Journal: Hon Yip

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I've never been inside a legal court of any sort but Bromley Magistrates & Youth Court was an experience! Airport style check in, the pine wooden décor of the courts and the laid back, friendly attitude of legal and non legal staff made it a very wonderful experience! Seeing people get charge was a bit sad and I could see some of the offenders were vulnerable and came from deprived backgrounds which made me feel more sad for them.

I learnt a few of the acronyms and found it funny to have to bow to the judge or magistrates when entering or exiting the court. Look very straight forward as to me it was a 'sentencing and fines' judicial administrative process. Just before I went I was able to ask the magistrates some questions and networked with one defence lawyer who said that more South East Asians are needed in the system to help operate the magistrates courts.

Attended several Lewisham Council meetings. Very interesting hearing the public fight and voice their views in order to get messages across, be positive and to convince Councillors not to e,g, close their community centres or further make social housing developments in Lewisham.

Seeing how meetings are conducted was no new thing to me as have worked for several local and central governments departments so I'm quite aware of the format. I was amazed at how laid back the Council meetings were and how young some of the Councillors are! However, all the Council meetings went beyond there indicative finished time and at one meeting I was in the meeting room until 11.30pm but this shows that eing a Councillor is a serious and hard working commitment.

I learnt a lot from my meeting at Samaritans Lewisham, Greenwich and Deptford from a mixed age diversified range of people whom all had different expert skills and knowledge fro finance, marketing right through to business and fundraising. The charity has asked me if I wanted to attend their November 2015 meeting (which said yes) and they are looking for 2 board members too. The meeting was very professionally run and their was humour and a good banter throughout the meeting.

Having worked in the charity and government sectors for many years in an operational 'back office' role the 'front line' is very different indeed!

Thank you Lewisham Council and OBV for giving me this opportunity to be part of this great Civic Leadership Programme!