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To Vote Or Not To Vote

Posted by The Oxford Road Reading on May 5, 2015 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (12)

The day looms near where our appointed political leaders and their supporters will expend all their vested energy into directing a steady flow of human traffic towards the polling stations. They will do so in the hope that record numbers of people will turn out, expecting a noticeable change to be made to their lives.

These people will be entrusting their future and that of the country to politically formed groups of well doers based on promises of a better future and an insight into the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead should they support them into the future.


Stripping the fundamentals and concepts down to the absolute basics, the outcome from voting is simple: this lady, man wins that guy or girl loses, locally and nationally and you do (pay) what they say. The reason for voting and the decision on who and how people vote is not that simple. Where and how votes are placed, the notion cast by each voter to put pride in balloting does not always stem from a clear knowledge nor understanding of why. Some may say that so often and loud are the moans of mankind that they can be heard repeatedly in the pubs, social clubs, bars, boozers and canteens across the country, oft created by a disgruntled but small percentage of people who actually know what they are talking about, and possibly regurgitated by the higher percentage who haven't got a clue, but have heard the rants, sways and moans so many times, they can repeat them in a more convincing and passionate manner than their well-to-do counter parts.


Here’s a true story and an example of this very theory. more than 9 years ago a small group of local musicians, a gang member and a university graduate set up a community enterprise called Chants. Chants offered young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to voice their concerns about their community and their lives through music. Many (not all) of these young people, were a high risk to you the general public. They were a high risk to you being mugged, you being burgled, a high risk to your kids being sold some of the highest quality drugs to ever hit the streets of the United Kingdom and high risk to your husband straying ‘at a late meeting’ whilst curb crawling at night looking for pleasures in the seedy back streets of underworld Reading. This is by no way a glamorisation of street life but an insight into a taboo subject and the reality of inner city life across the UK. 


Many of the young people on Chants’ programmes were the children mainstream society and education forgot, but the mainstream jurisdictional system remember oh so well. They were the children just a handful of people without fear dared to work with, but the masses we're quick to point the finger at then ‘good riddance’ off when repeatedly castrated in the very system put in place to rehabilitate them. History has taught us that segregation and non-inclusion does not work, and it sometimes brews animosity and hatred that can then bubble over and douse the fire that ignites community spirit, integration and inclusion, with a knock on effect that everybody feels but not many want to clean up.


Many of the young people Chants worked with had ideas, vision, plans, and were on a mission to achieve them all with apparent strategic planning, until they were requested to put their ideas on paper and structure them in a way that could be received and understood by anyone who cared to read it. It was at this point reality struck: basic education and life skills were missing from a few of these young people and many had seen and heard the stories, dreams and struggles of the artists they could relate to, and had seen themselves in so adapted the mind-set, mentality speech and characteristics of them, drawing themselves deeper into their world.


Chants set about implementing the positive aspects of their outside influences to a programme that not only demonstrated an understanding of the processes involved, but a greater understanding of purpose, self and their effects on their local community. Many of these young people turned their lives around through music production programmes and the events they helped to organise gave them vital life skills, an understanding of team work, helped them voice out, break their old social circles and make new friends and careers with other young people from more fortunate lifestyles. Young people on the programmes were given the help, support and time by local authorities. Members of the public from all walks of life donated funds and equipment and offered them well wishes on many occasions. The programmes were also supported by The then Mayors of Reading Councillor Gul Khan, Councillor Chris Maskell and Councillor Peter Beard, some of whom have attended events in the twilight hours in support. Local Labour MP at the time Martin Salter helped raise the programmes’ public profile and spoke about the programmes achievements at party gatherings like the one chaired by the The Baroness Thornton of Mannington.  back in 2008.


Some may say the change in government brought about a change of direction, as funding was pulled for projects like Chants around the towns and cities across the UK. Some organisations lost hope claiming statistic herding was becoming a trend and real people, victims and assailants got forgotten and with no cure for the communities illness, its anti-social behaviour and other inner city diseases started re-emerging - concentrated in more secluded areas of our towns and cities where the effects on the communities are devastating. The government know of the “traffic light effect” for unemployed young people; they know there are not many who would put themselves at risk to rehabilitate the Red Light Category of these young people and it’s why the same young people are imprisoned for lesser and lesser and at times trivial crimes each time.


Chants didn't sit for hours in bars & boozers and pick up conversations, Chants didn’t regurgitate information of those peeved off with society following suit because someone had to be blamed and it seemed the best thing to do. No, Chants soldiered through entering the war zones because that’s where they were needed. Chants first hand saw, felt engaged to try to make a difference, highlighted through dozens of press releases, by launching a national youth incentive (ITV Fixers), presenting a mini documentary on national TV and toured around the South of England engaging hundreds of young people and entertaining and inspiring thousands more. Chants were about changing the lifestyle and lives of people for the benefit of the people’s community and everyone that lived in it, lifting from the bottom so all could rise together with a feeling of ownership and togetherness. 


When you vote this year, pledge support for your favoured candidate. Whether it’s your first time or your last you must do so for the people who you believe will do the same for you. Look around, see what’s happened in your neighbourhood. Have your interests, their promises and agreements been met or is it time for change? This year, more than any other, the fight seems a real one and one that will directly affect all of mankind living within our shores so it’s time to get your voice heard and work with your local MP and Local Council Authority and together make changes happen.



Posted by The Oxford Road Reading on April 1, 2015 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (41)

Fellow students congratulate the medal winners. McDylan and Viki Lloyd celebrate karate gold.

Oxford Road schoolkid McDylan Philippe-Ekitt fought his way to a UK gold medal in the National Wado Karate Championships on March 22nd 2015.

McDylan, a pupil at Wilson Road Primary School, aged just eight years and in his first ever competition battled his way through every round, leaving far more experienced fighters trailing in his wake.

Anncile Abraham took a bronze medal in his under 9 years category, with Josh Benjamin-Philip and Nishant Gehlot securing bronze medals in 12-14 years and 15-17 years respective categories.

The Tournament, held in London, included fighters from across the UK and Ireland.

All students learn karate at the Sei Shin Kan Karate School based in the Oxford Road. The School is run by Chief Instructor Viki Lloyd 4th Dan black belt and Assistant Instructor Pete Evans.

Coach Viki Lloyd, a former British and European Karate Champion and senior student of the legendary Grandmaster Tatsuo Suzuki Hanshi, said, 'I am extremely proud of the whole junior Sei Shin Kan squad. They worked hard together and achieved great success in their first ever tournament. McDylan's result was simply outstanding.

As head coach my vision is to encourage youngsters to get healthy, enjoy fitness, develop discipline & character through the learning of genuine traditional karate. I am also in the business of training champions.'

The Sei Shin Kan Karate School trains at St Georges Church Hall, St Georges Road, Reading on Tuesday and Friday evenings.

Full details available at




Posted by The Oxford Road Reading on March 9, 2015 at 5:00 AM Comments comments (6)

As a small business owner you may wonder where your business will be in the next 3-5 years, wonder if you have the capacity to weather the forthcoming onslaught that the community, business environment, government and ever growing two headed good and evil wolf puppy (that is global ideology) dishes out.


As one of the worlds heavy hitting countries some would see us as simply flyweight at best, bantamweights at a push and super lightweight when global sporting or royal events lift us as a nation, when for a desired space of time we as 'one nation under a groove' feel proud, that moment when magic can become reality and with bated breath and tight clenched fists we pray for miracles.


The days of turning water to wine are slowly dwindling away, so too are the core people of the 60's & 70's within the community that followed the stories from books housed in the buildings many saw as sanctuaries. Today the five and ten pence pieces donated to support their worthy causes are replaced with similar figures as notes and topped up by funding fit to feed a nation.


Some may say we live on the foundations that were laid for us by the generation before, cheap housing now worth ten fold, inherited then sold to feed a modern lifestyle, the old wanting to remain young, the young wanting to be older, the poor who would kill to be enriched and the rich who would rather die than be poor.


Over the past years there have been many new developments in and around Reading, Berkshire UK, tradition has been lost in some areas with the rebirth of new ideals. Where there once stood one man running excitedly with the baton of a communities ideas, dreams, vision and hope, you now have committees and boards sat discussing what's best for the people, sending messengers walking doubtfully towards the community empty handed but for creative ideas… innovation!


None of us have the answers to life or community questions, and those who have answered, have they done so honestly or through anger, annoyance, greed, self progress or popularity - would their answer be the same if asked again?



The future: |ˈfjuːtʃə| noun1 (usu. the future) a period of time following the moment of speaking or writing; time regarded as still to come… 

Still to come! For who, for what, opportunities to be missed, ventures to be overlooked or plans that will be left as vague ideas? We don’t know what the future holds, but be rest assured it’s coming, so if you are wasting your time effectively you are standing still, if you are standing still and time waits for no man effectively you are moving backwards and if you move backwards enough you will be back at your beginning with nowhere to go but to turn around and face your end. The End!


The modern world has given us everything we need at the click of a button and the ability to stretch life’s resources to live above our means with many playing buckaroo with materialistic haberdashery, the modern world has given us everything we can ask for except common sense and purpose.


Next time you walk past a mirror, STOP!! gaze (don't look...GAZE) and ask yourself, what is my purpose here, what was the last thing I whole heartedly fought for with passion and how did it make me feel. Not many people live the life they want, fear of loss, fear of failure, fear of the unknown; fear can damage the shell of confidence amongst mortals - so next time you see an opportunity, venture, invite or a suggestion come up that fits your lifestyle, that reminds you of who you are or wanted to be, that reignites your dream and life purpose… TAKE IT!


Posted by The Oxford Road Reading on February 25, 2015 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (50)

Local, home-based, small and micro businesses struggling to be seen and heard can now find advice and support on a new website created for The Oxford Road, Reading.

The Oxford Road, Reading website will form a simple business directory that provides links to businesses within the local area and collectively manage the promotion and marketing for its members all conveniently under one roof. 


The aim of the website is to collaborate the multitude of businesses in the area so they can communicate their message, share advice, resources, services and together discuss new ways to inject energy, excitement and trade into the area. As well as a directory the website will feature galleries, forums, blog posts and have many other online and social media benefits, giving even the smallest business an online presence and local people a platform and voice to express their views on issues concerning them.


One of the key people involved in the project is Sara Bolton. Sara had this to say "The Oxford Road area has a wealth of shops and services including culturally traditional hard to find items that many people simply cannot source anywhere else in the town for the same price and quality. We believe if the businesses in the area were given the attention and push they deserve, it would encourage more diversity within the community as well as create an understanding of how working together will bring fresh ideas to the area that benefits us all.

This is also a good opportunity to raise awareness for the mums in the local area that have home businesses who are limited for time and resources and are looking for new ways to get noticed. There are also plenty of mums out there with ideas who just need a little help, support and creative opportunities to get their ideas to the next level and this platform is totally free to do so.” Sara’s family run J Bolton & Sons garage on Alma Street off of the Oxford Road and have been doing so for over 50 years and know the area needs a new lease of life to compete with new companies and large chains.


The Oxford Road website plans to build a network of businesses, then find new marketing channels for getting their message out to the wider Reading community, with the engagement of other communities and forging links with outside businesses, educational organisations and government groups all featuring highly on its objectives.

One of the ways the Oxford Road plans to reach out to the wider community is on social media, with monthly hard copy flyers and a printed business directory/brochure similar to those found in other areas around Reading bi-monthly and distributed locally, then expanding in reach with need and necessity. The aim of the promotional campaign is to make an impact and then maintain a constant presence. The business directory will also feature stories, events and special offers and fully support the Oxford Road website.

The Oxford Road also plans to introduce Art & Fashion to the area, offering a platform for youth, energy and creativity, aiming at sourcing and using empty spaces, parks, and public community centres to host activities that encourage visitors to spend a small amount of time in the area sampling the foods and produce from local businesses as they would in any central shopping location.

“The website will rely on sponsorship and advertising to generate income and make the model financially viable. We have advantageous opportunities to be seen for businesses wishing to get involved in this exciting project from the start.” Sara adds.

The online directory is FREE and available to all businesses, community groups, charities and career professionals. Members of the public can also subscribe to the service for area information, news and events. 

To sign up and subscribe for FREE visit For more information call 07814 117788 or email
[email protected]

Sara Bolton
Oxford Road, Reading


Posted by The Oxford Road Reading on February 25, 2015 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (600)


In 2013 one mans concerns planted a seed of thought, a seed that is due to blossom in Spring 2015 as The Oxford Road, Reading. The co-founder of Oxford Road, Reading has been part of a team focused on creating a voice and presence for businesses in the Oxford Road area, learn how that vision came about.

With so many small and community businesses unable to compete with the media resources of bigger businesses, one man felt a need to create a media service that delivered an efficient multi-media, design and print service at the front end and offer vital career training opportunities at the back. Tony Charles decided to create a business that could benefit young graduates and career minded people, the community and demonstrate sustainable growth.

Launching a new venture brings its own problems and on many occasions a lonely airiness driven only by self motivation, personal ambition and extended learning. “When I first started out I thought I was running Mi-MEDIA correctly, in a way that was focused on making money and reaching out to new customers and the local community. After spending just a few minutes with professional business advisors, I realised, this was not the case.”

“I had the energy, passion and enthusiasm to deal with general issues but understand now that these actions alone were not what would ever make a business successful. By channeling some of my energy in the direction that would offer my business a viable chance of success, I placed myself within the circles of the people and support structures that offered me deliverable business actions and a professional focused insight that would allow my business room for future growth and development. This led to me being recommended for The Peter Jones Enterprise Academy”

“I finished the Academy with a distinction star, the course was intense and concentrated, designed to make your business idea work or dismiss is as deluded, it opened my eyes to the modern business world, the way it works, thinks, reacts, its people and why... if you are focused and willing to push beyond your physical and mental boundaries anything is achievable with support. By working under industry professionals, entrepreneurs and founders of established global businesses, I picked up the personal skills needed for my business as well as a full understanding of the procedures to make it work efficiently. 

“I understand everything isn't for everybody and many of the lessons I have learnt would not fit to every business, different approaches are needed to communicate different messages and no matter what the initial reaction - you stay calm, maintain stature and continue communicating, engaging and using desirable content at all times. Many small businesses are struggling to compete with their corporate counterparts. If business, education, communication and resources were made affordable to community sectors, supermarkets would have found it harder to sell world foods, customers with interests in such produce would be made aware of them and encouraged to venture into the areas where they have been openly sold for many years, experiencing the culture, people and produce in its community environment, assisting in rejuvenating the community that developed its presence."

This issue is one of the reasons I created Mi-MEDIA - to offer small businesses cost effective media services that will allow them to market like a corporate business but spend the budget of a new start up, giving specific business sectors the visibility and resources needed to reach out further.

I would like to push further now by creating networking groups that are industry specific and based on customer needs. It’s one way we can offer a competitive edge to local trade as well as offer support and valuable career training to young media creatives.

For more information on mI-media visit or call Tony Charles on 01189 540071

Article published in" target="_blank">TODAY MAGAZINE Autumn Edition 2013


Posted by The Oxford Road Reading on February 25, 2015 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (47)

Image: Get Fit Reading team and member of West Reading Martial Arts Club

We would like the people of West Reading to enjoy a healthy lifestyle by discovering the benefits of the GET FIT initiative that encourages local people to develop a fit, fun and healthy lifestyle and mindset.


We have created a Facebook page that is dedicated to helping people keep fit where instructors and class providers can post updates as well as highlight what’s currently available around Reading. Our mission is to create a fully inclusive programme to suit a widely diverse community. Something for all ages, from all backgrounds and varying physical abilities. Be part of Get Fit Reading like our page, we'll provide you with the means to provide yourself with the end results that you desire.


Get Fit Reading is focused on providing health and well being advice, resources, services and products, we will do everything we can to meet your expectations towards getting you fit and healthy by providing you with a variety of opportunities to choose where, how and when you challenge yourself to get healthy and live a better lifestyle, we’re sure you’ll be happy to work with us. Look around our Facebook group and if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to leave them. We hope to see you again! Check back later for new updates. There’s so much more to come!


To make a healthy dose of exercise accessible to local people. To offer keep fit classes to people from all walks of life. To create business and community partnerships supportive of our healthy lifestyle ethos. To develop systems that will allow us to offer time, resources, products and services to the schools, communities and people who need them most.

Get Fit Reading