Saved by the Bell

I was pleased to hear yesterday from Emilio Places-Rey of the West End Boys’ Amateur Boxing Club to let me know that the boxing club’s great work with young people in Dundee is featured in the “Real Lives” section of this week’s Herald Magazine.

If you haven’t seen yesterday’s Herald Magazine, you can get the magazine via subscription at although I expect the article will soon appear on the “Real Lives” section of the Herald’s website (at

The article entitled “Saved by the Bell” is really interesting and it is good to see recognition of what the boxing club is achieving locally.

Images from the Herald Magazine article

Last couple of days …

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending the attending the official opening of the Dundee Carers Centre new offices in Argyll House, West Marketgait.  

Later, after a meeting with the Communities Officer for the West End on the new West End Local Community Plan 2012-14, I attended the latest Community Spirit Action Group meeting, the residents’ group covering Cleghorn, Ancrum, Polepark, Pentland, Tullideph and surrounding areas. 

There was an excellent presentation from Ian Treanor of the Dundee Energy Efficiency Advice Project.   Ian’s presentation covered insulation, income maximisation and the price of fuel/fuel social tariffs.

We also discussed numerous local issues including road safety on Ancrum Drive, an issue I have raised with the City Council.

Today, I was interviewed on STV news, in support of a very worthwhile project by the West End Boys’ Amateur Boxing Club that will see a boxing statue commemorating the legacy of Dick McTaggart on Dundee Law.

This evening, after my weekly surgery at Blackness Primary School, I attended the AGM of Dundee West Transition Town Group, now to be known as Dundee Transition Town.  There was a really useful discussion about the structure of the group moving forward, urban food production and other matters.

Who Cares Wins

As reported in last night’s Evening Telegraph, the West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club has gained the support of the armed forces charity “Who Cares Wins.”

The Who Cares Wins charity’s founder Billy Fitzgerald set up the charity to find funding for a purpose built long stay mental health treatment unit for ex service personnel suffering with severe mental health problems.

Emilio Places-Rey of the West End Amateur Boxing Club told me, “If I told you that 15 months ago that I was opening a boxing club and to have Ken Buchanan as President and Billy Fitzgerald backing us, you would have thought I was crazy.

I am making my vision into reality and we have got a lot more to do.  It is thanks to people like yourself and others coming together that is making it happen.”

I am pleased to support this hugely worthwhile project that is giving real opportunity to many young people in the local area.

West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club – latest

Earlier this evening, I had the pleasure of meeting boxing legend Ken Buchanan and taking part in a photocall to mark Ken becoming President of Dundee’s West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club.

Here’s Ken with one of the club’s younger member tonight.   Its a real tribute to the hard work of Emilio Places-Rey and his colleagues that the West End ABC has grown into a fibrant boxing club and that someone of the stature of the Tartan Legend is now club President.

West End Boys’ Amateur Boxing Club – an update

Last year, I had the pleasure of opening the West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club at its new centre in the refurbished community facilities at Dundee West Church.

The club has grown from strength to strength since then and Emilio Places-Rey who has been instrumental in the club’s success has recently undertaken a visit to Hong Kong and Australia – meeting with boxing clubs there that have a similar mission to promote boxing as a positive way for young people to spend their leisure time.

Here’s Emilio below (on left) with Joe of Joe’s Boxing Club in Sydney, with whom the club wish to arrange a boxing show in 2011 (and a similar event is planned with a boxing club in Munich)  : 



Wednesday update

Following the fallen tree issue in Tullideph Road I mentioned earlier today, I had confirmation this morning from the City Council that it will be removed tomorrow. To quote the Forestry Officer :

“I am aware of this tree and it is programmed along with similar others in the area to be removed tomorrow morning. The main reason for the time taken is the actual high number of damaged trees in last week’s wind when we had multiple trees blown against school buildings, houses and roads and we had to prioritise a programme of works, which is progressing well.”

This afternoon, at the invitation of the West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club, I attended their meeting with the BBC. It was good to see the BBC’s interest in the club that has achieved a great deal in a short time. We talked about improving facilities for sporting and community groups in the West End, something already being discussed with other groups such as the Riverside Boys Junior Football Club and Friends of Magdalen Green.
Tonight, I attended the monthly meeting of the Community Spirit Action Group, the residents’ group for the ‘north’ of the West End – Pentland, Ancrum, Cleghorn and surrounding areas. It was well-attended and good to see the group launching their first ever residents’ newsletter.

Tuesday update …

Yesterday, I participated in a cross-party workshop with the City Council’s IT department at which a prototype in-house computer application to assist councillors with constituent casework and other enquiries was demonstrated and discussed.

In the afternoon, I was able to attend part of the latest Go Dundee Dundee Wave of Change planning meeting, introduced by Gerry Hassan. There was very interesting group discussion about possible community engagement events and you can read more about Go Dundee and the Wave of Change at

Last night’s “Evening Telegraph” has a great feature about the West End (although only in the actual newspaper – not in the online version) featuring three great West End community projects – WestFest 2010, the Student Allotments Project and West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club.

Lastly, the City Council’s Recycling Projects Officer has advised me that :

” … unfortunately at the weekend a paper bin within the Neighbourhood Recycling Point on Cleghorn Street has been burnt out for a third time.

… it is our standard internal policy to remove such a problematic unit from an NRP bank following this number of incidents. I’m sure you can appreciate that the cost of replacing these units is quite high (at £525 per unit), and it is highly likely that this paper bin would in future be targeted for further acts of dangerous vandalism.

We recognise that the residents of this area will be disappointed by the loss of this paper bin facility. We are though always on the lookout for appropriate sites for recycling points, and will continue to include this area within our search. Please note too, that the 3 glass bottle bins within this NRP unit will remain as they were. We will continue to monitor the site closely in the forthcoming period and hopefully there will be no further vandalism.”

I have suggested an alternative site in the area that could cause fewer problems (the department has promised to assess my alternative site proposal) and have also advised the Environmental Health & Trading Standards Department that a nearby dog bin has been damaged by fire.

STV at West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club!

I was pleased to be invited to attend West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club at Dundee West Church today, along with Rev Andrew Greaves, to see the club’s training session being filmed by STV.
The club is going from strength to strength with good turnouts to training sessions – and all ages too!
The BBC visited last weekend and its really good to see the level of interest in the club’s growing success.
Above : STV filming



Above : Rev Andrew Greaves shows his boxing prowess!

Above : Training session

Opening of West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club

At lunchtime today, I had the honour of undertaking the official opening of West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club at its new centre in the newly refurbished community facilities at Dundee West Church.
West End Boys Amateur Boxing Club uses facilities with a newly decorated sports hall and a 16ft boxing ring and equipment at the church. This project is not for profit, the principal aim being to help all interested in boxing to have a local club they can join and to find new boxing talent for Scottish amateur boxing.
Emilio Places-Rey and his team deserve great credit for getting the club off to a great start. There’s already a good membership level and a lot of real enthusiasm amongst the members.
The Courier published an article about the club on Thursday – see