Journal: Andrea Photiou

I am excited to be a part of Operation Black Vote's (OBV) Civic Leadership Programme - perhaps this feeling is compounded by the fact that I don't quite know what to expect from our meetings and observations yet! I am likely to be the only member of the programme who wasn't able to attend the launch event and meet my colleagues and the wider team and even more likely to be the only member who had flown away to warmer climes for my birthday on the 9 October!

Eagerly scanning the coverage and photos from the launch event, I saw an array of smiling faces, dressed in their best at the Civic Suite; being introduced to Councillors from Lewisham, our Mayor and the leaders of OBV who have put in the hours designing our training sessions, making countless calls to local host organisations on our behalf and making sure we have everything we need.

All of these efforts from the team make me feel proud (as well as excited) to have been picked to be part of a project which is taken very seriously at OBV. If we are frank, we can surely remember a time when we were invited to make the most of what seemed to be an opportunity; only to find out that the people offering it were only doing so half-heartedly, with their main objective being to tick an internal box.

Even before my first foray into the Civic Leadership Programme training sessions, I feel as though the focus is to give me tangible skills and an experience I will grow from; even if a few boxes are ticked somewhere along the way.