Surbiton Labour are immensely proud to support local member, Martin Ellis, from Surbiton Boxing Club, with ‘Project Athelstan.’

The project involves setting up a town twinning programme, where residents and businesses in one local authority can invest in schemes that provide opportunities to give value, purpose and meaning to lives in their own town and another in a different region.

Martin explains that society has been put second to the individual, and this has gone against the grain of our nature as social beings. Our country has seen  increasing levels of mental health issues. Happiness and confidence has plummeted amongst 16-25 year olds, with male suicide doubling in the last 8 years, and created a lack of social cohesion contributing to knife crime. It is estimated that 1 in 5 Britons describe themselves as lonely.
The trial of the project has twinned Surbiton Boxing club, with a boxing club in Kingston Upon Hull.
The project got off to a great start with young members having their first training session at Surbiton Boxing Club. The two Clubs from the two Kingston’s showed how communities can work together and help each other improve.
The young members and coaches have also visited Parliament and met with Labour’s Hull East MP, Karl Turner, who has arranged a meeting to find new premises so that East Hull can expand and offer more opportunities to more and more young people in the area. They have been trying to move for ten years. If it comes off they have invited Surbiton Boxing Club to the opening  launch of the new premises because they helped make it happen. This shows the power of collaboration and what twinning towns can do!

There is huge diversity in Britain – geography, architecture, accents, ethnicity. Project Athelstan would provide an opportunity to feel and understand ‘our’ Britain, opening up people to new experiences, breaking down perceptions and prejudices to bring the country together.
Martin says that the form of boxing the club teaches, is hugely beneficial for mental wellbeing. It teaches self-respect, redirects anxiety and allows endorphins to be released during exercise.
If the trial is successful, Surbiton Labour would then work with the Labour Party to bring Project Athelstan to Conference and vote for it to be included
as a policy in the Party’s manifesto. By 2025, Project Athelstan could be fully implemented. It should be noted that this is not a substitute for local authorities or governments investing in their communities. It is designed to add more social value, allowing
people to express their solidarity across the land through their time and support.
MP Karl Turner has also said he is going to champion the twinning town programme.
Young people from Surbiton and Kingston Upon Hull boxing clubs
Young people from Surbiton and Kingston Upon Hull boxing clubs
Young people from Surbiton and Kingston Upon Hull boxing clubs
Young people from Surbiton and Kingston Upon Hull boxing clubs
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