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Lessons of Life John Foreman Ruth Taylor - Self Esteem Front Room Kalwaat Kaur Mann Competitions NEW - Taste Bud Dramatic Movements Caribbean Focus
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THE VINE EXCLUSIVE
Tessa Sanderson- Golden Girl Ade Adepitan - Born to Win
No part of theVINE magazine may be reproduced without prior written permission of the publisher. theVINE can not be held responsible for views or claims expressed by contributors and advertisers which are not necessarily those of the publisher.
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The VINE • PO Box 4320 Walsall • WS1 9AF Telephone: 01922 618 900 Fax: 0871 528 9708 www.thevinepublication.com
The Guv’nor - Paul Ince Kevin Brown Health Survivors Basil Hylton Bend it like Birmingham City
Book and Shows of the Month
This issue contains, yet again, so many inspiring
up it’s mind, we all have experienced that there
people from so many different walks of life.
is a time for everything and to everything a time.
It’s been an encouragement to sit and listen to people’s stories. Stories of hardship and
Just as the leaves on the trees change in season
difficulties, but rewards of strength and character.
so in time must we change. So don’t let your
I have been blessed in so many ways and trust
surroundings have an impact on you, make an
To every thing there that you will also. is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven The seasons are changing just as the wind blows Ecclesiates 3:1
and even though the weather can’t quite make
impact on your surroundings. Au revoir and keep the faith
Why not write in with your comments and questions?
The VINE, ‘LETTERS’ PO Box 4320, Walsall WS1 9AF or email us at email@example.com
As a reader it truly is a good thing to see that you are now featuring more of the Asian community. I think the Vine is a fantastic magazine and have always wanted to see you bring the community back together like your motto says. I hope now our Asian publications now take a leaf out of your book and start featuring our black brothers and sisters. Mina
I was really brought into a deep place reading your article Don’t Blame the Victim. What an incredible experience for anyone to endure and overcome. As a man We are so glad that you have enjoyed this particular issue of The Vine I salute this lady for her bravery and Mina. We seek to feature all aspects of the community and eventually resilience. I think it would have been all cultures as we live in a rich and diverse community. Please nice to hear part two entitled “From ensure you get your future copies as we have some victim to hero” Soul stirring read! fascinating features coming. Bruce Bruce, as you can appreciate this is only a small part of the experience and we like you look forward to reading the book, let alone part two.
SUBSCRIBE Just a little advice to the management team, this magazine is fantastic and is ready for a cover price. The quality of both magazine and contents would be well worth the money. I would love to see you feature articles from all parts of the Caribbean islands. The management team has made note of your comment and the many times it has been said, so again we encourage all our readers to subscribe.
TOUR Eddy Grant, you know how long I love him off? No way you telling me the man is 60 years old and look as good, he looks better than ever! Any chance you can let me know where he will be touring in the UK? Really enjoyed the read. Glenis Glenis, some of us from The Vine went to see this reggae legend and just take it from me, he looks far better in real life. (See page 36 for his tour review) Please contact the office for further details of his tour or check his website for a lot more of Mr. Grant.
theVINE August 2008
star letter OOOOOOOOOOOOOO
I read the Vine Magazine every month and not once has it disappointed me. Every page is full of good advice and uplifting information. Each month I can relate to different articles whether it be personally, through my family or within my community. There are particular articles that stand out to me: Feb 08 - Big and beautiful. This is me and im glad that the Vine was able to point this out to me. I am what I am and I’m proud of who I am which is a big beautiful black woman and no one is going to hold me back from being who I want to be! I hear you are looking for models, i can assure you i am not a size 8! March 08 - The bread of life article was also a heart felt article that I really enjoyed reading. April 08 - The N word. This article was very interesting and I was very please to see it being addressed. I would have liked to have seen the real meaning of the N word explained in this article. At least this way the younger generations growing up would know why this word is such a nasty word and not to be used in such a free flowing way. Last but by no means least - The Trevor McDonald story! What more can I say? It’s Tevor McDonald. If ever there was a man that put ‘Black’ on the British map it’s him. Well done to you all. All of Heather Reid’s articles have been a fantastic read. She is a blessing in disguise. I have been meaning to write in for ages but just never have. Today I was talking to someone about the magazine and how good I found it, they said to me: “Well if you don’t tell them, how will they know and how will everyone esle know?” So here I am telling you that I think the Vine is the best read I have come across to date! Paulette, 30 (Handsworth)
Lessons of Life
Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, to serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or to help you figure out who you are or who you want to become.You never know who these people may be (possibly a family member, your flat mate, neighbor, co-worker, long lost friend, lover, or even a complete stranger), but when you lock eyes with them, you know at that very moment they will affect your life in some profound and sometimes powerful way. And sometimes things happen to you that may seem horrible, painful, and unfair at first, but in reflection you find that without overcoming those obstacles you would have never realised your potential, strength, willpower or heart. Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by means of good or bad luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul and character. Without these tests, whatever they may be, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere. It would be safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless. The people you meet who affect your life and the success and downfalls you experience, help to create who you are and who you become. Even the bad experiences can be and should be learned from. In fact, they are probably the most poignant and important ones in your life. If someone hurts you, betrays you, or breaks your heart, forgive them, for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious when you open your heart. If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because in a way, they are teaching you to love and how to open your heart and eyes to things. Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from those moments everything that you possibly can for you may never be able to experience it again. Talk to people that you have never talked to before, and actually listen. Let yourself fall in love, break free, and set your sights high. Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself. For if you donâ€™t believe in yourself; it will be hard for others to believe in you. Most importantly, if you LOVE someone tell him or her, for you never know what tomorrow may have in store. This is A Lesson Of Life. Keleshi theVINE August 2008
Five years ago John left prison and moved to Birmingham’s inner-city in order to be closer to the crack cocaine dealers who could help him escape from his turbulent life. Now he is an inspiration to our youth and a symbol of what each individual can overcome. By Dominique Brady
I am to prove myself wrong “” I initially met John at The Drum and hearing only a little of his life story was desperate to hear more. Sitting in the front room of his home in Birmingham’s inner-city a few days later, my fascination has only increased. John lives in an area of impoverishment, both emotional and financial. He is surrounded by the gang violence that we read about in the press every day. During the interview he points outside at a patch of grass opposite his flat where he watched from his living room, whilst a youth was stabbed, solely for crossing over from Aston. Amongst this bleak picture of gang violence and drugs, there is however a beacon of light and hope. I am talking to a man who was once a violent youth, a crack cocaine addict and a convict. Five
theVINE August 2008
years ago he tells me he left prison and moved, choosing his new location only due to its proximity to the abundance of crack dealers. “I came here to die, to die on crack cocaine, because at that time I had nothing else in my life and the background that I came from. I just thought: ‘I’ve had had enough of life.’” Five years on, aged 41, his life in many ways has just begun.
John’s plainly furnished living room with important papers blue tacked onto the walls: certificates, pictures of his daughters and letters from his former drugs worker Chrisy, tells of a life of instability. It is as though if asked he could box up his belongings in five minutes. Such minimalism displays the imprint of an emotionally difficult life, growing up in childrens’ homes and with a prison spell as an adult.
“I purposely made my flat like thisno carpet, no wallpaper. I don’t know why but unconsciously this is how I like to live.”
John was born in 1967 to a mother who suffered with mental illness. As mentioned he grew up in a childrens’ home with his two brothers. They were the only black children there and this made the experience even more difficult. “When you’re seen as being different, especially as kids, you’re the first one to be picked on.” For most children the home was a “traumatic” short-term experience after experiencing family life. “For me it was different because I knew no different, so I was at home, happy-go-lucky, then you have kids coming in aggressive… When you get picked on so much you become aggressive.”
By the age of 14 and after years of physical and emotional abuse, John had not only learnt to defend himself but he had become volatile. He became a football hooligan and would regularly fight adult men. Fortunately a worker at the children’s home noticed his behaviour and sent him to a boxing club. He joined at 14. “The first day I went to the boxing gym to have a spa, I was so aggressive that it took a year and a half to calm me down.” John credits the boxing club in helping him not to join gangs, making him a “lone soldier” and installing in him values and discipline. “That’s one of the main reasons why I was able to come out of smoking crack cocaine.” After a successful boxing career,John left the sport in his mid-twenties when he began to feel exploited. He moved into pub management and then began working on the “doors” of clubs in Birmingham. “Boxing was my family from the childrens’ home and then the doors turned into my family and that was downhill all the way.” Club managers would tell him to turn a blind eye to dealers, who would offer him drugs to keep him on side. From a recreational habit of a few lines of coke, it became an addiction, which spiralled on to crack cocaine and a £100 a day habit. He left Birmingham to get away from the drugs but quickly realised they were as easily available in Shrewsbury. His life resumed its cocktail of working on doors and drugs and now included violent fights at weekends due to intense racism there. He was at the police station every weekend and had court charges over his head. He left for Brighton but returned and voluntary pleaded guilty to the charges against him, serving six months in prison. Why do that? “When you’ve got a criminal record on you and you’re on the run it’s stressful; you can’t sign on, you can’t get a legal job, you’re more vulnerable than any other time in your life.” John credits the six months spent in jail as one of the best times in his life; giving
him time to reflect on the past and heal. Although he returned to Birmingham clean from jail, he soon began using crack again and driving all over the city to get deals. Hence his move to Lozells Road for sheer convenience. But here life turned around due to his drug worker Carly who helped him on the drugs plan and told him categorically that it could work. Now he helps at the nearby St Silas Project every Tuesday providing support for other drug users. He discovered acupuncture provided a “replacement” for drugs and he continued to have it every day for up to four years after he had come off the drugs. “If you really want to come off the drugs, you can, but it’s hard.” Now John is a pillar in his community. He keeps an eye on his neighbours’ children and those he can spot becoming vulnerable to gangs or drugs, he spends time with them and shows them someone cares. He tours high schools in the inner city voluntarily, telling the young people about his experiences. “My first thing is to show that they can achieve any thing they want to achieve in life and I tell them from what I’ve achieved.” As a society he thinks that the youth are attracted towards gangs as they lack emotional connections at home, they lack a strong cultural identity and they lack aspirations. “We need to give them something to fight for,” he says. “What we’ve got to do is start getting them to care about themselves, getting them to care about their families.” He believes the current gang phenomena isn’t necessarily all negative; Britain is going through a transition period and although the violence is horrific, we, as communities, are hearing the ‘cry-for –help’ and now have the opportunity and the responsibility to re-engage with our youth. After getting off the drugs, John himself returned to college and now he has just finished his first year of sociology at Birmingham University. He pulls books off his
shelf excitedly and reveals that with his dyslexia, he finds it difficult to read and types out in full the books on his course, in order to engage with the text. He is still partly doubtful about what he can achieve with education due to his age and ethnicity but adds “I aim to prove myself wrong”. He is working hard, at the front of every lecture room and devoting his life to study and the community. His life is now a test he explains, to see if the system can provide opportunity even for those at the bottom of society. “They’ll say to me go out there and talk to the youth, tell them they can be more than being gangsters, they can be more than being drug dealers. Can they really? That’s what I want to find out.” Seeing John with his books on Caribbean heritage and social justice and his passion for education, it is clear that dramatic changes have already occurred. He now wants a more “middle class” lifestyle and wants furnishings and holidays- in other words he is ready for stability. He looks around. “I don’t like being in the place where I am at this time, but there are a lot of kids from the kids home who are dead now from suicide or drugs overdoses, so I’m in a very good place. I’m in a better place than I was five years ago.”
I came here to die, to die on crack cocaine, because at that time I had nothing else in my life
theVINE August 2008
He has achieved many football firsts; becoming the first black England Captain in 1993 and fifteen years later he has now become the first British black Premiership Manager. We chat to the newly appointed manager of Blackburn Rovers, Paul Ince.
or months every tabloid and broadsheet has been speculating on which club Paul Ince would be managing at the start of the football season this year. Finally speculation has ended now that it was unveiled in June that Paul Ince has just signed a three year contract to become manager of Blackburn Rovers.It has been a meteoric rise for the former player who has only been in management for two years. He even lacked the normal qualifications needed for his new management role and had to get a special dispensation, conditional on the fact that he must be enrolled on the course to get his Uefa Pro License by June 2010.
Liverpool, Middlesborough and Wolverhampton Wandererers. He played for Wolves between 2002 and 2006 and in his first season there Ince was in the team that secured the team’s promotion to the premiership in May 2003. In Wolverhampton he is still adored by fans and he shares their affection: “They basically kept me there for the next four years because of the way they treated me.” I ask him what it was like to be made England Captain in 1993 in a match against the US. A personal accolade but also a historical moment, as he was the first black England manager.“I didn’t look at it like that. I looked at it as an Ince admits that his job at Blackburn achievement to be Captain of your Rovers will pose a challenge, “this year country… A lot of people benched it will be a learning curve as the first black Captain People who for me”. But already his and obviously I was proud taught me ambitions are sky high: of that fact too. It was a “We’ve got to be looking morals and high great achievement.” at being in the top six and standards in life we’ve got to be looking to are him and Sir But now it’s not Ince’s challenge for Europe every achievements as a player Alex Ferguson that stand out, but those year…We missed out last and without season and now it is down as a manager. In October those two I to me, my staff and the 2006 he joined Macclesfield players to make sure we don’t think I’d Town and at the end of can achieve that year-in be where I am the year he had saved the and year-out.” league two squad from today. relegation. In June 2007 he Ince was born in London and made his was announced as manager of league footballing debut at West Ham in 1986, two’s MK Dons and this proved to be signing to the club in 1984 after leaving the making of Ince as a manager. He school. He transferred to Manchester took the team to the top of League in 1989 and had a dream run there until Two this year, securing them promotion 1995, clocking up 206 appearances for and winning them their first silverware, the club and scoring 24 goals. Following with the Football League Trophy, more that he played for Internazionale, commonly known as the Johnstone’s 06
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Paint Trophy in a 2-0 win against Grimsby in March. When interviewing Ince the striking thing about him is his team spirit. When asking him about a year of heady achievements at MK Dons, he is quick to credit the team as being the driving force behind the success. He admits becoming a manager has been a massive transition from the days of playing. Then he would train for a few hours a day and then relax. “As a manager obviously you can’t do that… It’s football, football, football 24/7.” We ask who has inspired him as a manager. “Probably the main one was John Lyall [West Ham United manager 1974-79]. As a young kid coming through the game I was a bit of a tearaway and he was the one who got me on the straight and narrow…He was a father figure to me. People who taught me morals and high standards in life are him and Sir Alex Ferguson and without those two I don’t think I’d be where I am today.” Ince has made no secret of his ambition to become a premiership manager and he looks set to be at Blackburn Rovers for the next three years. He explains: “I’ve got a ten, maybe a twelve year plan, where I’d like to achieve all that I possibly can.” He can tick off the box next to premiership manager and next on his list is becoming a manager in Italy. After that he intends to retire and enjoy spending time with his family. But that’s ten years away and ten years is a long time in the life of Paul Ince.
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theVINE August 2008
By Mike Reid
The Untold Truth Our series on the female epi-centre continues!
ere is a question for you. What do fibroids, endometriosis, infertility, hormonal imbalance, insomnia, depression and thyroid irregularity have in common? The answer: xenoestrogen. Chances are you have never heard of this terminology before! The word includes the root ‘xeno’ meaning new or foreign. Needless to say man-made industrial products and denatured food production surround us all. Since the end of the Second World War we now have well over 80,000 chemicals in our present society. These are the chemicals you put in your hair, the chemicals you wash your body with, the cosmetics you put on your skin (as a matter of fact everything that you rub on your skin you should be able to eat) to gardening and DIY products and food colourings and stabilizers-just to name a few.
Moreover, with such an abundance of these in our society, you can imagine the serious ramifications to our bodies, especially to women who are hormonally very sensitive. So what are the implications of all these chemicals on the female body? All these chemicals act as oestrogen impostors which elevate your oestrogens, consequently your body will be susceptible to oestrogen dominance. And remember this is a slow process whereby toxic waste and chemical residue resides inside your body and eventually manifests itself as any one of the ailments we have already addressed at the beginning of this article. This process started to develop inside your body over a period of time due to misunderstanding your body’s capability to detoxify all these foreign chemicals. Finding the truth can underpin a lot of your health challenges. Here comes the action plan: o Once you have identified that you do have oestrogens dominance start by eliminating as many chemicals in your life by gravitating to the health food stores, internet sites and allotments. o Eat natural organic food (phytoestrogen: such as spinach, parsley, kale, lettuces, beans and
theVINE August 2008
legumes). Avoid fried or microwaved food. o Drink at least two to three litres of water everyday so that you can give your body a good internal wash. Drink filtered water and not tap water, which is full chlorine. o Exercising in the morning is a big factor, five times a week. Yes, I know you have to go to work early but it one of the best ways to rid the body of unwanted matter. o Colonic therapy at least twice a year. o Sauna not steams at least three times a week. It was good for the Romans and the benefits are absolutely awesome. Try and build up to a 15-30 minutes duration. o No cooked meats, fish or poultry, especially if you do have any one of those ailments, for at least four months. o A series of detoxification must be undertaken for liver, gall bladder, kidney and metal toxicity (chelating formula). o Buy high strength vitamin C and multi minerals. o Find someone who can give you a lymphatic massage; the benefits are absolutely immense. o Please read about the benefits of fasting. I pray this will give you a real insight on what you need to do to avert any health challenges in the 21st century. Knowledge is your greatest defence against disease. Prevention is better than cure! If you need help, advice especially on Medical Screening, Supplements, and other Assessments, Courses, Presentation, Seminars, perhaps you would like to support or join our Wellbeing and Beyond Membership Scheme please contact Mike Reid on firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel 0796341045 or Annette Scott on 0121 6810746
Fircroft College Foundation Learning – Voluntary and Community Sector – Professional Development
Fircroft College offers a unique experience where students live and learn in an attractive environment, aided by professional and supportive staff. • Choose from a wide range of 3 day residential courses, an Access to HE programme and courses for the over 55s • Short courses cover everything from literacy and numeracy skills to IT skills, to personal and professional development • Many courses are FREE, with some bursaries available • Tailored short courses are available to meet the needs of community groups and voluntary sector organisations
IMPROVE YOUR SKILLS. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE Courses run throughout the year Call 0121 472 0116 for more details or visit www.fircroft.ac.uk Fircroft College of Adult Education, 1018 Bristol Road, Selly Oak, Birmingham B29 6LH
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theVINE August 2008
Building Positive Self-Esteem Do you like being you? The way you feel about yourself drives your thoughts. If you are constantly critical of yourself, then these feelings will lower your self-esteem.
By Ruth Taylor
erhaps the most important part of your personality is your self-esteem. Your selfesteem determines your performance in almost everything you do. It is the energy source of your character and behaviour. If you have low self-esteem, it will be more challenging and difficult to take the right action to permit you to achieve your goals. This connection between thoughts and action is what keeps you from getting started, or what causes you to give up! How much self-esteem you have influences and affects your enthusiasm, your get-up-and-go attitude, and your personal magnetism. So if you are not achieving your goals, then it’s time to evaluate how you are feeling about yourself and the types of thoughts you are entertaining. Everything you do or say affects your self-esteem. Your responsibility to yourself is to keep yourself in a positive state of being in order to attract to you the best possible situations and experiences. Your self-esteem controls and governs the amount of success and happiness you experience in life. It also determines your peace of mind and inner strength of will.
How much you like and respect yourself also influences the quality of your relationship with others. The more you like and enjoy you, the more you will like and enjoy others, and the more they will like you. In truth, if your self-esteem is hurt in any way, the first aspect of your life to be affected is the way you get on with other people. This applies to all your relationships i.e. colleagues, partners, children, friends – people in general. If you are not feeling good about you, you certainly won’t feel good about others. To perform at your best and to feel good about yourself, you should be in a continuous state of self-esteem building and maintenance. Just as you take responsibility for your level of physical fitness, you need to take complete responsibility and care for the quality of your thinking. I have stated in a previous article, most of us are quick to upgrade our mobile phones and other material possessions, yet we cease to upgrade the quality of thoughts which impacts on our self-esteem. How much you like and respect yourself also affects your goals. The very act of setting challenging goals for yourself and making written plans of action to
achieve them raises your self-esteem. Self-esteem is a condition you experience when you are taking action steps towards the accomplishment of something that is important to you. Remember there is a strong link between thoughts and action. It’s time to take control of your selfesteem and your thoughts. Negative thoughts are the greatest dream destroyers known to humankind and the greatest destructive force in lowering self-esteem. Telling yourself “I can’t” will lower your self-esteem. A positive thought brings confidence, optimism and focused action and raises your self-esteem. This in turn will give you a better chance of achieving your goals.
I welcome your feedback so please feel free to email me: email@example.com Giving thanks onto God for all things!
“Building Self-Esteem” short COURSES! In this course you will learn: • What is self-esteem? • Origin of self-esteem • Strategies for improving self-esteem • Affirmations and positive self-talk as a tool for eliminating negative thinking. • Goal setting skills – what do you want from life If improving your self-esteem is a priority goal, then this three week course will benefit you in building positive self-esteem (Saturday’s 10.30-1.30 pm).
For start date and further details please telephone Ruth Taylor (facilitator) on: 0794 7104061 10
theVINE August 2008
Are you looking to and your business?
The Inspire to grow Capital Grants for Business improvement Project might be able to help.
Who is the project aimed at?
To support organisations to grow and expand their business through improving and upgrading the capital assets of the business.
Businesses located in the Aston Pride area, (see the map overleaf.) You must be able to demonstrate a commitment to making your business grow and that it has the potential to create new jobs.
How It Works Capital grants will be available to help you improve the Capital base of your business. The grant is for the purchase of new equipment or machinery,(but not IT or refurbishment of premises). You must make an application setting out how the grant will help your business grow, improve its long-term profitability and create new jobs. (Application forms are available from the grants team). You must undertake a complete Business Review. A Grants Panel will make a decision on your application and if successful a commitment to the grant will be made to you. Once you have purchased the appropriate capital equipment you can reclaim the grant award from the project.
You must also be prepared to disclose full financial information, business plan and business accounts to demonstrate a need for public funding.
What’s Available? Capital grants of up to £7500.You must provide 50% cash contribution towards the cost of the capital grant. (Please note that capital grants are not subject to VAT and this cannot be reclaimed from the programme). Access to a Business Adviser to explain the application process and provide support. Telephone support from the grants team to answer any questions you may have.
We will then continue to keep in touch to find out how the business is growing and to help you maximize the investment in your business
Foster Carers wanted Future Families is an independent fostering agency, based in Birmingham. We are a team of dedicated workers who are wholeheartedly committed to recruiting a broad range of families, who are able to meet the needs of children and young people of all cultures and ethnicity in the care system. Future Families aim is to provide children and young people with a safe, caring and nurturing family environment. Placements are monitored and reviewed frequently to ensure foster carers are well supported in carrying out their roles and responsibilities, in line with the agency’s policies adopted from fostering regulations. Our support to foster carers begins from the preparation and assessment stage and continues through pre and post approval training and is included in the supervision process. Fostering can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience.
Would you like the opportunity to make a difference to a child’s life? If so, then we would like to hear from you. For further details, or to speak to someone about accessing our services, please contact us on:
Tel: 0121 265 2650 Fax: 0121 265 2695 www.futurehsc.com
To register your interest in the programme or find out more please contact Baljit Kaur on
01216071858 or email
Tamworth Borough Council is committed to providing high quality services to all of our customers regardless of their ethnic origin, gender or disability. In order to achieve our aims we will provide services that are relevant to peoples needs and that respect their cultural and social identities. Tamworth Borough Council aspires to a diverse workforce, which has the skills and understanding to achieve our goals by the provision of a quality service, responsive to individual and community needs. We are committed to ensuring that all people are treated fairly and without unlawful discrimination. If you feel you could help us in achieving our aims look out for current vacancies on our website
theVINE August 2008
A throw to success
Kevin Brown is a successful athlete, coach and businessman and with his new gym he aims to inspire school children and young offenders through sport. He explains how sport changed his life and helped him cope with his own disability.
evin’s gym in Walsall, Isis, has only been open for four months, yet already he has innovative ideas about its potential. He has arranged for some local schools to use the gym during PE lessons and is also in talks with the council to coordinate young offenders visiting with their carers during quiet periods. After they have finished their workout he aims to sit them down and mentor them. “It’s better to talk to kids when their minds are clear.” Kevin is a suitable role model and he has achieved in life with his philosophy “no means yes”. To his name he has seven properties, a nursery and now a gym- despite having no educational qualifications due to his severe dyslexia. He has even found it difficult to admit to others that he is dyslexic. “This is the first time I’ve announced it to the whole world, not even my best friend knows.” Now aged 44, Kevin can finally admit that the disability has conferred some advantages. “What I’ve extracted from my disability is that its allowed me to think outside the box.” His successful sporting career is linked to the frustration that his dyslexia caused him at school. The oldest of three brothers, he wanted to set a good example but struggled academically. Aged 13 and naturally stocky, he began playing rugby: “Basically it let out my frustrations.” It wasn’t until a throwing PE lesson in school that he discovered his natural talent.“When it was my turn to throw the discus I threw twice as far as the teacher”. He broke the school record on his first throw. The teachers knew they had found something special and he started competing; becoming the Aston school champion, the Birmingham champion and the England Schools Champion within a few years. Finally Kevin had discovered a way to be accepted and achieve. After he finished school he went to 12
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Michigan State University in America on a sports scholarship. There he enjoyed competing but concealed his dyslexia and he would duck and dive to avoid assignments and exams. After four years he returned to England with no qualifications and stopped throwing. Instead he returned to night school and started on a Youth Training Scheme. He saved his money and by 21 put down the deposit on his first house.
What I’ve extracted from my disability is that its allowed me to think outside the box. He returned to athletics a few years later, after a discus player from New Zealand, Mark Robinson, who was slightly smaller than Kevin, advised him on his strengths and weaknesses. Kevin is only 5’9 and realised his limitations in a field where most throwers stand tall at 6’6. Following Mark’s advice he resumed throwing and only retired in 2007, after suffering from back problems. He has had a successful international career for both the English and Jamaican team. He threw at two Commonwealth games where he made the finals and he was still collecting medals until recently; winning gold at the 2006 Indoor World Masters and at the 2007 Outdoors World Masters. He was part of the Jamaican team between 1999 and 2002 and he was the first Jamaican thrower to win the Central American Championships in discus. He still holds the Jamaican record for discus throwing He now coaches a range of athletes, some throwers from the German and Dutch team and also a range of individual able and less able athletes. His first coaching challenge was an
obese 14-year-old called Chris, whose parents begged Kevin to help.“I realised what his problem was, he just had no confidence whatsoever.” He would talk to Chris about computer games during discus training to keep his mind off the pain and eight months after coaching began, Chris won at the English School Championships. Recently he has been coaching another athlete, Iftakar Hussein, who competes in the Flora London Marathon. Within twelve months he had trained Iftakar from his position in the top 40 wheelchair athletes competing to within the top ten, using some less than conventional methods: “I tied tyres and weights and everything to the his wheelchair, so I made him work twice as hard.” This same passion extends towards his gym, where Kevin’s medals are displayed proudly on the walls.The gym is a fitting combination of his business acumen and desire to inspire and motivate. “It’s all about people having belief inside and that to me is worth more than anything in the world; knowing that you can change s o m e o n e ’s belief and confidence.”
By Tesse Winters
We can provide you with free impartial information and advice about:
• Holiday activities
• Childcare options including:-
• • • • • •
Childminders • Day Nurseries • Pre-School/playgroups Creches • Parent and Toddler groups Before and After School clubs • Children’s Centres Extended School Services • Free Nursery Education Grant Paying for childcare • Working Tax Credit Maternity and Paternity Rights • Flexible working Walsall Children’s Information Service Challenge Building, 1 Hatherton Street, Walsall WS1 1YB Telephone: 01922 653383 Email: Childcare@walsall.gov.uk
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Community Cricket By Ben Williams
The Vine donned its cricketing whites and headed down to Handsworth Park to find a Cricket Club that has high aspirations for the future.
s the dark grey clouds above me move at an alarming speed, I make my way towards the Club House. This is not Lords and I’m not armed with a bat or pads. Instead I have my trusty Dictaphone in hand as I have been invited to Handsworth Cricket Club to explore the impact that cricket is having on the local community and the challenges it faces as it aims to be more than just a cricket club. Not only is he my guide for the day, Basil Hylton is also the Chairman of Handsworth C.C; a passionate cricket man who helped transform the Bristol West Indian Cricket team from a standard park team into a club who have their own ground and pavilion. Now he is looking to do the same for Handsworth C.C too. Located in Handsworth Park the club do not own their ground or the facilities (Birmingham City Council
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do). Yet the club has already proved a success, as they now compete in the Warwickshire Premier league and have spawned a women’s and youth team. They are doing great work within the community, working with local schools in an attempt to get kids off the streets and giving them an outlet. Yet there is a bigger picture for the club, as Basil explains: “It’s not just about cricket, it is about organising ourselves, making sure we have access to monies available to help provide for the future.We as Black people should have places to call our own where we can invite any race or creed to join in and take part.” With that I gladly accept a membership form from Basil and hope that this wonderful club can gain the full support and recognition it so thoroughly deserves. www.handsworthcc.co.uk
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Give Away Exclusive Reo-Coker giveaway
In our April edition we were lucky enough to have an interview with Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker. Now The Vine can exclusively give away a signed copy of the April edition. To enter send your name, address, post code, email address and contact number to “The Vine Competition” Marketing Department, Aston Villa Football Club Aston Birmingham B6 6HE or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org the subject “Vine Competition”. Closing Date: 29th August 2008 Terms and conditions available on request
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Heart Research UK has recently expanded its operations with the opening of its first regional office in Birmingham. To celebrate they have kindly donated a signed cricket bat from the Worcestershire Royals 2007-8 team, the current NatWest Pro 40 Champions, as part of this month’s Vine giveaway. To win either send your name and contact details to Joanne@ thevinepublication.com or post them to The Vine, PO Box 4320, Walsall, WS1 9AF. Closing date: 29th August 2008
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Get Moving A
s this is the sports issue, we are trying to encourage you to dust off your track suits, dig out your trainers and get moving. Not everyone can be a world class athlete, but sport and exercise can have massive health benefits to everyone’s health: it lowers the risk of heart disease, it reduces obesity and the chance of stroke and can help to combat depression. It can also give your armchair a much needed holiday. We know it can seem daunting starting a new exercise regime, and easier to put it off until the tomorrow that never comes- especially if you’ve tried and failed in the past. So to inspire you into action, we thought we’d let you know how much sport you should be doing and how to prevent any nasty strains and pains that can knock your motivation and have you racing back to that armchair. On your marks, get set and get informed.
The government’s Department of Health since 1995 has advised 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, five times a week, which can include anything from housework to gardening. The definition of “moderate” exercise is that you should still be able to maintain a conversation but your heart beat will be raised, you’ll be getting warmer and starting to break into a sweat.
Obviously your capacity to exercise depends on your age and existing physical fitness but you should try to challenge yourself. If you are unfit or unused to exercise, why not start on low impact exercise like swimming or brisk walking. To keep motivated try to find something that either fits into your routine, like a short run after work or a good walk during your lunchtime. Alternatively try something new or tap into sports that you used to enjoy: anything from salsa or yoga to kick boxing. Every week seems to bring a new sports craze, so there’s no excuse. To maintain motivation it’s often better to join with a friend, so you can force each other to go, even after a bad day at work, when you feel a bit tired or just can’t be bothered. You don’t even need expensive kit or a gym pass, just gritty determination and the commitment to changing your lifestyle. It’s not even just about reducing your waist line (although that’s an obvious incentive) as getting into a regular exercise routine helps you to sleep a lot better, boosts your energy levels and your confidence. And forget those “gym bunnies” when out jogging or joining a new class, with their perfect abdomens and designer sports gear- focus on what you are setting out to achieve and keep your chin up.
Once you’ve got back into
gear, it’s important to prevent muscle ache and nasty sprains. Here’s a few do’s and don’ts. Do: Warm up for at least five to ten minutes before starting exercise, for example walking or slow jogging. At the end of exercise cool down for five to ten minutes or until you are back to your normal body temperature. Don’t: Stretch muscles until they are warmed up, as this could lead to injury. Don’t: Overdo it at first. Build up an exercise regime slowly.There’s no point doing a 40 minute run on a first attempt, then not moving out of bed for the next two weeks. Do: Drink lots of water, especially if you are doing an endurance sport, so as to prevent dehydration. Do: Pick up the warning signs. If you’re starting to get dizzy, nauseous or feel pain, then stop. Don’t: Give up. It can seem at first disappointing if you don’t immediately lose pounds or get those killer muscles, but stick with it and you’ll reap the rewards soon enough.
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A new lease of life Kalwant Kaur Mann’s life was transformed when she had a kidney and pancreas transplant in June 2004. She describes the process from painful dialysis to her new found relief; and appeals for more donors.
alwant Kaur Mann, a mother of two daughters, aged 15 and 23-years-old, appears relaxed and healthy when I meet her. It wasn’t always this way. From the point that she was diagnosed with diabetes at 18, she has had to cope with difficult challenges, both medically and culturally, but has emerged with her faith, family and determination to help others stronger than ever. She was diagnosed with diabetes at 18. Her nephew had been diagnosed shortly before, so she knew a little about the condition but it was still difficult to come to terms with. Her parents were planning an arranged marriage for her at the time. She would meet prospective families and their sons but when they were told about her diabetes, they rejected her. “I found that very hard,” she admits. This stemmed from “ignorance” about the condition- a condition which affects a high percentage of the Asian population in the UK. Her diabetes was manageable for the next 20 years, until some of the long term problems that the condition can cause started to manifest. Long term diabetes can affect your eyesight, your feet, your circulation, or, as in Kalwant’s case, her kidneys. Her kidney problems started in 2000 and by 2002 she had to go for regular dialysis. She was only dialysing for two years before the transplant but “it felt like a lifetime”. She would go for dialysis three times 18
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a week, four hours at a time. The impact of dialysis was exacerbated by the diabetes and it was now a waiting game for a transplant. It was a “very, very difficult time”. She constantly felt sick, could barely walk and couldn’t even go to the bathroom on her own. “It was like being baby sat 24 hours.” She felt that she could no longer fulfil her roles as a wife or mother and also gave up her job. The only thing that got her through was her supportive family and her faith. Even at the worst point, she never doubted she would transplant would happen. “I thought when my time is right, it will come.” When she received a call telling her that there were suitable donor organs for her, she was shocked and asked if it was a joke. She was taken to have a pancreas and kidney transplant, and since then her life has been transformed. Her donor was a young woman. She still writes cards to their family on the anniversary and before Christmas to say thank you but realises how sensitive the family may be. Her gratitude to them is potent. “They don’t know what a difference it has made to my family, my children and my husband.” Since the transplants, she has worked as a volunteer for BODY: an organisation initially formed to support the families of donors, but that now includes
recipients. Her aim is to spread awareness and combat myths about organ donation. The waiting list in the UK exists because people here have to choose to sign the register, rather than choosing to opt out. People frequently tell her they aren’t suitable to be donors, saying they are too old or have existing health problems. However, she informs me, that any person has up to 19 different body parts that can be donated, from tissue and skin to organs. Even Kalwant can still donate and is on the donor list. Her message to those, who are unsure about registering, is to consider what it would be like if someone you loved needed a transplant. Suddenly you would appreciate a very different perspective on the nationwide problem. She summarises the impact of organ donation. “A gift that may cost you nothing, but is priceless to someone else.” By Tesse Winters
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Find out all you need to know at
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Golden Girl Tessa Sanderson grew up in Wolverhampton and went on to achieve every athlete’s dream, winning a highly coveted gold medal at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games. Dominique Brady talks to her about getting the gold and inspiring the next generation of medal winners.
essa Sanderson is a bit of a legend in Wolverhampton. She is captured on the mural at Wolverhampton’s railway station and there is even a housing estate named after in her home town of Wednesfield, Sanderson Park, which is located on the former playing fields of her old school, Wards Bridge High School. A fitting tribute to the woman who represented Britain in the javelin in six consecutive Olympic Games from 1974 to 1996 and who is still the only female athlete to have won an Olympic throwing medal for Great Britain. Then there are her other accolades, including being honoured with the MBE, OBE and CBE
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and also becoming the Vice Chairman of Sport England for five years, the first woman to hold the post. Tessa now lives in London, but I caught up with her when she returned to the Midlands to give a motivational talk. Her two younger brothers still live here and Tessa retains a close connection to the area. “I’m always honoured to come back to the Midlands as there are some great, great people here and friends that I’ve always had.” She gestures broadly, “my whole athletics career started here”. Originally born in St Elizabeth in Jamaica, Tessa moved to Wednesfield with her parents when she was six-years-old. Twelve years ago her parents returned to Jamaica and she goes over to visit them regularly. The young Tessa was always sporty and fortunately had encouragement and support from her PE teacher. “She saw a better window than I did. My mom and those at the time really wanted me to be a nurse. I went down and had a look at New Cross Hospital but I thought ‘it’s not for me.’”
It wasn’t until she was 16 that she decided to specialise in the javelin. At that point she travelled to her first big event, the English Schools Championship, and there she experienced the buzz of competing and a sense of what she wanted to achieve. Her decision to pursue the javelin was less based on passion and more a decision to play to her strengths: “It wasn’t an event that I loved but the challenge was nice.” She went to her first Commonwealth Games in 1974 when she was just 18-years-old in Christchurch, New Zealand and her first Olympics in 1976 in Montreal, Canada when she was 20. However until her Olympic win in 1984 Tessa still held down a full time job, as well as training five or six times a week. She worked at first as a tea girl when she was younger and then became a private secretary and secretary assistant. She explains it was “very frustrating” trying to find employers who would let her take time off to train or to go to the big meets and she went through a “whole herd” of jobs, until she found the right one. It doesn’t sound ideal to me, but Tessa shrugs. “I didn’t really care because I’d set my goal that I wanted to travel and compete and
that was at the forefront of everything.” Being a self-confessed Olympic addict, I am keen to hear all about the Olympic experience. “You walk in and there’s a massive buzz from the moment you go through security and into the Olympic Village.” Going to the canteen you would see every different nationality cooking and swapping badges and tracksuits. There is also always an area where every flag of the world is flying, and Tessa would go there just to contemplate the enormity of the games she was competing in. What about the moment when you step out on the track, javelin in hand, with millions, even billions of people watching you worldwide? “It can be quite frightening, so that it will almost bring you to tears but it’s also a marvellous feeling.As long as you’re in control of those emotions, it’s okay.” Tessa explains that the public can underestimate the pressure athletes feel even during the qualifying round, as at each point the athlete has to be mentally and physically focused. It doesn’t matter who is world champion or record holder,“at the start everyone has to start all over again”. Then we discuss that famous gold medal of 1984. Tessa describes it as “electrifying”. She didn’t expect a win. She had been injured for two years, her rival Fatima Whitbread was out throwing her in competitions and the world record holder had just thrown two metres further than Tessa. It was a grim point but Tessa mentally rallied herself and thought: “I’m really going to have to fight.” She threw the winning throw and a new Olympic record, on her first throw. It wasn’t until the last round that she realised what had happened. The sight of Tessa on the podium, tears streaming down her face and collecting her gold, in front
This is my time, this is my only time. It doesn’t matter what else happens, I’ve got this gold medal. of a stadium crowd of approximately 70,000 is a memorable event. For Tessa it was the ultimate validation of all her hard work and effort. “I thought: ‘This is my time, this is my only time. It doesn’t matter what else happens, I’ve got this gold medal.’” Tessa continued to compete internationally until 1996 but added more strings to her bow. She became a media personality and worked extensively in both television and radio. She is also committed to charity work and causes such as the Variety Club of Great Britain and she was patron for seven years to Jamaica Basic Schools, a charity for underprivileged children in Jamaica.
Her latest project which was founded in 2006 is running the Newham Sports Academy. The Academy is located in one of London’s most deprived boroughs and provides elite training and coaching for talented youngsters from around the borough, with grants for travel expenses and equipment. The academy started off training 31 youngsters and the number has already risen to 65. Tessa is confident that some of her hopefuls will be able to make the cut for the 2012 Olympics and she expresses pride at seeing some of the youngsters turn their lives around. “I’ve got people who have had asbos in my academy…and now they’re very calm, cool and collected…Their confidence is being built up and it has brought out a lot of the things that made them the way they were.” In tackling some of the perceived problems with the UK’s youth, Tessa believes sport can play a big part: “Kids need challenges and when they’ve got the right challenge and they’re in the right group, they’re fine.” Tessa seems to light up when talking about the young people in her academy. Is this the happiest stage of her career? “I think I’m at the happiest time of my life. I’ve got a wonderful partner in Densign White, the Chairman of British Judo, he’s my soul mate, my friend and we’ve got a wonderful relationship. I’m working in my absolutely ideal job and that is running the academy…I have a complete world in a sense.” Tessa’s partner is off to Beijing this year with the judo team, but for once Tessa is keen to curl up and watch the games on TV. And finally her medal tips for this year’s Olympics? “No one can guarantee anything, but if I had to stick a pin on who will get one, I’d say Christine Ohuruogu in the ladies 400m.” theVINE August 2008
What Now? Need a helping hand? If you are confused about what to do now you’ve left school or college then get some advice from a Connexions personal adviser. Whatever you decide to do Connexions personal advisers will give you information, advice and support following you GCSE or A level results. Whether you are pleased, surprised or disappointed with your results remember, there are plenty of options. You might just need some help to find out what those options are.
It is worth considering all your options to keep learning, find training or get a job. This will give you a broad view of the opportunities ahead.
want to find details on the jobs available in your area.
Connexions Black Country has produced a leaflet called What Now? and it is packed with useful information on the options available to school and college leavers.
The Choices section, on the website, has the What Now? Guide and useful information on higher education, funding and studying abroad. The website’s ‘free time’ section has useful tips for students interested in taking gap year or volunteering.
The leaflet is free and available in schools, colleges and Connexions centres in Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
And for your parents and carers, who might be worried about your next steps, advice is available on the website too!
For more information go to:
Connexions personal advisers are there to help you stay on track and to help you make the right choice.
Alternatively you can call Connexions Direct on 080 800 13219 and speak to a personal adviser. The lines are open between 8am-2am, seven days a week.
They encourage you to think about where your next step will take you and where it could lead in the future.
The Connexions Black Country website has a job opportunities data base. It’s a good starting point if you
or call free 0808 100 1980
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FREE information, advice and support for 13-19 year olds
Making choices about what you want to do after you leave school or college? Whether you want to keep learning, or go into the world of work, Connexions can help you make the right choice for you Speak to a Personal Adviser at: Walsall Connexions Centre on 01922 636333 Freephone 0808 100 1980 or check out the â€˜Choicesâ€™ section at www.connexions-bc.co.uk
Connexions Black Country is actively committed to equalities in all we do. We are committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children and young people and expect all staff and volunteers to share this commitment. theVINE August 2008
born to win Ade Adepitan is one of Britain’s most famous Paralympians. We catch up with the self confessed adrenalin junkie.
rom the BBC’s “ident” in which he performed stunts, to his numerous appearances presenting on television, Ade Adepitan and his wheelchair are a recognisable sight. This year in May he once again covered the basketball final for the Paralympic World Cup in Manchester for the BBC and this month he will be reporting for the BBC from the Olympic and Paralympic games in Beijing.
through the streets by my mates in a Tesco’s shopping trolley- my mode of transport at the time”. He was spotted by a group of physiotherapists whose job was to provide sporting facilities for disabled children.
when he first watched the Seoul Paralympics in 1988 the BBC only had very limited coverage of the whole games “something like 15 minutes”. In the Athens 1992 Paralympics this went up to approximately 45 minutes but it wasn’t until the Sydney 2000 Paralympics that Ade describes the “breakthrough” as occurring. Finally the BBC had a 40 minute programme each day covering the events of the Paralympics.
At 21 Ade was already playing for a professional basketball team in Zaragoza, Spain, which he did for two years. This was a steep learning curve for Ade who had rarely left East London and for the first few months he could
He was reluctant to play the sport or even to use a wheelchair, but once they persuaded him to watch a disabled basketball match he was enthralled. “They were in amazing wheelchairs and they were doing things that my friends at school couldn’t even do.”
I’m still competing against the top players in the Ade’s rise in country and I’m not profile is indicative having of society’s changing attitudes towards that much of a disabled sport in problem. general. He recalls that
The theme continues when we talk about his chosen sport, basketball. Ade didn’t even know as a youngster that people in wheelchairs could play basketball, whereas now he speculates that the majority of the population know the sport exists and awareness is rising. Ade’s basketball career was brought about by a stroke of luck. Now famous for his wheelchair skills, he explains that as a child he used callipers (leg braces) which made it difficult to walk. One afternoon, aged 14, everything changed when “I was being raced 24
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By Dominique Brady
barely understand his team mates. However Ade reflects that it broadened his horizons and that: “I went to Spain a boy and I came back a man.” When he returned he joined the Great Britain squad, as well as playing for his club Hounslow Force. He has a treasure trove of medals from his international career: he was part of the team that won silver at the World Championships (2002), bronze at the Athens Paralymics (2004), silver at the European Championships (2004) and gold at the first Paralympic World Cup (2005). How did it feel to win his Paralympic medal in 2004? “It’s every athletes dream to compete in the Olympics and to win a medal it just makes your career.” I ask Ade what skills are required for wheelchair basketball. “It involves upper body skills and you need to have good chair skills, good chair control… Basically the chair and your self have to become one.” During his time in the Great Britain squad he trained six hours a day, six days a week. He retired last year from international sport and admits it will be hard in Beijing providing commentary. “There’ll be a little twang inside of me, thinking: ‘It would be nice to be there’…but I don’t miss the training, the 36 hours a week, that was tough for ten years.” Ade and sport are an inseparable combination and retirement from international basketball wasn’t motivated just by training. “Unfortunately playing wheelchair basketball doesn’t pay the bills in one respect and it doesn’t give you any sort of long term career.” He feared he could continue playing until he was in his late thirties but then he would retire to face “nothing”, with only a collection of medals to show for his efforts, “so I had to make that tough decision to retire at a certain age”. He jokes that he is “old and beat up now” but that statement is extremely misleading. Ade still looks incredibly young and his involvement from sport far from waning has further diversified in the last 18 months. He now competes in wheelchair tennis and last year took him to his
first foreign tournament in Cyprus. This year took him to the Wheelchair Tennis Israeli Open in Tel Aviv, where he lost in the final of the second draw doubles. On top of all this he still plays basketball for the Milton Keynes Aces and the Kensington Raiders. “I’m still competing against the top players in the country and I’m not having that much of a problem.” Last year he also took part and completed one of the ultimate challenges, the London marathon, in which he raised money for Wheelpower and The Brain and Spine Foundation. Ade trained intensively by lapping Richmond Park and joining the Philosophy Athletes club but admits the experience was gruelling. “I’ll never do it again…When I drive past where I was pushing, I remember the pain I went through.”
to develop this skill. Has his disability made it harder to get castings or limited him to specific roles? Ade shrugs this off, as he has all other challenges. “I try not to make disability an issue. If they don’t pick me because I’m not good enough, then fair enough...but if they don’t pick me because I’m in a wheelchair then I think they’ve got serious problems and they need to get into the 21st century.” I couldn’t agree more and can think of no stronger character to take on a fairly short-sighted media industry. The defining characteristics of Ade are his can-do and fearless attitude. Ade, who was born in Nigeria, had polio as a baby and was brought over to England by his parents. Ade explains this forms part of his drive and determination. “I know my parents struggled and they saved all their money to bring me over to the UK to give me a better life and I think it’s only right and fair for me to take the opportunities I’ve been given.”
If I can inspire children to want to succeed and to want to do amazing things then isn’t that’s brilliant.
When he competing or training, Ade has set himself the new challenge of acting and presenting. He has already featured in a range of exotic and challenging television documentaries. Amongst these was Tiger Tiger in 2005 for Channel Five where Ade went in search of endangered species around the world and had to learn to scuba dive, so he could swim with endangered sharks. This meant he had to overcome one of his biggest fears of swimming in the deep sea, “that was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done…but when I did it I felt fantastic”. Now he scuba dives regularly. Last year he starred in a acting series for the BBC, Desperados and he is keen
His biggest achievement? Ade admits personal achievements like the MBE he received in 2005, the marathon and his television work are a source of pride but, “I think hopefully it would be raising the profile of people who are different, people with disabilities”. Ade works extensively with children, both with and without disabilities and he is an ambassador for the NSPCC and a patron for Scope,Wheel Power and the Association of Wheelchair Children.“If I can inspire children to want to succeed and to want to do amazing things then that’s brilliant.” theVINE August 2008
front room a chat in the
Mohammad Fahim Zazai
How old are? I’m 27. When did you move to England? I moved to England in October 1999. Why did you decide to move over? I came to the UK to apply for asylum as there was fear in my country. It was really hard, as everyone knows, the region [Afghanistan] was under Taliban control and most people were trying to flee the country as there were too many restrictions and their lives were at risk. That’s why I fled my country. Did you bring over a wife or child with you? No, at the time I was single. I married in 2003 and now my wife is here with me. She came to the UK about one and a half years ago. I’ve got two children now. Do you think there is too much negative press about asylum seekers in the UK? Yes, there is a lot of negative press. People don’t understand what asylum seeking is all about. Some people think you are here just for money or work or just to enjoy yourself. It’s not the reality. They don’t know the reason why people are coming and they should know that. Now you have asylum status, what do you work as? I work as an interpreter and a community worker. Whom do you do interpreting for? I am translating and interpreting for different places such as in courts, hospitals, the Home Office and for solicitors in three languages: Pashto (my mother tongue),Dari/Farsi and Urdu. 26
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What does your community work involve? We help and support asylum seekers mainly Afghans in every aspect of life such in immigration, education, housing, health issues and also providing translation and interpreting services. We are working closely with other communities and organisation in the area to help our people to integrate in the society and try to be an active community in the area. What did you do before you came here? I was studying in the ninth class of high school. What do you miss about Afghanistan? Everything really; my people and the country as a whole. Do people in Britain appreciate or understand Afghanistan or Afghan culture? When the media show Afghanistan, they only show people killing each other or war. That’s not the reality. People in Afghanistan have a rich culture. We also have got respect for each other and we are a peace loving people. No one likes war and killing there. It has been imposed by other people. What do you personally think about the war in Afghanistan? The war in Afghanistan is not only about Afghans, it’s an international war. The war has been imposed by other countries, which are supported by America and use our country as a battleground. This is not a war only of Afghans, but they are paying the price. Is there a large Afghanistan community in the West Midlands? Yes and it’s growing now. There’s quite a big community in the West Midlands and now inWalsall. I think around 10,000 in the whole of the West Midlands and about 300 to 400 in Walsall.
Is there a strong community spirit? There is yes. As a community worker we’re trying to bring the Afghan community together, every year or every special occasion like the Muslim Eid or our National Day or another celebration day. We try to organise an event, like we do here in Walsall every year where we perform our traditional dance “Attan”, music and we have our traditional food. It’s also the chance for us to show our culture to the people of this country. Do you want to return to Afghanistan in the future or do you hope to settle more permanently in the UK? Of course I want to return to Afghanistan and see if I can help to rebuild the country but it’s still not stable to return. What has been your perception of the West Midlands? The good thing I like as a whole in the UK and especially in the West Midlands is the multiculturalism and the freedom you have here. You can do whatever you want and you can celebrate your own culture. What perception did you have of England before you moved here? I only thought that white people lived in this country and they maybe don’t like other people coming to this country. That’s not the reality. I was surprised when I saw a big Asian community living in this country.
Our contact details are: Afghan Community and Welfare Centre 28-29 Caldmore Green Caldmore Walsall. WS1 3RN Tel/Fax: 01922644889 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Jamaica National
Money Transfer Affinity Programme Jamaica National Overseas UK Ltd. (JN) has operated in the UK for the past twenty years and has assisted Jamaicans to contribute to the development of their country by remitting funds for savings; investments; home financing and helping their relatives and friends. JN works very closely with community leaders, churches and charities and during its existence in the UK, has demonstrated good corporate citizenship by making financial contributions to the communities in the UK which it serves. Over the years we have built a strong relationship with the New Testament Church of God (NTCG) - one of the largest black led churches in the UK - and over the last five years we have sponsored three annual conventions. This year we will again be proud sponsors of the 2008 Convention in Birmingham and are taking this opportunity to introduce our latest product, the JN Money Transfer Affinity Card. Through this product we will give back to the church a portion of the fees we earn on transfers sent by members of the church. Each member of the church will receive a JN Money Transfer Affinity card identifying
them as both members of the church and customers of Jamaica National. Each time they send a transfer 50% of the fee will be donated to the church. We will be offering the Affinity Card at this year’s New Testament Church of God Convention in July. The requirements for membership are very simple - all someone needs to provide is one proof of identification and one proof of address. Documents from the following list will be accepted: Proof of Identification: • A valid passport • Valid driving license • Old style (UK) driving license accompanied by valid signed photo identification • Valid provisional driving license Proof of Address: • Valid UK Driving license • Current rent book– issued by local authority • Bank / Credit card Statement (within the last 3 months) • Utility Bills, eg. Gas, Electricity, Telephone (within the last 3 months) • Water rates or council tax (within the last 3 months)
If any group, community or faith leaders would like their organisation to also benefit from the Affinity programme then please contact us.
Ms. Chari Calicharan, Promotions Coordinator Jamaica National
email@example.com 0207 708 6636 theVINE August 2008
Bend it like Birmingham City These women know the off-side rule, they can kick a ball properly and if they run like girls, it’s only because, well they are girls. I met Michelle Archer and Steph Samuels two of the longest serving members of Birmingham City Ladies Football Club and found out more about the hidden world of women’s football.
ack in 2002 the worldwide release of Bend It Like Beckham not only launched the career of Keira Knightley but put the spotlight on women’s football. Suddenly girls everywhere were donning their long socks and studs and heading out to take on the boys. Over five years on, I met two of Birmingham’s very own female footballers to see the state of the women’s game and whether girls in the Midlands are still bending it like Beckham, or like the Beckhams’ themselves has all the interest in women’s football headed stateside. Birmingham City Ladies Football Club (BCLFC) finished in ninth position last season in the top division of women’s football, the FA Women’s Premier League National Division. This league consists of 12 clubs and features all the usual suspects of the men’s game: Everton, Chelsea, Liverpool and last season’s winners Arsenal (but no Manchester United!). Below this division are two equally weighted Northern and Southern divisions. Teams in these three divisions compete for the Premier League Cup. 28
theVINE August 2008
We can’t fail to be aware of the glitz and glamour of the men’s game in the premiership. Is it the same in the women’s league? Absolutely not. Unlike the men’s game there are no fully professional teams in the women’s league.The only team to be professional was Fulham between 2000 to 2003, so now most of the teams in the top flight are semi-professional and receive a small wage. Michelle and Steph at Birmingham City certainly aren’t playing for the cash. “Well, we get a win bonus” explains Steph but in addition both women have full time jobs. Steph, 28, is a curriculum assistant at a school but is starting a graduate teaching training course in September. Michelle, 27, is currently a receptionist and is training to be a driving instructor. So, without the high pay of the men’s club, what has kept them in competitive football for the last fourteen years? “To keep your body trim,” speculates Michelle. Steph jumps in enthusiastically: “Probably friends as well because that’s where I met Michelle and we’ve stayed friends through football.”
The two certainly have had an interesting career in football. They met when spotted at the age of 14 through the Little League, which no longer exists, by the former Blues coach Tim McSweeney. The club has had a tumultuous past ten years, with team changes and financial problems. However the pair have weathered the storm, despite having left a few times, and are now the teams’ joint longest serving members. Steph and Michelle admit there are some problems with the women’s game: crowds are significantly smaller than the men’s game and parent clubs don’t usually give as much support or backing to the women’s clubs, though admittedly this varies from club to club. They don’t get paid much, if anything, in the smaller clubs and media coverage is practically non-existent. However on the other hand there are far more opportunities for girls to get involved in football than ever before, more money is getting into the game and talented girls are getting spotted and coached ever younger; Steph explains that from seven or eight-years-old young girls
are being noticed. Steph speculates that the situation could be improved if the men’s clubs gave more money or alternatively if the women’s season could be adjusted to be out of synch with the men’s season, so that more people might be tempted to attend and to avoid clashes. According to The Guardian earlier this year, the FA are already considering a summer season and reducing the number of teams to eight in the Premier League National Division, to equalize the standard of football, in a game dominated heavily by Arsenal. Both players however are increasingly thinking of hanging up their boots. At the moment Michelle is still waiting for an operation for a severe knee injury incurred whilst trying out for a friendly for Northern Ireland earlier this year. Steph, engaged to Birmingham Panther player LaTaryl Williams, has recently taken up basketball and is playing
Tel: 0121 622 622 5573 T: 0121 5659
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When I ask them their top moments in the game both light up. They reminisce about the time they played in the final Premier League Cup Final against the imposing Fulham squad in 2002, but beg me not to ask the score (“We were battered!”). Steph will also play at Wembley in the finals of the FA UMBRO Fives (a national five-a-side competition) in November: “I don’t think you can get a better place to play in the country than Wembley.” Despite the obvious inequalities in the women’s game, it is clear in their dedication to the sport, that for both women and men, football remains the beautiful game.
Sample Menu Chicken Dishes Jerk Chicken Tandoori & Mint Chicken Spicy BBQ Chicken Caribbean Chicken Niblets Curry Chicken
Want to try something new, different, tasty, healthy and good for you?
with the Kings Heath Cougars; a new addition to her hectic schedule.“At this point I’m thinking this will probably be my last season now in a 11-a-side but I’ve started playing five-a-side...I enjoy that a lot more and it’s not as much commitment,” explains Steph.
Pasta Dishes Tuna Macaroni Seasoned Noodles Pasta Spiral in a Tomato & Basil Sauce Soup and Porridge Pumpkin and Coconut Peas soup Cornmeal Porridge Banana porridge
igh ‘n’ Pay We
Meat Dishes Curried Mutton Oxtail Beef Dishes Beef Stew Rice Options Rice & Peas Seasoned Rice Basmati Rice with Coriander Other Dishes Golden Fried Dumplings Festivals, Plantain Chips, Hard Food Vegetarian Dishes Stew Peas Steamed Veg Steamed Cabbage with Sweet Peppers and carrots
Juices Carrot Juice Soursop Juice Pineapple punch Guiness Punch Orange Juice Apple Juice Pineapple Juice
Prices are set @ per 100g weight for both hot and cold selections. In the interest of health and safety and food hygiene please ensure that your food containers can be fully closed before weighing.
Salad & Fruit Dishes Selection of Fresh Fruits, Grated Carrots & Sultanas, Pasta with Mint Sauce & Mayonnaise Dressing, Coleslaw, Sweet Corn, Salad Soft Drinks J20’s Apple & Mango Apple & Blackcurrant Orange & Passion fruit Apple and Melon Supermalt, Coke, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Strawberry water, Tropical water Orange & peach water Lemon & Lime water Plain water
Lunch Adult £5.99 Children £3.99 Under 8’s
Ofﬁce meetings and parties—whatever the event we will provide top quality food.
Evening Adult £11.99 Children £5.99 Under 8’s
“I don’t think you can get a better place to play in the country than Wembley.”
yo u c an e
See it. Sample it. Eat it. Love it.
It is not permited to bring drinks into the resturant. The buffet price does not include food to be taken away from the restaurant. Lunch consist of a reduced menu. All dishes are subject to availability. We reserve the right to change the dishes and prices without prior notice. Please note that at busy times the standard seating time is for, 1.5hrs subject to demand. All customers occupying a seat must pay in full for a meal. We reserve the right to refuse to serve any customer or to recieve payment for all food and drinks prior to consumption.
theVINE August 2008
2008 Sandwell Family Bike Rides Cycling in
Sunday Rides DATE LEADERS 3 August...................Simon/Geoff 7 September...............Pam/Steve 5 October....................Carol/Keith 2 November................John/Geoff 7 December...............Geoff/Carol
Help us to help you Make sure your bike is roadworthy. Please bring a spare inner tube of the correct size for your bike, a pump, and if you have them some tyre levers and a basic repair kit. These will help others to help you if you have any mechanical problems. If you use an inhaler, bring it with you, just in case. Finally, please have any luggage on your bike securely attached.
For more information contact: Dene Stevens Walking and Cycling Development Worker Sandwell Primary Care Trust on 0121 612 1660
theVINE August 2008
p~ÇÇäÉ=ìé=~åÇ=àçáå=`óÅäáåÖ=áå p~åÇïÉääDë=ÅóÅäÉ=êáÇÉë=~êçìåÇ=p~åÇïÉää s~ääÉóK==^ää=êáÇÉë=~êÉ=ëÜçêí=~åÇ=É~ëó=ENM ãáäÉë=ã~ñF=~åÇ=Ñçääçï=çÑÑJêç~Ç=é~íÜë çê=ãáåçê=êç~ÇëK qÜÉ=êáÇÉë=ëí~êí=~í=íÜÉ=ë~ãÉ=éä~ÅÉ=~åÇ íáãÉI=ëç=áíDë=É~ëó=íç=êÉãÉãÄÉêK==qÜÉ ëí~êíáåÖ=íáãÉ=áë=NMKMM~ã=çå=íÜÉ=Ñáêëí pìåÇ~ó=çÑ=íÜÉ=ãçåíÜK qÜÉ=ëí~êíáåÖ=éçáåí=áë=íÜÉ=ï~ê=ãÉãçêá~ä áå=a~êíãçìíÜ=m~êâI=tÉëí=_êçãïáÅÜ=~åÇ êáÇÉêë=êÉíìêå=íç=íÜáë=éçáåí=~í=íÜÉ=ÉåÇ=çÑ íÜÉáê=êáÇÉK pçãÉ=êáÇÉ=äÉ~ÇÉêë=ã~ó=ÅÜççëÉ=íç=î~êó íÜÉ=êçìíÉ=~=äáííäÉ=Ñçê=~ÇÇÉÇ=áåíÉêÉëíK mäÉ~ëÉ=ÄêáåÖ=~=Çêáåâ=~åÇ=ëå~Åâ=ïáíÜ óçìK==qÜÉ=êáÇÉë=ïáää=ÑáåáëÜ=ÄÉÑçêÉ äìåÅÜíáãÉ=É~ÅÜ=Ç~óK=vçì=ã~ó=ÅÜççëÉ íç=Äìó=äìåÅÜ=Ä~Åâ=~í=íÜÉ=p~åÇïÉää=m~êâ c~êã=Å~ÑÉK Children under 16 should be accompanied by an adult. Cycling in Sandwell does not accept liability for loss, damage or injury incurred.
Celebrating diversity Sandwell Homes in partnership with Sandwell Council’s Community Services are holding a cultural diversity event at the Sandwell Show this coming bank holiday. 24th and 25th August 2008.
You will also have the opportunity to collect a number of different recipe cards which will also contain information on the value and beliefs of the different communities.
This event which is held at the Sandwell Valley Park attracts over 80,000 people from within Sandwell and the surrounding towns.
The cooking demonstration will include recipes from a number of cultures; • Bangladeshi • Yemini • Somalion • Caribbean • Indian • Polish and • Black Country!
To recognise the diversity of the people who live in the borough as well as recognizing new emerging communities with people from eastern Europe coming to work in the area, the ‘celebrating diversity’ will aim to raise awareness amongst communities together through sharing cultural values and beliefs. On the day you can expect to find a number of fun and interactive activities aimed at celebrating the diversity of Sandwell. You will have the opportunity to watch live cooking demonstrations of traditional recipes from different countries and taste the actual food that is cooked!
The event will take place in the large community marquee and they will include activities which will be of interest to all, such as; • Henna painting from the Yemeni Community Association. • Hair braiding representing the African and Caribbean communities. • Threading representing the Indian and Pakistani communities A number of performing artistes will take centre stage to entertain the audience. It will include; • Mime artist
• Traditional Bangladeshi dancers • Exotic belly dancers • Bhangra drummers and dancers • Traditional Somali dancers. There will also be a number activities for young children which will include face painting, balloon modelling and a children’s clown called Flip! On the day there will be specific ‘greeters’ who have multi-lingual skills including; • Arabic • Polish • British sign language • Punjabi • Somali The Sandwell show is a free fun interactive event running from 11.00am to 4.00pm on both days.
For further details please contact Humaa Noori (Diversity Officer) at Sandwell Homes on 0121 569 6383 or by e-mail on humaa_noori@ sandwellhomes.org.uk
theVINE August 2008
Making a difference to children’s lives As part of their jobs as sports coaches Denton and Vincent came into contact with a lot of young people. Concerned by some of the behavioural problems they were seeing at work, they decided to try and do something about it.
incent came to live in England when he was 13. Back in the 1970s a friend invited him to go to a Martial Arts class to keep fit. This turned out to be a major turning point in his life. He not only took part in competitions, he was soon teaching the sport full-time to people of all ages. In his coaching Vincent noticed the way that some young people communicated with each other, feeling that some were quite disrespectful to their peers. “In Jamaica you have a lot of responsibility as a child, so when I came to England I still held that sense of responsibility for those younger them me”. He adds “I thought to myself, if I work with children from a junior school age, then maybe I can help them with their confidence and show them other ways to communicate – give them something different to think about and turn things around in a positive way.”
children learn so he enrolled on a childcare course with Birmingham Adult Education Service.
Denton has a similar tale to tell. While working as a football coach he had noticed that some of the children he trained were lacking in both educational and interpersonal skills. He decided to try and make a difference and to help the children in his community develop into happier, more rounded individuals. Although Denton had children of his own he thought it would be good to have a better understanding of how
He says this about his teaching experiences “The difference in ages and attitudes are so varied, all the things that you think should come naturally to children don’t always, and you just want to instil what’s right and what’s wrong in them from an early age.”
theVINE August 2008
Both Vincent and Denton have fulltime jobs but they have been able to complete Levels 1 & 2 in Classroom and Teaching Assistant courses with BAES, working their shifts around the classes. Now well on their way to completing Level 3 in Children’s Care, Learning and Development. Vincent says, “I’ve never done so much work, but it’s been worth it. You get to work with young people and other adults”. Three years on both men have gained a wealth of experience in working with children of all ages. Denton is currently approaching the end of his work placement at St Chad’s Primary School where he has been involved with helping young children improve their literacy and numeracy skills.
Both men have found their own learning journeys to be rewarding
and are keen to continue studying while using their new skills within their local communities. Denton has enjoyed the courses and said “The best part of the NVQ course for me was the placement; it gave real hands on experience – you can see what you have learnt in class when it is put into practice.” Denton would work with children fulltime if he is given the opportunity, “I’m not exactly sure at this point how I will incorporate what I’ve learnt into the workplace, but I would like to be a Child Mentor or Teaching Assistant.” When Vincent is not learning about children he is putting his knowledge into practice and works in the after school club at Woodview Primary School and on the summer scheme at Newtown Community Centre in Birmingham. He aims to carry on working with children of all ages in schools. “I want to encourage them to be good leaders rather than followers.” It’s all about lifelong learning and gaining knowledge and experience. To find out more about working with children and for help to find the right course for you please contact Birmingham Adult Education Service’s Information Line on 0121 303 4318 or call into your local BAES centre.
October 2007.qxp:Layout 1
theVine shows you everything great that’s happening in your community! Now, do you feel like doing something great? HOW ABOUT DONATING BLOOD? Because currently less than 0.5% of the donor base come from the black community. GIVING BLOOD = SAVING LIVES! It’s that simple. FILL OUT THE FORM BELOW AND SEND IT TO US—FREEPOST—AND IN RETURN WE WILL GIVE YOU ALL THE INFORMATION YOU NEED ABOUT BLOOD DONOR SESSIONS IN YOUR AREA. THERE’S NO OBLIGATION—WE JUST LET YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON IN YOUR AREA AND WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU DO CHOOSE TO DONATE BLOOD AND SAVE LIVES.
?.............................................................. To do something amazing simply fill out this form and send it FREEPOST in an envelope to: Donor Marketing Dept, (ref. VINE), FREEPOST, National Blood Service, Vincent Drive, Birmingham, B15 2SG. (Mr/Mrs/Miss/Ms)
F I R STN AM E :............................................................................................... SUR NAM E :................................................................................................... ADDR E SS: ………..……….....………....………………............................ …………………………….……………....................................................... …………………………................................................................................ ........................................................................................................................ P OST C ODE :….……………....................................................................... D.O.B :............................................E M AI L :................................................. H OM E TE L : ...................................M OB I L E :........................................... SI G NATUR E :............................................................................................... DATE :............................................................................................................
I’d also like to learn more about bone marrow donation For Office Use Only: Recruitment Code ...................
I w ould like to j oin the NHS Blood Donor Register as someone w ho may be contacted and w ould be prepared to dona te blood. I understa nd that the National Blood Serv ice (NBS) or its par tners may contact me by letter, phone, SMS (text message) or e-mail w ith details of local donor session. I agree to the NBS hol ding m y personal details on their donor data base and processing this
theVINE August 2008
Our fab new food page- news, reviews and recipes. Tuck in!
This creamy, delicious dish was apparently first devoured by Italian peasants for breakfast. It originated in Northern Italy where there are an abundance of rice paddies. To make risotto you need to buy special type of high-starch rice, which is easily available in most supermarkets. There are three main types of risotto rice: arborio, carnaroli and vialone nano. A standard procedure is used to make it. First cook the rice briefly in butter or oil, then add a ladle full of hot stock at a time until it is absorbed, mixing constantly. A range of ingredients and wine can also be added. It takes approximately twenty minutes to cook and at the end the rice should still be slightly firm with separate grains, within a rich sauce. Typically grated parmesan or butter is mixed into the cooked risotto, and then voila.
recipe recipe recipe recipe recipe recipe recipe recipe recipe recipe
Roast Pumpkin & Swiss Chard Risotto Serves 4 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Ingredients 600g pumpkin 4 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp maple syrup A pinch cinnamon powder 50g blanched almonds, chopped 225g trimmed leek, finely chopped Method Heat oven to Gas 5/ 190C/ 375F 1. Cut the pumpkin into quarters, peel and de-seed. Then cut into thick slices/segments (approx 12-15cm) and place in a roasting pan. Mix together 2 tbsp oil, maple syrup and cinnamon and drizzle over the pumpkin. Roast for 25-30 minutes until tender, take out of the oven and cut into large dice. 2. In a small frying pan heat 1 tsp oil and lightly toast the almonds until golden. Set aside.
250g Arborio or Carnaroli risotto rice 100ml vegetarian dry white wine 900ml-1litre light vegetable stock 150g Swiss chard (leaves only) roughly shredded 1 tbsp single cream or soya cream* Season to taste To serve A squeeze of lemon juice to taste Can be vegan*
3. Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and sauté the leek until soft. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated and slightly golden. Pour in the wine and stir until it is absorbed. 4. Add one ladle of hot stock and simmer until absorbed. Repeat. After 10 minutes add the chard and let wilt. Continue to add stock at intervals and cook until absorbed into the rice (you may not need all the stock). Season well with salt and pepper. 5. Once rice is tender but still very slightly al dente, add the cream and cook for a further minute before adding the pumpkin. Remove from heat, cover and rest for 2 minutes. When ready to serve sprinkle over the roasted almonds and a squeeze of lemon juice. © The Vegetarian Society – (recipe created by the Cordon Vert cookery school) www.vegsoc.org.
theVINE August 2008
taurant review restaurant review restaurant review restaurant review restaurant review restaurant review restaurant review restaurant review restaurant
food fact food fact food fact food fact
Restaurant Being a carnivore at heart, vegetarian restaurants have never appealed but Sibila’s came highly recommended, so we gave the buffet lunch a try. The restaurant is inside the Body and Being day spa in Canal Square. Located in a serene spot with a canal view, Sibila’s seems a million miles away from Broad Street, only a five minute walk away. The food reflects the ethos of the spa, with organic ingredients used and cooked healthily. For a bargain £5.99 we had a soup starter and mung bean and couscous salad, followed by a selection of hot main meals. I am wary of tofu but the smoked tofu in a garmadki sauce was delicious. The tofu was packed full of flavour and the Japanese sauce was rich and sweet. There was also a good Thai vegetable green curry, a moreish pesto stuffed pasta with double cream and a chick pea stew. Accompaniments included basmati rice and quinoa, an unusual and couscous-like grain. Sibila’s provides a real selection for vegetarians and vegans or in fact anyone wanting nutritious but appetizing food- with unusual textures and flavours in each dish. The deserts are less saintly, with an impressive selection of vegan ice creams and cakes. However the chocolate brownie cheesecake was simply divine: a rich chocolate topping on an unusually grainy base with a hint of honey. I’ll be back- both for my next vegetable and chocolate fix. Sibla’s buffet lunch takes place between 12-3 Mon-Sun and the a la carte evening service is available from 6pm. Call 0121 456 7634. Sibila’s Restaurant. Canal Square, Browning Street, Birmingham. B16 8EH
SHAKTI WOMEN – WE HAVE THE POWER! Shakti Women is a network of business and professional women. Shakti means power, energy and creativity and our organisation has all three. We were established to appeal to women from all walks of life that celebrate and value diversity. Our aim is to provide networking, social events, business and professional support to our members and to help them navigate the complexities of 21st century life. ‘BY MEETING LIKE MINDED SPIRITUAL, BEAUTIFUL INTELLIGENT WOMEN FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE, HAS GIVEN ME A GREATER PERMISSION TO REACH FOR THE STARS, THERE IS NO LIMIT.’ Shakti Woman
Future Shakti Women events include business support packages, business seminars, health and well being activities, leadership training, comedy nights, jazz nights, Ascot ladies day, wine tasting, cocktail evenings and pampering days. Shakti Women is set to becoming one of the strongest networks in the UK. Individual membership is £117.50 but we have frozen our offer for 2008 at £25, so register now. Voluntary and community organisations welcome. Call Siobhan on 0121 456 5122 or visit shaktighar.org.uk/women
‘Be a Queen Own Your Power’ Oprah Winfrey
We are a new and dynamic network established to support the needs of 21st century women. We spend our time juggling career, business, family, home and personal development. We try to be superwomen but we have so few terms for reference as culture, freedoms and society has changed beyond recognition. That’s why Shakti Women provides a range of support activity to include on-line chat rooms, networking, social events and access to training (business planning, peer mentoring, leadership and self awareness). Our members also get free membership to Alhambra Members Club, 20% off beauty treatments at the Clarendon and huge discounts at the Marriott Spa.
Every woman I have ever met has the potential for greatness but so many of us hide our light and give away our power. Shakti Women own their power and give each other permission to shine.
Shakti Women “We have the Power”!
“Shakti” means power, energy and creativity .Shakti Women are women who are interested in finding happiness and fulfilment and are willing to address our greatest fears to discover what truly makes us authentic. So come on ladies, sign up today, become a Shakti Woman and own your own unique power. Siobhan Harper-Nunes, Shakti Woman. For more information about Shakti Women speak to Siobhan. T: 0121 456 5122 E: Siobhan@shaktighar.org.uk W: www.shaktighar.org.uk theVINE August 2008
Show of the Month - No. 1
Eddie Grant Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton
JULES ANNAN / CONCERTPHOTOGRAPHY.CO.UK
I suspect Eddie Grant has been dipped in the Fountain of Youth, for despite his sixty years, his ninety minute set was an energetic display of singing, Lenny Kravitzstyle guitar playing and even grinding. It was no surprise by the end of the show young women were running up to the stage simply to touch this living legend. Initially timid, by the end of the show the audience were moving to the rhythm and singing with gusto. He flirted harmlessly with the audience and could react well to the Wolverhampton banter. “Tek off your shirt!” roared one woman, to which Eddie joked that the tickets must be misleading the audience as to his occupation and that we were a “dirty lot”. I digress a little, but Eddie certainly knows how to charm an audience. Back to the music, we were treated to his entire repertoire from the oldies like Baby Come Back, Living on the Frontline and Do You Feel My Love, to recent material like Hearts and Diamonds and Reparation. The audience erupted in song for the big hits like I Don’t Wanna Dance, Electric Avenue and the biggest hit of the night proved to be Gimme Hope Jo’anna.
However whilst his well known songs were always going to prove popular, Eddie’s musical skill and ability to combine catchy tunes with hard hitting messages, meant that I found all of his set equally enjoyable. Eddie has a real skill. He can sing, he can dance and he showed real graciousness towards his talented backing singers and band. This forever young star can truly teach some of the younger musicians how it’s supposed to be done. D.B
Book of the Month
Edited by Judy Stone
Under The Perfume Tree Macmillan Caribbean
This is an interesting anthology which explores the history of the West Indies. This book blurs the line between history and fiction, with twelve very different pieces: extracts from novels, autobiographies, family histories or recreations of past events. This unorthodox mix can at times be a little patchy and not all of it could be classed as great literature, but that isn’t necessarily the strength of this book. Its strength lies in the fact that it explores the different ethnic mix and cultures that make up the West Indies and gives an insight into their beliefs and experiences, covering all the different islands and giving a sense of their individuality. It covers an intriguing mix of people, from the naïve Amerindians in Dominica in the 16th century, to the ambitious Dutch and English settlers who moved over in the late 18th century, to the indentured Indian and Chinese labour brought over after 36
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slavery supposedly ended.All classes and social groups of the West Indian culture are covered: from the “bram” parties in Barbados where adults drank and danced on a Saturday night to the sound of calypso and neighbours would provide food for an extra income, to the more privileged lifestyle of those of European descent or “local white”, who were able to afford servants, had jobs in the colonial government and could even afford cars. The book depicts the West Indies as islands of constant demographic change and fluidity, with rich cultures and diversity. The islands have also been home to slavery and abuse, as well as opportunity and emancipation and this book covers both sides of the coin.The final story A Clouded Sun by Ryhaan Shah tells of the diaspora in the late 20th century, as people from the islands came to study in England and it is a brilliant coming of age extract. Despite its flaws, this collection is an enlightening and I would suggest, essential, read. D.B
Show of the Month - No. 2
A Mother Speaks
his amazingly powerful one woman show reduced myself and fellow audience members to tears. It told the story of a mother, Mrs Morris, who loses her son to gun violence and then exerts a shocking revenge. A simple stage setting manages to cleverly convey a variety of locations and there was an effective use of sound and lighting.
in his room. A light beginning leads to a stunningly dark and disturbing ending, in which the mother’s raw emotions and absolute rage are spilled out. This play raises questions and doesn’t necessary offer answers: how can people move on from the loss of a relative to gang violence, is there real justice and is the black community helping or hindering the legal system?
We never see the son in question, Gavin, so phone conversations and anecdotes create an impression of him. His clothes and belongings are sprawled over one half of the stage but his physical absence from the play brings home the tragedy pointedly. With a simple stage and only one actor, this could easily go wrong- but it doesn’t. Judd Batchelor delivers a tour-de-force, able to amuse, entertain and stun the audience.
This is theatre at its very best. It takes the current hot debate on gang violence away from the sensationalism of the press and makes us look at those involved and how they feel. Judd Batchelor who singularly wrote and performed this piece, spoke to women who had lost their children in both gang violence and road accidents and the passion in which she performs this piece shows how much she has invested in this issue. At the end we are shown a photo montage of the young lives taken by gun or gang violence this year. This is both a wonderful achievement by Judd and a powerful indictment of the times we live in. D.B
The play starts lightly, telling of Gavin’s birth, Gavin’s first days at school and her discovery of her son’s increasing maturity as she discovers a used condom
A Mother Speaks will also be playing at the Hackney Empire, London, from the 30th September to the 5th October.
theVINE August 2008
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theVINE August 2008
The African HIV Policy Network (AHPN) The AHPN is an alliance of African community-based organisations and their supporters working for fair policies for people living with HIV & AIDS in the UK, providing training, support, research and information. The AHPN is the only African organisation in the UK whose work is dedicated to policy, advocacy and representation at national level. Its major focus is on HIV and the sexual health of Africans in the UK. Our Work Our work focuses on mobilising and strengthening communities so that they can respond to HIV & AIDS themselves. We are an initiative of people, forums, organisations and communities working towards a shared vision by supporting effective community responses to HIV & AIDS. We believe that effective advocacy must be inclusive of the voice of those most vulnerable to HIV. Given the level of stigma that exists within African communities and in the wider social and political context advocacy can mean exposing yourself as HIV positive and/or a migrant. The conclusion for many Africans living with and/or affected by HIV is that participation in informing
policy and advocacy activities can mean exposing oneself to being discriminated against. As such the AHPN’s capability to effectively advocate on their behalf is critical. National African HIV Prevention Programme (NAHIP) NAHIP is a Department of Healthfunded programme managed by the AHPN. It works in partnerships with African community based organisations across England to deliver HIV prevention interventions. In its continued quest to deliver HIV prevention programmes targeted at Africans living in England, NAHIP launched a gender focused campaign with the theme “Doing it Right, Africans making healthy choices”, to raise awareness of the rights to: • Sexual health Information, • Access to sexual health services, • Sexual choices and • Safety in sexual situations. The partnership believes that every person has the right to prevent on ward transmission; risk of HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections; and to be able to have enjoyable, fulfilling and safer sex lives regardless of their gender.
theVINE August 2008
NELSON MANDELA Imagine growing up in a country where drinking out of the wrong water fountain might get you thrown into jail; where a man might have the very same job as his neighbour, but because of the colour of his skin, get paid less in a year than the other man made in a week; where the government told you that your ancestors and their ways of living were wrong and savage and not even human. Sounds like some futuristic film, doesnâ€™t it? Well, for Nelson Mandela, this was no movie. Growing up in South Africa under the apartheid system of government meant these things, and worse, were part of daily life. But Nelson Mandela was a fighter. Instead of bowing down to this unjust system of government, he became a lifelong warrior in the battle to free South Africa. Starting out as a leader of an underground political movement called the African National Congress (ANC); Mr. Mandela played a part in many dramatic demonstrations against the white-ruled government. His career in the ANC was cut short in 1964 when he was sentenced to life in prison. The notorious Rivonia Trial, as his sentencing was called, is now seen as nothing more than a cruel ploy used by the white South African government to silence Nelson Mandela once and for all. But even while in prison, Mandela continued to be a beacon of hope for his people who carried on the struggle against apartheid in his absence. In 1990, after 27 years of imprisonment, Mandela was freed. His release marked the beginning of the end for apartheid. In less than five years after his release, Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and elected president of South Africa. Today, thanks to the self-sacrifice of Nelson Mandela, apartheid has been outlawed. Everyone in South Africa now has an opportunity at home and at work to live comfortable, productive lives. Nelson Mandela is one of the worldâ€™s true freedom fighters, and his life and personal triumphs will be remembered long after the world has forgotten the evils of apartheid. Mr. Mandela you are a father, hero and role model to many and you have taught us many important aspects of life.You taught us never to give up and always fight for justice, revenge does not work and finally we must learn to forgive, irrespective of the harm that the other person did to you. Happy Birthday Mr. Mandela and may God continue to bless and shine through you. THE VINE 40
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theVINE August 2008
NATIONAL BAND OF BROTHERS 2008 CONFERENCE Join 2000 men at the National Band of Brothers 2008 conference. The only conference in the UK exclusively for males aged 12 years and over. Saturday 27th September, Birmingham. 10am – 6pm.
Guys, life’s a journey Where are you on yours? Join 2000 men at this year’s national conference in September. These one day events from The Men’s Room began in 2005 and have simply got bigger and better. If you came last time, you’ll know it’s a ‘must attend.’ If you’re new to The Men’s Room, come along and judge for yourself.
Throughout the day you’ll hear some wonderful and thought-provoking presentations, including: > the hot topic: Men’s Health > Leadership: how to bring the right qualities into your life > The Word on the Street: what’s happening around the UK? > Life stories: men share with you some powerful, personal stories
The National Band of Brothers 2008 conference will change lives. Ask the And help make this the best people who’ve been before. ever National Band of Join us in Birmingham and celebrate your achievements, be inspired and Brothers conference. Mothers > tell your sons Wives > tell your husbands Girlfriends > tell your boyfriends
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WHERE ARE YOU? > BE INSPIRED > BE CHALLENGED > GET INVOLVED > MAKE A DIFFERENCE...
“WHERE ARE YOU?” Bishop Dr. Derek Webley MBE will be your special guest speaker. Bishop Webley is one of the most inspirational servants of the New Testament Church of God and a renowned speaker worldwide. He works tirelessly in community relations on policing, race, diversity and social justice matters, as well as sharing his love for community arts, enterprise and education.
JOIN: Join 2000 men and answer the Bishop’s challenge ‘Where are you?’ Listen. Ask. Discuss. Learn.
make a real difference – to yourselves, your friends and your families. Know Where You Are.
The Men’s Room is probably the fastest growing men’s movement in the UK. We exist to give all men the opportunity to reach their full potential. We develop better men, husbands, fathers and leaders.
The Bethel Convention Centre Kelvin Way, West Bromwich Birmingham B70 7JW www.bethelconventioncentre.co.uk
Saturday 27th September 2008. Conference begins at 10am. THIS YEAR WE’RE GOING TO BIRMINGHAM. The Bethel Convention Centre is a purpose-built venue that understands how to look after you. Comfort, style and service means the National Band of Brothers 2008 conference will not only be valuable and memorable, but also thoroughly enjoyable. Your entry fee to the conference is only £10 per person for the whole day. You can book groups in advance and guarantee your place by credit card (call Barry Hutchinson on 07703 471869) or simply turn up on the day and pay at the door.
Your regional contacts for The Men’s Room are: South London: Linton Thompson North London: Sylburn McLean Home Counties: Dale Clark South West: Michael Hall Midlands: Rob Clarke North: Linton Robinson North West: Chris Falade Phil Griffiths
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Or to find out more about The Men’s Room, visit www.themens-room.org.uk
“We must learn to live together as brothers, or perish together as fools.” Martin Luther King Jr
Bantock House & Park - Bilston Craft Gallery - Wolverhampton Art Gallery
GOSPEL EXPRESS ACADEMY An accredited Centre offers: COURSES (Day/evening & week-end sessions) Starts September 2008 • Applied Christian Studies • Counseling Skills • Managing Diversity • Performance Skills – Gospel
OPEN DAY/INFORMATION Thursday 10th July at 12:00pm – 2:00pm Handsworth Fire Station, 41 Rookery Rd, Handsworth, B21 9QU To register for a place or to request a prospectus contact: Deborah Harrison (director) 58 Rookery Road, Handsworth, B21 9NB Tel: 0121 523 5297 or 07947 989 564 Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
come on over to our place Free events at Wolverhampton's galleries and museums
Family highlights Jamaican Independence Day activities at Wolverhampton Art Gallery Wed 6 August, 11am - 2pm Window to the World Garden Party at Bilston Craft Gallery Sun 24 August, 1pm – 5pm 1940s Open Day at Bantock House Sun 14 and Sun 21 September, 11am – 5pm The Big Draw at Wolverhampton Art Gallery Mon 27 Oct – Sat 1 Nov, 11am – 1pm To find out more go to www.wolverhamptonart.org.uk
theVINE August 2008
The One to Watch T
yrone Singleton was trained at the Arts Educational School in Tring and at the Royal Ballet School. He performed with the National Youth Ballet and was offered a place with Birmingham Royal Ballet.
‘I didn’t actually graduate’, he confesses. ‘I came a year early’. His ascent so far has been impressive: Tyrone was promoted to First Artist in 2005 and Soloist in 2007. Since then, he has been taking on increasingly bigger roles, culminating in lead performances in Swan Lake in Spring 2008. This fulfilled an early ambition for Tyrone. ‘The classical roles are definitely ones that made an impression when I was younger: Swan Lake, Nutcracker, – and I aspired to dance them. That’s probably half my goal; to dance as many of the classical roles as possible, as well as the more modern stuff we do. I love Romeo and Juliet, and did Benvolio last time around. One day I’d love to do Romeo. It would be one of my favourite roles to do, although it’s out of my hands so fingers crossed!’
He still however enjoys the more modern roles that he performs. The Swan Lake tour earlier this year also presented three jazz ballets by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Director, David Bintley. Tyrone regularly appeared in each of the three pieces. For the time being the 2008-09 season provides yet more new pieces for the young dancer to get his teeth into. ‘I’ve been getting a lot of opportunities recently, and it’s all still in the early stages so everything’s still a challenge’. When asked if the acting element of a classical ballet performance is something that he feels confident with he says, ‘Surprisingly, I enjoy it’, before admitting, ‘I used to find myself getting embarrassed and timid, but maybe because I’ve been dancing for a while now I don’t shy away from acting any more. I don’t get embarrassed too easily: I’ve danced half naked on stage so everything else is a breeze!’ Tyrone Singleton is performing in Beauty and the Beast Birmingham Hippodrome from 1 - 5 October
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theVINE August 2008
Dramatically Different Everyday a new headline about broken Britain and violent youth hits the press. In Tipton however this group of “hoodies” are just dreaming of dance and have big plans to create their own dance school.
hen I met four members of Dramatic Movements during their rehearsal, I arrived two hours late, lost and stressed. The young men on the other hand were extremely courteous and forgiving and even willing to be late for their next appointment. Perhaps if I had met them in the street; four teenage boys in tracksuits, headscarves and jewellery; I would judge them immediately as a band of the “youth” that the press seems to constantly cite as a thoroughly “bad lot”. Instead after meeting them, watching them perform (me sitting on a chair, feeling like a judge on Britain’s Got Talent) and chatting to them, I can only commend them as the level headed, ambitious and talented group of young men that they are. Altogether there are eight members of Dramatic Movement but I only met four: Shane Simpson, 17; Jovan Rumble, 19; James Nicholson, 18 and Amar Bains, 18. As most of the members are still at college or school they have to fit around different rehearsal times and don’t always meet as a collective. They try to train two times a week but since most of them are at the Matthew Boulton College studying dance, they meet almost everyday and they are prone to burst into dance in any location. “We have actually been known to start dancing at a bus stop,” admits James. The group initially formed a year ago, the brainchild of James and Shane,
and members initially trickled in and out. However the current line up “the best yet” reflects the most committed members and has been going strong for four months. They are now making waves and since February have been booked at over 30 events; anything from club nights and parties to the recent opening of The Public gallery in West Bromwich. The boys squirm slightly when I ask if they have a growing entourage. They do, but this seems to embarrass them a little. What strikes about the group is both their original dance style but also their mature approach towards a very ambitious aim. Each member was usually recommended by friends and accepted if they could bring a new style or skill. “We’re always looking for that little bit more,” explains James. This not only included good dance skills but the right mental attitude, with both commitment, the ability to gel with the team and good business skills. As most members learn dance at college their repertoire covers the whole range, even including completely alien forms to me; from ballet, African and contemporary, to break dancing, house and crump. Their performances largely consist of street dance routines but have a fusion and influence of these different styles. “I think that’s why when we dance we’re so different to other groups, because we’ve got such a versatile style,” Amar explains. The group invent their own moves and teach them to the other members;
hence they are a bridge between the classical traditions of dance and the innovation of the street. Then there are the big plans the group have. They all want a career in dance and would like to tour the world, before setting up their own dance school. This may seem a tall order but the group are focused and committed, with their youthful energy fixed on an obtainable goal.They give me a spirited defence of why the get-famous-quick route of TV talent shows just isn’t for them. James explains: “They look for people with a gimmick and to be fair that isn’t what we are…With these sorts of things, I believe they will come in time- if they’re meant to come, they will come.” There is also substantially more to their ambition than fame or money. They tell me that after their performances they get young people coming up to them, asking them how to do different moves and how to join- even as young as five, and this is a real incentive. Jovan continues further: “We’d like to influence a lot of youths our age to come off the street. You know you see a lot of youths on the street: smoking drinking, doing violent things. That’s what we’re trying to prove; that youths round the area or the West Midlands have something constructive to do.” Email them at dramaticmovements@ lycos.com or go to www.myspace. com/dramaticmovements theVINE August 2008
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theVINE August 2008
recently ‘phoned a client to confirm a meeting to discuss some staff training issues. I was shocked when she cancelled the meeting, stating a staff member had said he would prefer to resign rather than have to do further training. People are the most important assets in a business and the people within a business are a team. Many employees are perfectly happy in their current circumstances and some will be concerned about the implications of retraining. All very well for the individual involved, but what if a business need has been identified which requires that person to be up-skilled? The National Audit Office estimates that £10 billion per year is lost to the UK economy because of skills gaps within companies. The message is clear – train, re-train and up-skill your staff if you want your business to achieve its full potential. The reality is that, in these difficult times, the training need identified by the employer above, could
be the difference between the success or failure of her business. So how could the employer have addressed her employee’s unwillingness to re-train? There are several options: 1. HR Policies Even if you only plan to employ one person, a simple set of written HR rules, outlining company policy in all areas, including training, is essential to cover the organisation legally and avoid future problems. 2. Performance Management Monitoring staff performance and implementing a simple system of regular meetings to discuss the results, will enable an employer to highlight skills and training issues within a formal framework and provide a forum for employees to give feedback. 3. Communication If an employee is unwilling to take up training, the obvious question to ask is “Why?” Sitting down and talking to
the employee, emphasising the reasons why staff training is important for the business and trying to get to the root of the employee’s concerns, should help to overcome the objections and may reveal other training needs. Regular open communication with your employees is essential – “it’s good to talk”. For more details on training available to local businesses, call me on the number below, or contact Business Link, the business support agency on 0845 113 1234, www.businesslinkwm.co.uk. Michael Barrows runs Matrix Marketing & Management, a consultancy organisation providing nononsense, real world solutions to help businesses grow and develop. Contact him on: Tel: 07974 210797 Email: email@example.com
Michelle Grindley, Women’s Business Development Agency (WBDA), Broad Street Enterprise Centre, Coventry
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theVINE August 2008
Well Mind, Well Body, Well Being… Well get to Jamaica this October for the Inaugural Rose Hall Triathlon and Wellness Festival
o many of us are warming to the idea of looking after our health and well-being as we battle the rigours of 21st century living. But, as with the New Year, after Christmas bingeing, many will be starting again with summer resolutions when they return from their holidays and no doubt, tiresome gym routines and plates of brown rice will leave them once again uninspired. Well, here’s your chance to take all that up a notch or two and combine health and holiday and kick start yourself on a more exciting road to better health. If you’re still looking around for a Caribbean holiday in October, here’s your chance to experience history and participate in Jamaica’s first Rose Hall Triathlon and Wellness Festival as the island stands on the brink of becoming the Caribbean’s premier sports tourism capital and wellness hub. The event takes place from October 23 – 26 in Rose Hall, Jamaica’s ‘elegant corridor’, just outside of Montego Bay. The Wellness Festival will highlight unique healing methods which have been practiced in Jamaica for generations, as well as a diverse realm of universally-recognized wellness traditions, most of which have made their way from the East to Jamaica’s shores. Among a host of activities and events, nutritional expert, Dr. Aris LaTham will demonstrate his ‘life food’ method of cooking without heat. His techniques are documented on his ‘Sunfire Cuisine – The Art of Raw Foods’ DVD. Other features include product displays, talks, seminars, tours to local 48
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charities and award winning actress, Makeda Solomon, hosting a children’s wellness programme. MaryKay Mullally, a California based Jamaican who was nominated Picture of Health finalist in ABC News and Prevention Magazine’s Picture of Health competition, will also be attending the festival. Each morning of the festival, participants will have the opportunity to participate in an organised exercise activity. Prestigious resorts, Iberostar, Ritz-Carlton and Rose Hall Resort will be hosting a swim, a bike ride and a jog respectively on each morning. These will all be mini versions of the triathlon and then comes the big triathlon on the final day, Sunday, 26th. This is not for the faint hearted! The triathlon will be led by an international field of triathletes, including husband and wife Greg and Laura Bennett who will represent their countries, Australia and U.S. respectively, in the Beijing Games; Julie Swail Ertel, qualifier for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Triathlon team and Jordan Rapp, bronze medal winner in the Arizona Ironman race. Jamaican Olympians, members of Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz national soccer team, Jamaican beauty queens and competitors from all over the world will also be participating, all competing for a prize of U.S. $10,000. The features
triathlon a 10-
kilometre run at Cinnamon Hill, against the backdrop of the sparkling Caribbean Sea, a 1500-meter swim at Iberostar Rose Hall Resort and Sprint Cycling through the luxuriant Spring Farm, closing at the historic Rose Hall Great House. Kathy Marley, coordinator of the Wellness Festival, said: “The Rosehall Triathlon and Wellness festival is a many tiered event. Altogether, it will raise the curtain on many of Jamaica’s unique holistic healing methods that have so far been shrouded in mystery and hearsay. With the skills of our farmers in organic growing practices and the culinary craft of our Rastafarians who create the tastiest low-cholesterol, low sodium and vitamin-rich meals, what all of this adds up to is the fact that Jamaica is poised to becoming the Wellness Centre of the world, promoting ‘well body, well mind and well-being. Ideally, this equals a well environment.” Well, what can we say? Just be there!
Aerial view of Rose Hall and the surrounding countryside that Triathlon participants will run and ride through.
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