Lewisham Leaders changing our world


Friday evening’s launch of the third OBV/London Borough of Lewisham Civic Leadership Programme was hugely successful.

The 30 young leaders who had come through the recruitment process heard OBV’s Merlene Carrington and Ashok Viswanathan describe how the six month programme would work, what was expected of them, the meetings they should attend and how best to use their nominated Lewisham elected member mentor for support.

Their palpable sense of duty and commitment was particularly evident when they were told of the importance of their roles as community ambassadors to show members of their communities the benefits of civic engagement.

Once the participants had introduced themselves to their mentors, young poet Bridget Minamore began the second half of the event reciting poems that spoke of her love of South East London and her belief in democracy and the importance of voting to an audience that included Lewisham councillors, officers and invited guests.

They were then addressed by the Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock, who spoke passionately about his belief that people should succeed through merit no matter what their background, a message also powerfully amplified by David Weaver. In his contribution, Councillor David Michael gave advice on involvement in policing in the borough for the benefit of the whole community.

Councillor Janet Daby was hugely engaging when describing her experience as one of the participants who came through the first OBV/Lewisham Programme, later standing for elections and elected a councillor. She stressed the hard work and determination required, and the importance of building a good relationship with her mentor.

Juliet Campbell and David Osei also spoke of their experience as successful participants. Juliet described how the programme had built her confidence and started her on a successful career, while David emphasised that his desire to help the borough he was born and educated in was because in his words: ‘I am Lewisham!’

Although this was only the start, the signs are very promising for an exceptional cadre of young leaders to emerge from this programme. We would like to thank all those at Lewisham Council for their involvement, in particular the 30 elected members who will be mentoring each young leader, Sir Steve Bullock for his continuing support of the Lewisham/OBV collaboration, the council staff who worked so diligently to make this launch so successful and the speakers who were outstandingly inspirational.

Most importantly, our thanks to the 30 hugely impressive participants, who are now important and valued members of the OBV family. Remember, we’ll support you as far as your hard work, determination, courage and commitment will take you, and that can be a long way.

Click here to see more pictures from the launch.

Paul Hensby