Nearly 150 local community projects across Lewisham will collectively receive £3 million from the council after a decision was made at the latest Mayor and Cabinet meeting earlier this month.
Confirmed projects include:
A New Playground in Lewisham Park
Lewisham Park, which was christened London’s Best New Public Space over 10 years ago, is in dire need of a revamp. The project will deliver a new play space for children and opportunities for social cohesion benefitting over 15 thousand residents and local parkgoers.
Long-time Lewisham resident, Tom Flanagan, has been frequenting the park for years. He told EastLondonLines: “Personally I think it’s a good step in increasing the amount of exercise children in that area get. Playgrounds aren’t as popular as they used to be which is a shame.”
Community facilities have been a priority and a lifeline for many throughout the pandemic in the Brockley area
Anne Whyte, one of the leaders for St. Peter’s Brockley Food Bank said: “There has been a huge growth in the number of people requesting food parcels from us every week […] and we expect that to continue growing. We’ve been discovering more and more people in our area who really are in need, who are living in poverty or near poverty. It’s being gratifying to be able to find those people and serve them.”
With the funding, St Peter’s Brockley Food Bank and Social Supermarket will now be able to help roughly 800 residents locally, compared to the 200 they were able to help before.
More info if you are interested in helping or volunteering.
Downham Detached Youth Project
A new part-time youth worker will be funded to work with young people and community groups on local estates, particularly supporting young people to deal with the impacts of the pandemic.
Evelyn Young Women Changemakers Project
This project is set to train and support young women to be community leaders, working in community safety and resilience.
The grants are sourced through the Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), a non-negotiable charge, launched three years ago, that new developers pay to the council.
The portion of the money raised through the CIL that will be spent on these local projects is known as the Neighbourhood CIL (NCIL).
These NCIL funds are often used to address the impact of new developments on local residents and support new developments and investments including community facilities, local parks, open spaces and transport improvements.
Councillor Kim Powell, Cabinet Member for Business and Community Wealth Building, said: “Lewisham is fully committed to investing in its communities, taking money from new developments and putting it back into the community to help local residents.”
The funds will mainly focus on the borough’s most deprived areas, as part of the Council’s ongoing work to tackle inequality.
Powell explains: “We are the first council to use a deprivation indicator to allocate additional funding, helping to tackle inequalities and invest money into our more deprived areas. I’m proud that we are leading the way by using NCIL in such an effective and pioneering way.”
The council confirms that all 149 projects that have been awarded the grants have been chosen based on projects directly highlighted by residents across the borough wards on the commonplace website – a website for residents to vote and decide where NCIL investments go.
Powell added: “I am really looking forward to seeing the tremendous difference that this funding will make for residents across every single ward in Lewisham through our amazing and dedicated voluntary and community partners”.
Find out more on the 149 community projects confirmed to receive the funds.