Congratulations to Lewisham’s New Civic Leaders


The OBV and Lewisham Council’s Civic Leadership Programme ended last night with a graduation ceremony at the Civic Suite in Lewisham. Programme Members, Councillors and other invited guests came together to celebrate the end of the programme with many looking forward to taking up public and civic posts.

Over the course of the nine-month scheme, participants have had a unique opportunity to gain a real insight into the work of five different public and civic life areas including health, the criminal justice system, voluntary and community, education and politics; with the aim of addressing the under-representation of Black and Minority Ethnic individuals in Lewisham’s civic society. Whilst doing this, they have begun to make the connections and establish themselves firmly in Lewisham’s public and civic life. As one Programme Member remarked, ‘this is just the very start of the journey’.

The Ceremony was attended by the Mayor of Lewisham, Sir Steve Bullock who talked about the need for Lewisham’s institutions to be representative of the society which they seek to serve.

He said,

“I am delighted that we are now seeing the second wave of participants graduating from the Lewisham Civic Leadership Programme. This programme continues to give us many talented and community minded individuals, who will play an integral part in making the Lewisham community even stronger.”

Simon Woolley, OBV Director, spoke about the effect of the riots, which Lewisham is still recovering from, and emphasised the vital role that the Programme Members must now play as future civic leaders.

The guests heard from Programme Members, Sacha Ray, Joshua Payne and Jennifer Bartley reflecting upon their experience of the programme.

Joshua said,

"It has been a privilege to be on the scheme. I have really gained a lot of practical skills from my participation on the programme and look forward to embarking upon a new civic path."

Many Programme Members have already begun to play an array of roles in their communities. These include speaking at a youth empowerment event, becoming a trustee and Programme Member Jenny Berbeck's outstanding community activism was recognised in her win of the South London Press 'Our Heroes' award.

Francine Fernandes, Head of Shadowing Schemes for OBV said,

"It has been a privilege working with such a dynamic group of individuals. They have been inspirational in their genuine desire to make a positive difference to their communities and represent a vision of real community leadership."

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onwards and upwards!

Congratulations to OBV and all the programme members. Now ... onwards and upwards!