Twelve organisations join forces to level-up Lewisham after being ‘hit hard’ by pandemic

A dozen organisations have joined forces to level-up Lewisham after the borough was ‘hit hard’ by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Twelve institutions have signed the new Civic University Agreement (CUA) to work together to boost employment, education, health and the environment across the borough.

The key partners include: Goldsmiths, University of London, The Albany, The Horniman Museum and Gardens, Lewisham College, Lewisham Council, Lewisham Local, Lewisham Homes, Phoenix Community Housing, 999 Museum, The Migration Museum, Trinity Laban and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust.

It comes after criticism of the government’s “levelling up” policy that focuses on areas outside of London despite the ongoing need for more support for communities like Lewisham.

The Four key themes that were identified by local people and will inform the work of the agreement are:
– Educational opportunities and supporting learning aspiration
– Economic prosperity, jobs and growth
– Culture, Health and WellbeingA- Environmental Sustainability

Inspire Lewisham, a £500,000 programme has already been launched to help Lewisham residents to develop skills and find employment in the creative industries, which sees Goldsmiths and Lewisham College working in partnership.

There are also plans to deliver law and wellbeing “street clinics” which will offer advice and information to local people at drop-in events, with other projects in development.

The CUA was proposed by Goldsmiths as part of the New Cross university’s ambition to make a difference to its home borough and make it easier for local people to access the university’s services and expertise – the first of its kind in the UK.

Professor Frances Corner, Warden of Goldsmiths said: “The challenges facing Lewisham are stark.

“We have been hit hard by the pandemic, feel the impact of the climate emergency in the air we breathe and have to deal with the consequences of entrenched poverty and inequality every day.

“With the government’s ‘levelling up’ policy clearly focused outside of London these 12 organisations are joining together to take action and make life better in our home borough.

“We are incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by talented, hard-working and passionate people and this new agreement will provide opportunity for residents and business to grow and thrive.”

Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham, said: “The impact of the pandemic continues to be felt right across our borough, and has shone a light on important issues that as a Council we are committed to tackling through our Future Lewisham plans – from the climate crisis to health inequalities and educational and employment opportunities.

“I am proud to see our key local organisations working together to support Lewisham at this crucial time.

“Independently we are all committed to improving the lives of people in our borough, but together we can achieve so much more, especially in the ongoing financial climate.

“I’m looking forward to working even more closely with our partners and seeing the real benefits this brings for our residents.”

Pictured top from left to right: Damien Egan, Mayor of Lewisham; Professor Frances Corner, Warden, Goldsmiths, University of London; Femi Komolafe, Young Mayor of Lewisham – who all spoke at the launch event at the Horniman Museum on October 12.

More information about the Civic University Agreement can be found on the Goldsmiths website: https://www.gold.ac.uk/community/civic/cua/

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