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Lewisham council gets funding jobs boost to help youth in Downham

Lewisham Council has secured a share of a £16m fund to help tackle youth unemployment.

The scheme is delivered through Youth Futures Foundation – a not-for-profit organisation established in 2019 to improve employment opportunities for young people from less advantaged backgrounds.

The programme aims to provide young people who face barriers to employment, with the support they need to build their careers and access great quality jobs.

It is funded via the Dormant Assets Scheme, which releases funds from dormant bank and building society accounts – accounts where no transactions have been carried out for the past 15 years – to support good causes.

The plan is to support young people in Downham and surrounding areas in the south of the borough – where youth unemployment is 50 per cent higher than it was pre-pandemic and where it is thought to be even tougher to find work for young people in the area.

Over the next 18 months, £117,500 of confirmed funding will be used to support a research project into improving youth employment opportunities in Downham.

Councillor Kim Powell, cabinet member for businesses, jobs and skills said: “We’re delighted that Youth Futures Foundation has chosen Lewisham to receive the Connected Futures Fund {as it is known].

“As a council, we’re committed to tackling inequality wherever it occurs in the borough. This funding means we can do some vital work with the young people of Downham to tackle the ongoing challenges and understand how we can better support them.

“We want to ensure they have equal access to all the jobs and excellent opportunities in London’s labour market.”

Rosanna Campbell, who is the borough’s Young Mayor, said: “I am so excited to see a youth-led project for young people in Downham to support them to help them reach their future goals.

“I’ve been in Downham for my whole secondary school years and have just left to take my next steps, it’s not always easy to know which path to take.

“All young people, however they got on at school, want to be able to progress and make the most of their life, everyone has dreams and things they want to do.

The Council will collaborate with key stakeholders, partners and agencies to support Connected Futures when it officially launches next month. Further funding will become available for future phases of the project.

Pictured top: Lewisham Town Hall 

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