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Speaking at Phoenix’s AGM

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03 October 2011
Phoenix’s AGM Last month I addressed 200 people at Catford Broadway Theatre for the Annual General Meeting of Phoenix Community Housing. The evening kicked off with a performance from comedienne Angie Le Mar who gave a funny account of her time growing up in Lewisham and commentary on the youth of today. I must say I did get a bit nervous about following a professional stand up comic!

I spoke about my experiences as a new MP in Lewisham and praised the work of Phoenix and Mulalley’s apprenticeship scheme. I got involved with Phoenix a couple of years ago, when Lewisham Council was looking at ways to boost opportunities for young people and programme to get them into work. This apprentice scheme fitted perfectly into that vision, as well as really making a difference to our local areas. This was especially something I personally wanted to get involved in as my Dad started off as an apprentice and that opportunity was the stepping stone for the rest of his career as an electrician. Last year I spent a day with the apprentices, who really are a great bunch, which you can read about here. I’m delighted at the successes of the scheme and that it will be continuing, making a difference to the careers of more young people in Lewisham.

The AGM was also addressed by Pat Fordham MBE, Chair of the Phoenix Community Housing Board, and Richard O’Mahoney, Chair of Phoenix’s Residents Association. They spoke about the successes and progress of Phoenix and its struggles as a new organisation. Pat was congratulated on her TPAS award for National Tenant of the Year and other prizes and awards were given out to residents, training course participants and the apprentices.

I hope I get invited back to the AGM next year to hear about the work of their new apprentices, but I may have to brush up on my jokes if I’m to follow a stand up comic again!

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