£1.5m boost for youth services in Lewisham from Mayor’s fund

Sadiq Khan gave grants to help young Londoners in need. Pic: Greater London Authority

Lewisham has been given £1.5m to help young people who are at risk of social exclusion or becoming involved in criminal activities.  

The Young Londoners Fund, an initiative launched by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, announced it would be giving funds to 72 projects across London – all focused on providing a number of different skills to young people at risk – 11 of which are in Lewisham.

Among the groups given money are Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre, IRIE! dance theatre, and SV Academy: all create arts-based projects which challenge young people’s attitudes towards violence. 

Jeremy James, CEO of Greenwich & Lewisham Young People’s Theatre, who were given just under £138k, said: “This support will make a huge difference in our ability to engage with young people in London including some of the most vulnerable.  

We operate in an area where there has been a significant increase in violence and knife crime amongst young people and the kinds of activities that we will be offering through our Portals programme will allow engagement in positive activities, such as theatre, dance, music creation and parkour.” 

Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network and Refugee Support Network, both given around £149k, will use their funding to provide legal and practice advice, support to help asylum seekers find accommodation and educational mentoring. 

Freya Turner, research and fundraiser at Refugee Support Network, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be a recipient of the Mayor’s Young Londoner’s Fund. This is a significant amount of funding that will really allow our organisation to expand our specialist educational support work with refugees and asylum seekers, age 15-25.”

ThinkForward, who were awarded just under £149k, focus on programmes to help young people from Lewisham and beyond with opportunities for their future career. 

Ashley McCaul, CEO at ThinkForward, said: “The young people will benefit from a range of activities that will prepare them to succeed in the workplace, such as business insight days to different employers, mentoring, and CV and interview skills sessions that will prepare them to get a job.” 

The Mayor of London said: “We received over 450 bids requesting funding totally over £122m for an available £15.5m. We know that many groups will be disappointed that they were unsuccessful.” 

A second round of funding will be given to local support networks next February. 

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