Lewisham: their future is in our hands


The future for young people is opaque, with more than two thirds of 14 year old girls having aspirations of becoming glamour models and more young Black men in jail than at university – it is easy to be pessimistic about their future.

However, for a group of dynamic Lewisham residents, these negative realities are being courageously challenged. Last week kickstarted the dynamic Lewisham Civic Leadership Programme, with a look at a key area of public life – our education system.

United in the recognition of the crucial role which education plays in the development of our children, 20 Lewisham residents were eager to learn how they could become involved in the decision making process and become role models for their community.

The participants learned about the valuable role which school governors play in helping to set the strategic direction and policies of the school. They also learned that enthusiasm, commitment and an interest in education are the most important qualities to being a school governor and that having a child, is not a requirement to holding this important position.

Chair of Governors of St Stephen's CofE Primary School, Bisi Ogunbambi who spoke at the meeting said,

“I am a School Governor because I am passionate about young people and their education. Being a governor is probably the most rewarding thing I do in my professional life. If you think you have the time get involved and make a difference..“

Over the course of the next few weeks, the participants will undertake observation sessions of school governor meetings at a variety of schools and colleges in Lewisham to see first-hand what the role involves.

Janet Bowens, a graduate of the 2010 Lewisham Civic Leadership Programme, is currently undergoing the selection process to become a school governor, said,

"I hope to become a School Governor because the success of any educational establishment or organisation, relies heavily on a committed and dedicated governance body, who listen and translate views and opinions into action. School governance empowers everyone and allows participation for all - this is real Social Action at work."

Francine Fernandes

Head of OBV Shadowing Schemes

The Lewisham Civic Leadership Programme is a project funded by Lewisham Council to address the deficit of BME communities in key areas of public life.