Journal: Jade McDonald

Journey (Journal) entry one OCTOBER 2015

After successfully gaining a place on the Lewisham Civic Leadership programme which involves a four month period where I'll be able to take part and see first hand, the workings of public appointments in five areas of education, policing, criminal justice system, health, voluntary sector and local government.

I found myself very interested in this prospect and the significance of it all me, playing a part and giving back to the local community, me making a difference, or at least starting to. So the day of the launch I found myself extremely excited. At the launch I was introduced to a variety of interesting members and influential people of the Lewisham local Council, the movers and shakers as they call it.

My role and expectation was made clear and illuminated a possible path into the future. Something that I can take away and use, so watch this space people. I met the counsellors and was told that even though the process is hard, the pay off is amazing and thoroughly rewarding.

So I was paired with my mentor, the councillor Paul Upex, who I was going to shadow, accompanying him to his various meetings, not just your typical government meeting but issues that plague the local Lewisham community, the exciting expectations, off the beaten track.

So off to my first monthly activities.15th October all day. This took me to a days visit to the Bromley magistrates court, just to see the offenders both young and old just a day to observe the legal proceeding for myself. I found myself truly intrigued by the whole process.

I felt for some reason ,that even though I found the environment very formal at times, that my presence created quite an impact, providing that connectivity, especially to the young black minority offenders. I felt as if I brought something unique to the table even in my own little way. This day actually made me feel like I could continue to provide some sort of service or support even after the programme ends.

Off to my next activity local meeting,17th October 2.30pm Forest Hill Assembly, in support of the counsellor. A vehicle for feedback from the local community. Accompanying my Councillor this meeting was a sounding board for the community. I was pleased to see that there was a place where people could go to voice their concerns. I also appreciate that Paul (councillor) could try and make a real impact constructively.

My next and last activity 22nd October 7.30pm I went to the Sustainable Development Select Committee a lot of words, I know I will be the first to put my hand up and say I had no idea what this meant or what it was about. But throughout the meeting as they spoke about the various strategies for programs either being implemented or going to be implemented with the local community, where I gained a better understanding of what is being discussed.

The one that stood out the most for me was the programme that was looking at young people aged 15-19 yrs that are receiving job seekers allowance to be encouraged to attend educational course as an incentive to get this allowance. In this way, they get an education that will hopefully help them into a job. I love this, I love what it promoted and the legacy that it would create and leave with these young people.

It's been an amazing first month..... Until next time!