Lewisham seeks diverse next generation leaders

Lewisham Council has again teamed up with Operation Black Vote (OBV) to launch a search for community leaders of the future.

The Council wants to encourage talented individuals from black and minority ethnic communities to take on leadership roles in organisations such as schools, voluntary organisations, safer neighbourhood panels and the Council itself. These are all areas where black and minority ethnic communities are under-represented.

Joshua Payne, 30, from Bellingham, took part in the programme in 2011 and said: “I applied for the Civic Leadership Programme in 2011 because I wanted to get more involved in helping the community. We learned about some key areas of public life and I got to shadow a councillor, undertook training in public speaking and went on a tour of the House of Commons. Thanks to the scheme I now have a mentor who sits in the House of Lords.

“I think programmes like this are really important because they help to address the under-representation of black and minority ethnic people in public life. I think I was one of the youngest people on the scheme and it was a huge privilege to have experienced something like this. It gave me confidence and insight into what is expected in public life.”

Cllr Janet Daby, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Equalities, said: “Lewisham is a borough with a large black and minority ethnic population and the civic leadership programme is one way in which we seek to raise the number of BME people in key public roles to a more proportionate level. We want the diversity in our borough to be fully reflected on school governing panels, on trusteeships or board memberships, safer neighbourhood panels and in our elected officials so that we are a borough that is representative of all of our residents.”

Taking part in the civic leadership programme will give participants the chance to get first-hand knowledge of a variety of roles and responsibilities and an insight into the systems and procedures of public bodies.
If you are over 18, from a black and minority ethnic background, live in Lewisham and feel you have the conviction, enthusiasm and determination to be part of this unique opportunity, call OBV on 020 8983 5430 or email civicleaders@obv.org.uk for an application form.

Deadline for applications is Friday 21 August.