OBV to Community Action Lewisham - United as One



Last week I bumped into Janett Morgan and asked her how she was doing and what she was up to. She informed me about the brilliant work she has been doing since finishing the Lewisham leadership project. I was thrilled and amazed. I asked her to drop me a note about her activism. Here it is. If you want to get involved in this dynamic group contact info@obv.org.uk. Simon Woolley.

To participate in the Lewisham Council/OBV Civic Leadership Programme is to appreciate the responsibility you have to the people of Lewisham. The class of 2016 typified this feeling: the opportunities afforded to us during the programme meant that we graduated with even greater leadership ambitions, centred around a genuine desire to leave our mark on those communities - BME and others - too often marginalised when it comes to council services. For some of us, this meant pursuing individual civic leadership roles (magistrate, councillor, trustee, etc.); the rest of us felt we would have a greater impact if we pooled our collective talents, along with our knowledge of (and access to) BME communities, to work strategically with local decision makers and key stakeholders.


And so, Community Action Lewisham - United as One was born. In fact, the name emerged only recently. For the past 12 months, we've had, no name, no money and often nowhere to meet. With our day jobs and other commitments, sometimes only a handful of us were able to get together. But we knew it wouldn't be easy. It was the desire to see meaningful change and to drive through that change made the nucleus of the group so strong. Our stated mission is as follows:

To ensure Lewisham's Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) communities are actively and substantively involved in the public decisions that impact on their daily lives.

We will do this by:

  • brokering partnerships with decision makers to ensure BAME groups with expertise are sought out and included in council initiatives, community engagement programmes, etc.
  • distilling information to the community in an accessible way
  • acting as a reference point to ensure the needs of BAME communities are taken into consideration


1. Governance

We recognise that strong governance is critical to the success of CAL. We have spent the past year developing robust governance processes. We are grateful to OBV for their guidance and support as a critical friend.

2. Work Programme

Drawing on our collective experience and expertise, we have put together a programme of work aimed at areas of strategic focus. We have already contributed to the Lewisham Education

3. Stakeholder engagement

We aim to maintain relationships developed with council members/OBV mentors and seek to work in collaboration with strategic partners with a shared vision and common goals.

Next steps

The above accomplishments mean our stakeholders know we are a group to be taken seriously. In 2017, we expect to go from strength to strength and start executing our work programme: a detailed list of key activities we plan to carry out to achieve our strategic objectives and leave a legacy for the people of Lewisham. We will be documenting this journey to inspire ourselves and others to be the change we want to see.

Janett Morgan

Picture: Janett - 4th from the right