2015. Based on current trends, 538,000 people are expected to have either type one or type two of the disease. Across England, more people than ever before are suffering. Diabetes can lead to serious complications including foot amputation and kidney disease, and is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, currently costs the NHS £8.8 billion each year and accounts for 90 per cent of all cases. Peter Shorrick, head of the Midlands for charity Diabetes UK, said: "These new estimates clearly show the scale of diabetes in the West Midlands and the huge impact on people living with the condition. Too often, they only find out they have type two diabetes after they have developed serious complications, such as heart or kidney disease, or foot problems which can lead to amputations. Avoiding or delaying such dev-

The Phoenix – October 2016

One in 10 suffering with diabetes by 2035 New biomarkers could improve understanding of sickle cell disease

R astating complications depends on people getting diagnosed earlier so they get help and support to manage their condition well." Public Health England launched a prevention programme in con-

junction with NHS England and Diabetes UK earlier this year. The programme is aimed at helping those at high risk of developing type two diabetes to reduce their risk.

Birmingham, Dudley, Herefordshire and Worcestershire are four of the first areas in the country to start offering the service.

esearchers have established new biomarkers that could help improve the understanding of sickle cell disease treatments by separating cells in blood samples from patients with the disease to isolate cells of different densities. Results from the research programme shows that hydroxyurea, an FDA-approved drug, improved the biophysical markers across all densities as red blood cells in people with the disease have an abnormal type of hemoglobin that causes the cells to become sickle shaped when they lose oxygen. The least dense cells were discshaped and most like normal red blood cells and when the sickled blood cells return to areas of the

body with more oxygen, most of them regain their original shape, while accumulating damages after each sickling cycle. As the cells circulate through the body repeatedly, they gradually become more dense and some of them become irreversibly sickled. Sickle-cell disease (SCD), most common in Africans and African-Americans, as well as other ethnic and racial groups, including people from South and Central America, the Caribbean, Mediterranean countries, and India, is a group of genetically passed down blood disorders. The most common type is known as sickle-cell anaemia (SCA). It results in an abnormality in the oxygen-carrying protein haemoglobin found in red blood cells.

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CEO of NHS England backs charity vision for hospice care for all


hospice in Birmingham has launched an innovative programme of service redesign in an attempt to reach more individuals, families, carers and loved ones than ever before. The four year strategy - ‘Hospice Care for All’ was launched by Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice in London. Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens applauded the hospice on their fantastic work so far while backing the strategy, which looks to expand the provision of end of life care in peoples homes and community locations, Speaking at the launch the Birmingham born CEO said: “This will not only be of enormous benefit

for the people of Birmingham and the wider West Midlands, it will also set a clear route map that other hospices across this country can take.” In attendance was also Hospice UK Chairman, the Rt Hon Lord Michael Howard who supported the new strategy; “We are absolutely determined to extend the reach and to make hospice care available to everyone who can benefit from it.” At the launch event hosted by the Rt Hon Lord Philip Hunt of Kings Heath OBE, staff, trustees and supporters at the hospice also shared their vision and plans of a future where the best experience of living is available to everyone leading up to and at the end of life.

Tina Swani, Chief Executive of Birmingham St Mary’s Hospice, said: “It has been a great launch event of our new strategy to such a prestigious audience. “Our Satellite Clinics bring us closer to our communities and enable us to reach as many people as possible.We believe this approach can make a significant difference to not only the Birmingham community but beyond.” Two, 24 month pilot Satellite Clinics have already been launched in Sparkbrook and Bartley Green in different locations such as GP/Health Centres offering easier access to their services closer to the communities where individuals live. A further three Satellite Clinics have been planned to open in the near future however the Hospice will need to raise an additional £2 million to make this a reality. The Selly Park based Hospice provides free care and support to over 1,200 patients per year across Birmingham and Sandwell but estimate that this is only 50% of the individuals that are reached.

0121 339 5885 or 0208 865 1922

The Phoenix – October 2016

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Support Column

Did you know? Cervical Smears


by Neelam Heera

o you’ve hit the age of 25, you’re about to receive the most important letter of your life. No you’re not going to be joining Harry and the gang at Hogwarts – but you will be invited to your first smear test. So here are couple of facts and points to bear in mind. • A smear test is also known as a cervical screening. • Each year approximately five million women in the UK are invited for cervical screening. • Cervical screening is free. • If you are feeling anxious beforehand, you can ask a member of your family or friend to go with you. Your nurse or GP will be happy to talk through any issues that you have prior to your appointment Cervical screening is NOT a test to find cancer. It’s a precaution to detect any changes to the cells in the cervix. Between 90 and 94% of all screening results come back normal – YEY! For those who have an abnormal screening result, it is important to remember thi doesn’t always mean its cancer. But is important that you speak to the GP straight away. Don’t think of the screening as a one of, going regularly offers the best protection against developing cervical cancer in the future.

Please take up your invitation to attend your cervical screening test; regular screening saves lives. A few points to remember before going for your screening: • Do not have sexual intercourse 24 hours before your screening. Sorry! But sperm, spermicidal gel and lubricants may make it difficult to get a good sample of cells from the cervix and you may be asked to attend again. • If you have any antibiotics to treat any vaginal infection then postpone your screening for at least a week after the treatment has finished • Going through your menopause? If you use oestrogen creams, do not apply it on the day of your screening or the two days beforehand • Do not douche or use a tampon for at least two days before your screening – again it will make it difficult to get a good sample of the cells. • Speculums come in different sizes so you can ask for a smaller size if you are uncomfortable – HALLELUJAH! • The more relaxed you are, the less discomfort you will feel – the muscles will natural relax making the insertion more bearable. • You don’t have to go to the GP to have your smear test done – you can always go to the sexual health clinic.

Nurses go the extra 13 miles for CDU patients A

l L-R Half Marathon runners Katrina Coleman, Steph Oakley, Georgina Roberts, Hannah Laugher and Cait Nee team of nurses from Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham’s (QEHB) Clinical Decisions Unit will hit the streets of the Second City when they take on the Morrisons Great Birmingham Run for their patients. The annual half marathon is a 13.1 mile foot race taking place in October in Birmingham City Centre. Nurses Cait Nee, Sarah Ince, Hannah Laugher, Katrina Coleman and Steph Oakley, along with OPAL Team Leader Natalie Morton, and Healthcare Assistants Georgina Roberts and David Morey, decided to run to raise funds for their ward through QEHB Charity. This year, all QEHB Charity

runners in the Great Birmingham Run have the option to compete for one of three subteams: Team Doctor, Team Nurse, or Team Patient. The staff from CDU have decided to run for Team Nurse. QEHB Charity allows fundraisers to donate to any ward, department or area of expertise throughout the hospital, meaning the funds generated by the generous team will all go to their ward, to be spent on games and activities for use by patients. “Our unit is a busy one, and it can be a stressful and uncertain time for patients and their families.” explained Cait, “We want to

raise money for some little extras that will help make their time with us as positive as it can be. “We’re all looking forward to the big day and running for Team Nurse – and hopefully raising some money for our patients! We want our patients to have the best care possible on CDU and I think part of that is providing a

more relaxed environment where they can focus on something other than the fact they’re in hospital.” Hannah, whose paramedic boyfriend Michael will join the team on the day, added: “We’ve been mostly training separately, although we’re all going for a run in the park at the weekend. “I haven’t done a half marathon before so it’ll be a challenge but definitely worth it. Please consider sponsoring us if you can!” To support the Clinical Decisions Unit at QEHB, please go to

TUESDAYS Birmingham The BCA Jenkins Street Small Heath 7.30pm Contact Rose 07482300587

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ber th Octo Date: 9 all hbury H ig H : n Locatio 15:00 1:00 1 : e im T ission ee adm Cost: Fr



oet, writer and motivational speaker, Janette Zehariyah Murdock, passed away, in her home-based town, Birmingham. A powerful wordsmith, she performed at various events including birthdays, anniversaries, historical, funerals, as well as poetry and spiritual events and by family, friends and legions of fans, she is sadly, sadly missed.

Nobel Peace Prize winner, Perez, dies at 93

Kevin Dunkley


man of our community with courage strength and determination There are many shallow people that complain about their life at the smallest things that get thrown at them and then you have strong people that really suffer with illnesses and don’t complain at all and live with faith. One amazing and charismatic man and friend of mine by the name of Kevin Dunkley born in raised in Birmingham sadly passed away from the deadly disease sickle cell. Although going through most of his life in pain this man always was about the community and raising awareness for the disease. Constantly starting projects and working at an unbelievable capacity. I want to take my time to thank Kevin Dunkley my close family friend who always showed courage and gave words of inspiration to myself and many others. This is a sad loss that really touched my heart and I am sure others who knew this Christian brother will feel the same way also. My condolences to the Dunkley family.


ormer Israeli President and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shimon Peres died in Tel Aviv after suffering from a stroke, according to his family. He was the ninth President of Israel and twice served as a prime minister of Israel. Said to be the voice of reason that also happened to have the sensibility of a poet, the Polish-born statesman was one of the country's last surviving founding fathers and convinced campaigner for Middle East peace with the Palestinians who wanted to share the Nobel Prize. Remained energetic until the final days of his seven decades in public life, Shimon was 93.

This gentleman lost his life in Saudi Arabia 2016 Hajj. He had no ID, so no one knows who he is.

Family craft activity: Wax and Ink Portraits

on Hall’s Take inspiration from Ast and ion lect col s ting historic pain ate bold and become artists as you cre wax and ink. colourful portraits using n 11am - 3pm.

26 Oct - Drop-in betwee

you’ve paid £1.00 per child or free if must be to visit the Hall, children accompanied.


new children’s literature project backed by Birmingham Airport working with local author and businesswoman Alison Delaney aims to empower children across the world. The idea is to help children expand their imagination to reach their t Helps Children’s full potential through Birmingham Airpor ke Flight Ta ct s. Dreams Workshop Literature Proje r ry ma Pri ood ksw Yor ingham Airport, a furthe Delaney and beautifully ks will be donated boo 474 School in Kingshurts, a ry, Per art Stu illustrated by by Alison to children in school close to the airport has been designed to r ITY UN the of t par another school in anothe and a foundation for till ins to reis tive aim ora The country. Trust Collab s k self-belief, confidence then twin the two school ceived a copy of the boo in young nce ilie res and con bal ce. glo our ng res agi key our a enc as children. “Little Chick Has Lunch nectivity and knowledge to the 474 n itio add In ich wh sharing. On The Moon”, mbooks funded by Bir was penned by Alison

MVISA 2016 This year Birmingham celebrates 10 years of the Movie Video & Screen Awards

Emmerdale actress Fiona Wade who ng plays Priya Sharma in the long runni TV soap, will be hosting alongside her d former co-star Wil Johnson who playe Dom Andrews in the series.

Barbados Independence Anniversary Gala October 29 - Savoy Hotel, London Barbados 50th Anniversary of Independence Gala and Awards Banquet, with special guests, High Commissioner Guy Hewitt, The Rt

Hon Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados and the Rt Excellence Sir Garfield Sobers, National Hero of Barbados.

29th October 2016

tival ture Fes a r e it L al on 8 ingham


stiv ature Fe t m’s Liter .45pm! The even a a h g in m h it w Join Bir at 1.30pm – 2 s r r visito October of admission fo purchase your d e n e a fr t e u b o will miss s! Don’t kets today! Europas c ti ically two crit together any and Italy, s g in r b rm nt This eve writers from Ge ani. The event ar d acclaime zel and Diego M critic, journalist it , Frank W aired by literary uropean writing E h c f t o e r b n fu l k io il w amp Fran n rted by ound ch and all-r zard and suppo e-Institut Londo e 0 th L 5 e o m a G h Nick e g th rt Birmin rm and LiteraTu t of the Frankfu on. r ti a a r p b is le e and years c

op, Big Little Sh

Dr Nkem Ezeilo



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0121 339 5885


ealth campaigner and Uncelebrated Nigerians Awards UK organising committee general secretary Dr Nkem Ezeilo MRCGP, MCFP, Dip. Perf Coaching passed away recently after finally succumbing to a lengthy battle against cancer. Highly respected as a healthy lifestyle campaigner, public speaker, author and community activist, she was a general practitioner with an office on Harley Street. University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) graduate, Dr Ezeilo - dubbed the "drug-free family doctor" for her proven results in treating chronic conditions with healthy lifestyle changes - finishing her medical studies at the University of Papua New Guinea before establishing herself as one of the leading bloggers and public speakers on health issues in the Nigerian Diaspora in UK. She was 43.

The Phoenix – October 2016

Terry Wogan


star-studded memorial service took place at Westminster Abbey, to remember broadcasting legend, Sir Terry Wogan, with the Queen being represented by her lady-in-waiting, Lady Susan Hussey. Chris Evans, who took over from Sir Terry on the breakfast show, paid an emotional tribute simply saying; "Terry Wogan wasn't the best – he is the best, and he will always be the best." Wogan passed away in January. He was 77.

Mike Towell


cottish boxer Mike Towell has died in hospital after being seriously injured in a bout. Towell died “peacefully” shortly after 23:00 BST on Friday, 12 hours after he was taken off life support. He was 25.

The Phoenix – October 2016

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atar Airways has once again been recognised as one of the leading airlines in the world in the recent Condé Nast Traveller ‘Readers Travel Awards’ held in London, United Kingdom. The airline was awarded the coveted ‘Best for Business’ accolade with readers highlighting Qatar Airways’ industry leading on-board experience and premium lounges. Through its network of more than 150 destinations around the globe, Qatar Airways is able to seamlessly connect leisure and business passengers with minimal transfer times in the Middle East, while providing an on-board level of comfort for which it is renowned the world over, inclusive of onboard Wi-Fi, a flexible dineon-demand service in Business Class and the travel advantages bestowed upon it as part of the world’s largest global airline alliance, oneworld. Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “We are honoured to be recognised as the ‘Best for Business’ by the readers of Condé Nast Traveller.

Qatar Airways Voted ‘Best For Business’

“Such an accolade is a direct reflection of our passengers’ satisfaction in the service we provide and we remain committed to providing the very best experience to our guests throughout their journey. “Qatar Airways continues to set the industry standard in airline travel with our modern fleet and extensive business and leisure destinations via Hamad International Airport, Doha.” Contributing to the overall Business Class passenger experience, Qatar Airways has in recent years introduced a number of enhancements, including the opening of the world’s largest Business Class lounge, Al Mourjan, at the airline’s hub and home, Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar; a complete revamp of the airline’s in-flight entertainment system, Oryx One, with more than 3,000 entertainment options – the most of any airline, alongside newly introduced Giorgio Armani amenity kits; new on-board menus and seamless transfers through one of the world’s newest airport gateways, Hamad International Airport in Doha, the State of Qatar.

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Presented by Sterling Business Network (SBN), an International Business & Human Capital development organisation. With headquarters in the United Kingdom, the SBN footprint extends into10 countries on 3 continents and is still growing. The International Business Conference (IBC) provides opportunities to engage with international organisations and key business leaders from around the world. The IBC aims to create business development platforms that facilitate new business creation, identification of new markets and exposure to new business practices. SME Empowerment Business Forums, Skills Training & Masterclass Workshops are amongst a feature rich conference programme packed with business and leisure activities to make your visit to the Caribbean island of Grenada a memorable one.

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International business networking group launches its inaugural conference in Grenada


undreds of business owners from around the world are expected to converge on the Island of Grenada to take part in the launch of Sterling Business Network’s first International conference. The conference which will be held on 1-3 December 2016 at the prestigious Radisson Grand Resort, St Georges will attract delegates from as far afield as Africa, South America, Europe and the Caribbean. Speaking following the announcement, SBN’s founder, Raymond McMillan said, “I’m thrilled to see the realization of a dream. This conference will provide opportunities for

l Raymond McMillan, Founder of SBN

Excitement Intensifies for International Women’s Empowerment Summit 2016


ith the International Women’s Empowerment Summit (IWES) quickly approaching, men and women from as far as Ghana are hoping to secure a spot at this inaugural event in paradise. Slated for October 19-21 at the Atlantis Paradise Island Resort, the schedule for the summit is overflowing with purposeful

activities, in particular eight revolutionary panels. Some of the featured speakers on the panel are heavy hitters like Pastor of One Church in Los Angeles, Toure Jakes Roberts; Fashion and Swimwear Designer, Amber Atherton and Celebrity Makeup Artist, Gabby Bernstein. In addition to the marvelous speakers, the topics of the eight

The Phoenix – October 2016

panels include: Business as Unusual Women, Doing Business with Confidence, Wealth Creation and Economic Empowerment, Startup Women, Presentation is Everything, The Value of Educat-

ing a Woman, UN Women HeForShe and The Balanced Woman. Hosted by The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Startup Woman and United Nations Women, the summit is designed for women professionals and entrepreneurs from around the world and The Bahamas, to meet, to learn from and to inspire each other. Joy Jibrilu, Director General of The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism said interest from the public especially internationally has been remarkable. “We have had more interest from international audiences than we could have asked for. I’m talking about people who have been prepared to register and commit to coming to The Bahamas. Feedback has been phenomenal from as far away as Africa and both Ghana and Nigeria have expressed huge levels of interest.” Jibrilu said the Ministry of Tourism reached out to spectacular women to speak on the panel to ensure that the summit has not only merit, but also value.

delegates to meet and network with international organizations from around the world.” The conference which is under the banner “The Power of Association” will feature some of the world’s most renowned speakers including the PM of Grenada,

Dr the Rt Hon Keith Mitchell, from the USA, Consuelo Castillo Kickbusch who’s an international speaker, Dr Janice Wight from the Caribbean and many more. Sterling Business Network is an international business networking group with branches in 10 countries spanning 3 continents. With its headquarters in London, SBN has been forging a path throughout the world with its presence now in 10 countries spanning three continents. Registration for the conference is now open and interested partners are being encouraged to book early to avoid disappointment.

The Bahamas Elected Chair Of CTO


he Bahamas has been elected Chair of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with the election as Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe. The election took place on 15 September in Barbados at the organization’s annual general meeting during the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC). Following his election Mr. Wilchcombe stated: “I intend to build upon what [immediate pre-

decessor Richard Sealy of Barbados] began and I also intend to build on the relationship with the private sector. “I’ve always thought that CTO is the body that provides equity and we can; and the way is to speak with the same voice. We also have to deal with the issue of inter-regional travel.” Minister Wilchcombe succeeds Barbados’s Minister Of Tourism and International Transport Richard Sealy, and will serve a two-year term.

The Phoenix – October 2016

Page 41



ubai was recognized as the Middle East’s leading destination at the World Travel Awards Middle East Gala Ceremony, with Abu Dhabi flag-carrier Etihad Airways awarded the Middle East’s Leading Airline for an unprecedented tenth consecutive year at The St. Regis Dubai. Other winners included Rotana Hotels, presented with the title of Middle East's Leading Hotel Brand, and Rosewood Jeddah, which won the award for Middle East's Leading Luxury Hotel. Hundreds of hospitality leaders from across the region were in attendance at the ceremony, which saw Al Faisaliah Hotel, Riyadh, walking away with the trophy for Middle East's Leading Business & Conference Hotel with the emirate taking the title of Middle East's Leading Meetings & Conference Destination while the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing was recognised as the Middle East's Leading Tourist Board.


It was near there that the Ministry of Interior, Alhaji Muhammadu Maccido, conveyed the message, on behalf of the Federal Government Acting Permanent Secretary, saying; “Congratulations to all Nigerians at home and abroad on the commemoration of this year’s independence anniversary and we encourage all of you to continue to support President Buhari in his determination to build a strong, virile and united country in line with the dream of our founding fathers.” According to the programme of the event, an inter-denominational thanksgiving church service took place at the National Worship Centre, in Abuja, with a public lecture and Ju’maat prayers also held, at the National Mosque, again in Abuja. To make your stay in Abuja above ‘comfortable’ there are many featured amenities include a business center, dry cleaning/ laundry services, and multilingual staff. Event facilities at this hotel consist of conference space and meeting rooms. A roundtrip airport shuttle is provided for a surcharge (available on request), and free self parking is available onsite.

Dubai Success

Nigerians Worldwide Celebrate Independence Day

s the Federal Government declared October 3 as a public holiday, to mark Nigeria’s 56th Independence Anniversary, it opted for low-key celebrations with President Muhammadu Buhari approving a programme of events on October 1. During celebrations, in the heart of Abuja, Transcorp Hilton Abuja - close to Millennium Park and Federal Secretariat - the 5-star hotel set out to make ex-pats and tourists feel at home in one of the 667 air-conditioned rooms featuring MP3 docking stations, wireless internet access (surcharge) available to keep you connected and minibars. With it being within close proximity of Dunes Center and National Assembly, there are fantastic opportunities to take in the beauty, history and culture of the vast West African country.

The twin islands of Antigua and Barbuda appear on award winning documentary


he beautiful twin-islands of Antigua and Barbuda will be viewed by millions ahead of the winter booking period, as the unique culture of the destination features on the seventh season of the award-winning documentary TV series, Music Voyager. “Music Voyager: Antigua and Barbuda,” filmed on the islands last year, highlights the story of Antigua and Barbuda through music and culture allowing viewers to experience the country through the eyes of the locals, and their words. The episode unveils the true magic, mystery and music of Antigua and Barbuda. Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Asot Michael, said, “The friendliness of our people, their warmth and hospitality are key to our brand, and how we market Antigua and Barbuda. We are proud to bring the passion of our country to homes across the world, placing Antiguans and Barbudans centre stage in our promotions, and using our music as the vehicle to showcase the quintessential Antigua and Barbuda.” The thirty minute episode starts with journalist Mirissa Neff, alongside a local guide meeting with calypsonians for insight into the traditional art-form of calypso. They first enjoy an impromptu

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rendition by a noted Road March King who strums on a guitar on Antigua’s Market Street, then end up on a beach for a quick game of cricket and a chat with soca artistes and a famous Antiguan cricketer about island life. The episode climaxes at Shirley Heights with residents and visitors dancing to the pulsating beats of an internationally known Antiguan musician at the popular Sunday Sunset Party. Through interviews and travel, the episode brings vibrancy and life to Antigua and sister island Barbuda by meeting other musicians, tasting the local food, visiting off-the-beaten path attractions and attending parties and hidden venues only the locals know. “Voyager episodes are presently broadcasting to 94% of every US PBS Household and in 120 countries, in 50 languages, on International In-Flight programming, on Cruise Ships and in European and Asian hotel chains. This represents unparalleled positive exposure for the destination,” said Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority CEO, Colin C. James. James said, “Positioning Antigua and Barbuda apart from other beach destinations was a main consideration during production and the message is conveyed strongly throughout this episode, which will allow potential visitors to truly experience the islands.”

0121 339 5885 or 0208 865 1922

Page 42


First bricks laid for Bilston Urban Village homes


l Councillor Peter Bilson helps lay the first bricks with Kier Assistant Site Manager Masimba Matapo

The Phoenix – October 2016


or the second year in a row, the FMB’s annual House Builders’ Survey has shown a lack of available and viable land as the biggest barrier to SMEs delivering more new homes. Brian Berry, Chief Executive of the FMB, said: “The biggest challenge facing SME house builders is the planning process. Councils need to find a way of allocating and granting planning permission for more small sites. The current focus on large sites is squeezing out smaller developers, which is reducing competition in the housing market at a time when we need more, not less, choice. The limited supply of opportunities for small scale development is one of a number of key structural constraints that has seen the number of homes built by SMEs decline from around two thirds in the late 1980s to less than a quarter today.” Berry continued: “It is absurd that the planning system treats a 300 home application in largely the same way it treats a three home application. While the Government has attempted to remove red tape in its drive to increase the number of homes being built, it

he first bricks have been laid for new homes on the first two plots of the multi-million pound Bilston Urban Village site. Located on the west side of Dudley Street, Kier is developing 78 units of one, two, three and four bedroom properties. The development comes as part of The Bilston Urban Village, which sits south of the town centre, and is part of the City of Wolverhampton Council’s push to deliver up to 450 on it. Chris King, Managing Director of Kier Living Central, said: “We are making good progress at Bilston Urban Village and this is another important milestone in the project. “Together with the council we are delighted to be pioneering the way on this site to create a high quality residential destination in the area that will deliver a real positive, long-term impact to the region.” Councillor Peter Bilson, Deputy

Leader and Cabinet Member for City Housing and Assets, said: “The first bricks are being laid and we will soon see the first houses spring up as the Bilston Urban Village vision becomes a reality. “Our plans to develop 450 homes on this site will make a significant impact in achieving our housing targets in Wolverhampton. “Everything a developer would want is available on site ready for them to come and build houses. “The council has spent a lot of time making sure there is good road access, and ensuring that, with a bus-only link, cycle ways and pedestrian routes, the new housing will be well connected to the town centre. The Bilston Urban Village advanced works programme to remediate a further 27 acres of brownfield land for residential use was completed in June and the council hopes to announce early next year who will develop the remaining plots.

Survey reveals SME house builders have nowhere to build

would appear that its reforms have yet to make a difference. SME house builders must be seen as a key component of the Government’s housing strategy. This means a renewed focus on granting planning permission to small sites. At the same time, the Government needs to press ahead with its proposed planning

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reforms, including a presumption in favour of small scale development. Planning departments also need to be adequately resourced so that they have the capacity to engage more closely with SME house builders and ensure planning applications are processed through the system as speedily and efficiently as they can be.”

n opportunity offering investors an affordable and lucrative entrance to the UK Buy to Let sector with 7% NET returns guaranteed for 3 years and 15% Below Market Value prices starting at just £115,000. This investment offers a great growth and income vehicle for any investor.

The Phoenix – October 2016

Page 43

SPORT - WITH STEVE WILLIAMS New Milestone for Sparkhill Pool & Fitness Centre

Elise Ready To Take On Europe


2-year-old tennis prodigy, Elise Dennis is proving such a big hit on the domestic tennis circuit, that she’s setting her sights further afield. Having reached the semi-finals for her age group at Junior Wimbledon this summer, Elise is now preparing to challenge some of Europe’s elite young tennis players, when she competes in Tennis Europe in Bath next month. Elise, from Tividale, who is the number one ranked tennis player

for her age in the West Midlands as is in the top 5 nationally, met Tim Henman on her debut trip to Wimbledon, when she was watched by among others Greg Rusedski. As Sandwell Councillor, Richard Marshall, Cabinet member for Leisure Services and Chair of the Gifted and Talented grants awards panel says; “Role models are important. It’s great to hear that some of Britain best players can see the potential Elise has got. I hope that the example Elise is

setting, that a girl from Tividale can compete at an elite level in tennis will turn out to be a role model for other young people in Sandwell. There is a lot of talent in Sandwell and if our Gifted and Talented programme can help support some of our best athletes then we will have more examples to inspire the next generation.” Now Elise, whose serve has been timed at 109 mph, will be testing herself against some of the best young tennis players in Europe

China scoring high with West Midland buy-outs

at the prestigious Tennis Europe event in Bath this month. Local Sandwell residents who are achieving at an elite level or are on course to in any sport recognised by UK Sport can apply to Sandwell Council’s Gifted and Talented grant programme for small grants of up to £500. The Gifted and Talented programme has set aside £25,000 for grants to support young athletes.


he new £7.5million Sparkhill Pool and Fitness Centre, due to open in summer 2017, reached another milestone with the Topping Out ceremony. Representatives from Birmingham City Council, Places for People Leisure, Pellikaan Construction and Roberts Limbrick Architects attended the ceremony to celebrate the highest point of building work being completed and were also given a tour of the new centre. Places for People Leisure were awarded the 15-year Design, Build, Operate and Maintain contract for Sparkhill Pool and Fitness Centre by Birmingham City

Council. The Centre will include a six lane, 25m pool with viewing areas, along with a learner pool, a state of the art 80 station fitness suite, dance studios, café and community room as well as sauna and steam facilities. Deputy Leader for Birmingham City Council, Councilor Ian Ward, said: “I would like to thank both council staff and our contractors for their continued commitment to making Sparkhill Pool and Fitness Centre a success. Through our partnership with Places for People Leisure we will ensure that we deliver good value, cost effective leisure facilities despite the considerable budgetary restraints that we face.”

2ⁿd Generation of Barbadians & Friends Birmingham Presents their


hen news broke that West Bromwich Albion were to be taken over by the Chinese company Yunyi Guokai, many were left looking for answers. Alongside the Fosun Group, which recently completed the acquisition of Albion near neighbours Wolverhampton Wanderers, investors have conducted what looks like a Chinese takeover of West Midlands football this summer. The ‘Asian Explosion’ started when Xia Jiantong, who goes by the English name Tony, took 100 percent ownership of Aston Villa, who was relegated from the Premier League last season. Far East interest is also extending further, with Chinese investors in discussions to take over Villa’s cross-city arch-rivals Birmingham City FC who are also run from Asia, following the 2009 takeover by Hong Kong businessman Carson Yeung. The group which had bought Jeremy Peace’s controlling stake was not exactly a household name, but those close to the West Bromwich deal attest that Lai’s landscaping days are long behind him. “He’s much more involved in town planning, in the development of new Chinese ‘eco towns,’” says Paul Marriott, the managing director of FTI Consulting in China, which has helped with the deal’s communications.


ARBADOS Birmingham City's takeover by new Chinese owners Trillion Trophy Asia is set to be completed very soon. The Championship club's transfer of ownership from Blues' parent company Birmingham International Holdings Ltd (BIHL) is due to take place this month (October). Simon Chadwick is professor of sports enterprise at Salford Business School. He believes that Chinese investment in UK clubs, and specifically those in the West Midlands, could serve an even broader political purpose. “Recent moves are entirely consistent with other industrial sectors where we have seen a statedriven form of capitalism emerge in which investors and corpora-

tions appear to have been working in coordinated ways,” he says. “Add to this the British government’s active courting of Chinese investors, especially using football as a lever, and one can hypothesise a scenario in which Wolves, Villa and West Brom haven’t just been independently acquired for football reasons alone.” China's biggest overseas investment in football so far occurred in December last year, when a consortium led by state-backed China Media Capital took a $400 million stake in the ownership of Premier League club Manchester City. The Villa deal, however, with 100 percent ownership, is not just an investment.

(1966 - 2016)

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Ready to take on Europe! - Page 43

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Footballer from Indian slums shining at Barca


n 11-year-old football player has been selected to play at Germany’s most iconic club Bayern Munich as an academy player for two months. Chandan Nayak hails from the impoverished area of Bhubaneswar where he lives in the Sabar Sahi slum. Nayak is one of the few selected for the all-expenses-paid junior football camp to Munich. The child grew up in difficult circumstances with a poor family who struggled to make ends meet, he now aims to join the Indian football team and win glory for his country. He said; “I am very happy, I want to become a player for the Indian team one day. I really want to thank my coach.” Nayak’s Coach Jayadev Mahapatra outlines the family’s underprivileged situation, “His family is a broken one. His father had deserted him at a very young age. His mother works as a servant at vari-

ous places and is able to manage the family. She has sacrificed a lot to ensure that her children are brought up in a proper way.” The coach recounts discovering Nayak’s talent, “The boy is a talented player and we spotted him when he was very young. He has been training with us for the last three to four years. When he was selected in Odisha, he was the youngest. The selection criteria says that the age should be between 14 to 16 and being an 11-year-old kid he was not allowed but we asked them to give him a chance, he surprised everyone.” The best coaches will be training with the 120 players from around the world in Munich, Nayak’s journey is hoped to inspire slum children who also play football. Messi has a similar backstory growing up in an underprivileged area in Argentina before being scouted by Barcelona at age seven.

City in double bid for world’s golden athletes


resh from their successes at the Rio Olympic, American and Jamaican athletes could be heading back to Birmingham to prepare for the IAAF World Championships London 2017. The City Council has spoken to USA Track and Field about bringing their Olympic stars here to train at Alexander Stadium, while the University of Birmingham are in discussions with Team Jamaica about basing their training camp at its Edgbaston campus – bringing an £8 million economic boost to local coffers.

And, hot on the heels of that, the city is now set to officially enter the race to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games as it calls on the entire region to get behind a bid which has the potential of generating in excess of £390 million for the local economy and creating thousands of jobs whilst catapult the region onto the global stage. Zena Woolridge, Director of Sport at University of Birmingham, added: “As a result of the 2012 Olympics we have built a strong working relationship with Team Jamaica and would be delighted if they

were to return to the University in 2017. We are currently in discussions about this and all sides are very keen to make it happen. The University has fabulous facilities to offer – athletes would have access to our brand new 360 Sport and Fitness Centre as well as access to our world-leading sports performance experts.” UK Athletics CEO and Championship Director of 2017 World Athletics Championships (former Director of 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games), Niels de Vos, said: “Birmingham has

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the perfect blend of existing facilities, fantastic location, supportive local authority and a sport mad local population - all the key ingredients essential to hosting a successful multi sport Games. Both teams are major forces in world athletics, so for them to consider returning after their experience here in 2012 shows that our city has sports facilities that can attract the world’s greatest athletes.” Cllr Ian Ward, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Welcoming USA Track and Field and Team Jamaica ahead of the

London Olympic Games in 2012 was a fantastic boost, so it would be great to see them return ahead of next year’s IAAF World Championships.” Both occasions, together, will see thousands of the world’s best athletes training with the best facilities as well as competing for a global title in a venue which is well known for world-class athletics. Councilor John Clancy, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “Birmingham is a fantastic sporting city and we have proven ourselves to be warm, welcoming and friendly hosts to a number of international events in recent years.” The IAAF World Indoor Championships will be jointly organised by Birmingham City Council and British Athletics, on behalf of the IAAF.

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The Phoenix Newspaper - October 2016