29 March 2021

Upcoming Meetings & Key Dates

  • Every Monday until Election (Excl LG dates) – Labour Dialogue Sessions
  • Tuesday 6th April – AGM Pack circulated with timetable & deadlines
  • Monday 26th April – Labour Group AGM Part 1
  • Thursday 6th May – London Mayoral Election & Local By-Elections

 COVID-19 Vaccines Update

  • Residents aged over 50, frontline health or social care workers, carers for someone at high risk from COVID-19, people with a learning disability, people clinically extremely vulnerable (high risk) or clinically vulnerable (moderate risk) can all book a vaccination appointment by visiting nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119.

 Congratulations Samantha Latouche & Rachel Onikosi: New Cross & Bellingham by-election Candidates

  • Lewisham Labour welcomes Samantha Latouche, newly selected New Cross Council Candidate, and Rachel Onikosi, recently selected Bellingham Candidate.
  • Samantha is a local mum of three and a former Chair of Lewisham Speaking Up, an independent Charity supporting people with learning disabilities.
  • Rachel is an ex-Labour Councillor (2014-2018) who we are delighted to welcome back, she is a local School Governor, as well as a Human Rights advocate, and former Cabinet Member for the Public Realm.
  • You can read the official Lewisham Labour Press Release
  • They both join Jack Lavery for Sydenham and James Royston for Catford South as Lewisham Labour Council Candidates.

Refugees & Sanctuary Borough Update

  • Cllr Kevin Bonavia has written a report which sets out the support that we as a Labour Council are giving to refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants during the coronavirus pandemic.
  • This also details the work we have been doing campaigning and lobbying this callous Tory Government, challenging their complete disregard for the vulnerable in our communities. Read the full report
  • Working in conjunction with Doctors of the World (DOTW) and Lewisham Refugee and Migrant Network (LRMN), we coordinated a letter to GP practices promoting the Safe Surgeries initiative and reinforcing the need for refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to be registered with the NHS in order to receive the Covid vaccine.
  • Lewisham Labour will fight to ensure the Vaccine is available to everyone in our community, regardless of status: immigration or otherwise.

 Community Outreach: iPad loans and fortnightly Zoom chats

  • Lewisham Libraries will soon have 30 iPads with free data available to loan to library members, so that residents who may be feeling isolated can join Zoom events. Library staff will lead discussions about what people have been reading, watched on TV or heard on the radio, as well as reading poems, short stories and doing quizzes and puzzles together.
  • This is a great example of how Council services are working differently during lockdown, and how Labour are still supporting those in our communities who need us the most, despite ongoing, Tory-inflicted cuts.

 International Women’s Day 2021

  • Despite Covid-19 restrictions preventing the usual public event on March 8th, these did not stop an amazing and diverse range of contributions to inform, entertain, educate and inspire: all produced and broadcast online.
  • Contributions included: A short film of female Lewisham Council leaders, including the Lewisham Mayoresses, sharing experiences and challenges, A 10 minute history of IWD and today’s challenges as well as recordings of inspirational local business women and community activists and much more.
  • The full programme of events and International Women’s Day features remains available to view on I Am Lewisham.
  • You can also read Cllr Joan Millbank’s excellent blog on the topic

 Culture and Diversity Advisory Forum: Borough of Culture 2022

 Mayoral Election Reminder: Early Voting Sign up

  • London’s Mayoral Election takes play on May 6th, and the deadline for registering for an early postal vote is midnight Monday 19th
  • Don’t forget to sign up for your early vote today – and encourage your friends, family and residents to register too https://votelondon.labour.org.uk

01 March 2021

Upcoming Meetings

  • Wednesday 3rd March – Full Council: Budget
  • Monday 8th March – Labour Dialogue Session (5:30pm)
  • Monday 22nd March – Labour Group Meeting

 Councillor Sue Hordijenko RIP

  • We are extremely saddened to announce the death of our valued colleague, Councillor Sue Hordijenko, elected to Lewisham Council in a by-election in 2016 proudly representing Bellingham ward.
  • We have lost a kind and compassionate Councillor who always found the time and effort to support people when they needed her help. She was a popular and respected figure both in the Council and local community, and will be deeply missed by many. Our thoughts are with Sue’s family at this difficult time.
  • A JustGiving page has been set up in Sue’s memory, to support a cause close to her heart: the Marcus Rashford charity ‘FareShare’, which fights hunger in the nation’s most vulnerable communities. To donate please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sue-hordijenko
  • The Council has also opened an online book of condolences for friends, family and colleagues of Sue to share their thoughts and tributes, which can be found here: https://councillorsuehordijenko.muchloved.com/

 COVID Testing & Vaccines Update

  • This year we have administered over 8,500 rapid tests across our sites in Lewisham. Deptford Lounge is now fully open as a rapid testing centre, alongside the Civic Suite and the Green Man.Ignition Brewery at the Sydenham Centre also opened as a rapid testing centre for residents this month, bringing the number of centres in Lewisham up to four.
  • The NHS in Lewisham has now offered the COVID vaccine to everyone aged 70 or over, all frontline health & social care workers, and people who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’. If you know anyone in these categories (vaccine priority groups 1 to 4) who hasn’t yet had the vaccination, please encourage them to book their vaccination online now at nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119.

 Stop & Search: MP Surgeries

  • Research has shown that members of the Black community are 9 times more likely to be stopped & searched by police, and Human Rights charity Justice have gone so far as to call for the controversial powers to be suspended.
  • Vicky Foxcroft, MP for Lewisham Deptford and Janet Daby, MP for Lewisham East are both holding virtual surgeries for residents who have been unfairly impacted by this issue.
  • The Lewisham Deptford Stop & Search Surgery will be on 6th March between 1pm-4pm, and the Lewisham East Surgery will take place on 9th March between 12pm-2pm. For more information contact Foxcroft.MP@parliament.uk or Janet.Daby.MP@parliament.uk

 Campaign Dialogue Sessions

  • Cllr Kevin Bonavia has been arranging Dialogue training and campaigning sessions for Councillors in advance of the upcoming elections.
  • These will be scheduled for Monday evenings when there are no Labour Group meetings or All-Member Briefings and will take place over Zoom. The next session will be 5:30pm 8th

 Lewisham Sanctuary Borough

  • We have been campaigning to make all Lewisham GP practices “Safe Surgeries” for refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants so that they can safely access the Covid vaccine and other services. Please see the attached link with our letter to all GP practices
  • You can download Cllr Bonavia’s briefing note which includes updates on the progress of our commitments to refugee resettlement and making Lewisham a Borough of Sanctuary And see our mention in the Independent here.

Lewisham Council Budget 2021/2022

  • On Wednesday 3rd March, Full Council will formally pass the 2021/2022 Budget. The @LewishamLabour Twitter account will be live tweeting relevant info and graphics throughout the meeting – please share these Tweets alongside the previously circulated Budget comms materials.

 Mayoral Election Reminder: Early Voting Sign up

01 February 2021

 Upcoming Meetings

  • Monday 8th February – Labour Group Meeting
  • Monday 1st March – Labour Group Meeting
  • Wednesday 3rd March – Full Council: Budget

 COVID Testing & Vaccines Survey

  • Further to our previous update on the new Rapid Testing Centres in the borough, we have also just opened an additional rapid test centre at The Green Man in Downham. Anyone that is leaving home for work can book a test there at lewisham.gov.uk/rapidtest
  • The Council COVID vaccination survey has already had an impressive response. Early analysis shows that the vast majority of respondents would get the vaccine when it is their turn. Please encourage your members and residents to take a moment to complete the survey at lewisham.gov.uk/vaccinesurvey so we can gather views from across Lewisham, particularly in the BAME community.

Mayoral Election Reminder: Early Voting Sign up

  • We saw that early voters in the US helped Joe Biden defeat Donald Trump – and hopefully they can do the same here to Boris Johnson and the Tories in the London Mayoral Election.
  • Sign up for your early vote today – and encourage your friends, family and residents to register too https://votelondon.labour.org.uk
  • Tory Mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey has already been reported to the Crown Prosecution Service for his dangerously misleading election leaflets, and it’s important we do everything we can to highlight his duplicity to residents https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-55805172

 Mayor’s Awards 2020

  • Last month saw us celebrating the recipients of this year’s Mayor’s Awards which recognise those who made exceptional contributions to the borough’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This year almost 200 nominations were made for individuals, young people, community groups, voluntary organisations and local businesses.
  • You can watch a series of interviews with some of the recipients, including Evelyn Community Store and Lewisham Foodbank, at https://www.iamlewisham.uk/ as well as local barber Ziggy’s story picked up by the BBC at https://t.co/FiT5qIt74k?amp=1

Farewell Joe Dromey

  • We sadly say goodbye to New Cross Councillor Joe Dromey, Cabinet Member for Culture, Jobs and Skills (job share) has announced he is leaving the Council to take on a new full time role as Director of Central London Forward (CLF), a partnership of 12 local authorities focused on driving inclusive growth in the capital.
  • He has been a champion for the borough’s small businesses as well as residents in New Cross. The by-election will take place at the same time as Sydenham and Catford South as well as the London Mayoral election, in May 2021.
  • Cllr Joani Reid (recently returned from parental leave) will be taking over Cllr Dromey’s cabinet responsibilities as Cabinet Member for Culture, Jobs and Skills, job share with Cllr Andre Bourne.
  • We wish Joe the best of luck in both of his new roles: Director and Father!

Labour Campaign for Free School Meals extension

  • Following on from the successful campaign to lobby the government to provide FSM during school holidays, Labour are keeping up the pressure and campaigning to demand another free school meals extension over this coming half term: https://labour.org.uk/press/labour-demands-free-school-meals-extension-over-february-half-term/
  • We know that these meals can be absolutely vital for the most vulnerable children and families in our community, and Labour will do everything possible to ensure that they are looked after.

 Holocaust Memorial Day 2021

  • A special pre-recorded Lewisham service was streamed and hosted on the Council website, details of which can still be found and watched online on our dedicated webpage.
  • If you weren’t able to join the Holocaust Memorial Day annual service you can still watch the recording, this year’s theme is “Be the Light in the Darkness”.

18 January 2021

Upcoming Meetings

  • Monday 25th January – Follow-up Labour Group Budget Meeting
  • Wednesday 27th January – Full Council
  • Monday 8th February – Labour Group Meeting

COVID infection rates rising in Lewisham

  • The seven-day infection rate in Lewisham has topped 1,000 per 100,000 which is a sobering statistic, and shows the importance of all of us doing our part in encouraging residents to stay at home where possible.
  • Hospitals are coming under significant pressure and we must do everything we can to protect the NHS and our colleagues in Lewisham Hospital.

Community Testing Launched

  • Last week saw the Council open its first community testing facility in the Civic Suite in Catford. The testing centre is currently providing rapid testing for people who do not have any COVID symptoms (as many as one in three people with Coronavirus will not have any symptoms). So far over 2000 residents have been tested with the lateral flow tests.
  • Rapid tests must be booked in advance online. There are no walk in appointments available. Appointments can be booked at lewisham.gov.uk/communitytesting

Council Budget 2021 & Mayor’s Budget Meetings

  • The Mayor’s Office coordinated with our 3 Lewisham MPs to write a letter to Rishi Sunak explicitly stating how unacceptable it is that due to continued Government under-funding, Councils like ours are being forced into making cuts that will have a detrimental effect on our residents and services.
  • The £150m cut to Lewisham Council’s budget since 2010 equates to an average loss of service spending of £500 per resident. See the letter here: https://twitter.com/elliereeves/status/1341321234362019842/photo/1
  • Contrary to what the Government had been briefing in advance about increased Council spending, over 80% of the increase in our spending power relates to our ability to raise Council Tax up to the full 4.99%, with the expectation that our residents will contribute to the increase through this regressive tax.
  • The Mayor has completed all of the planned CLP Budget Meetings and is now doing individual branch meetings. If a session hasn’t been set up for your next branch contact the Mayor or Robbie to set one up.

In Conversation with David Lammy

  • The Mayor recently launched a series of “in conversation with” events for Lewisham Labour party members so they can hear directly from senior people across the movement.
  • The first of these “in conversation with” events saw the Mayor joined by David Lammy MP, the Shadow Secretary of State for Justice. This was a really interesting and informative event, which had over 100 member sign-ups.
  • There will be more of these with senior Labour figures in the future, keep an eye out for the Mayor’s Newsletter where further details will be flagged.

Universal Credit Council Motion

Holocaust Memorial Day

  • Wednesday 27th January is Holocaust Memorial Day, a day to remember the millions of lives lost in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur.
  • This year a special pre-recorded Lewisham service will be streamed and hosted on the Council website, details of which can be found online in our dedicated webpage.



New Cross Fire 40th Anniversary Memorial

  • This weekend marked the 40th anniversary of the New Cross Fire that tragically led to the deaths of 14 young Black people in Lewisham.
  • You can watch the online memorial service to remember those whose lives were lost and changed as a result of the New Cross Fire. This was pre-recorded at St Andrew’s Church in Brockley and in people’s homes. It features prayers, poems, hymns and readings to reflect and remember this tragic event in our borough.
  • https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/events/remembering-new-cross-fire

Winter Appeal: Thank You

  • The Mayor has extended thanks to all those who publicised and contributed to Lewisham’s winter appeal, which raised money to provide gifts to vulnerable children and support people experiencing homelessness during the winter – raising over £40,000!
  • You can find out more and still donate to the appeal at https://www.lewishamwinterappeal.com/


14 December 2020

Covid-19 Update: London goes into Tier 3 on Wednesday 16 November

  • The Health Secretary announced today that as of midnight tomorrow, London will be going in to Tier 3: Very High Alert.
  • A reminder of what the restrictions will mean for our residents and local businesses are here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-3-very-high-alert
  • The messaging from Government has been regularly criticised for its ambiguity, so at this time it is important that we communicate to our communities how we can all keep safe until the vaccine is fully deployed.

 Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) & StreetLink Support

  • When the weather is forecast to be very cold for three consecutive nights, the Severe Weather Emergency Protocol (SWEP) is activated. SPEAR in partnership with the local authorities is able to provide emergency accommodation for those with nowhere else to go.
  • StreetLink aims to offer the public a means to act when they see someone sleeping rough, and is the first step someone can take to ensure rough sleepers are connected to the local services and support available to them.
  • If you are concerned about someone sleeping rough, send an alert to StreetLink by visiting streetlink.org.uk via the mobile app, or by calling 0300 500 0914.

Lewisham Labour Stands up to the Hostile Environment

  • The Government has recently changed the Immigration Rules to include making rough sleeping a legal ground to cancel or refuse permission to stay in the UK – this is an abhorrent and cruel step to take which unfairly discriminates against people simply for not being able to find shelter. Even worse, it deters people from seeking or accepting support.
  • We are proud to announce publicly that our services in Lewisham will not collaborate with the Home Office on this issue.
  • Read the full statement from Cllrs Bell & Bonavia here: https://lewisham.gov.uk/articles/news/lewisham-council-says-no-to-new-immigration-rules

Local Implementation Plan (LIP) Funding

  • At the start of the 2020/21 financial year, all LIP funding that the Council usually receives from Transport for London (TfL) was withdrawn.
  • Last month we received notification from TfL that following the financial deal they reached with Government they are able to reinstate LIP funding for the remainder of the financial year.
  • As part of this Lewisham will receive £761,000 LIP Corridors funding (compared to £1.94m for the full year). This will enable us to deliver some of the previously agreed programme of works, but not all.
  • See here for more details on what this means for the Council: https://lewisham.gov.uk/inmyarea/regeneration/transport-and-major-infrastructure/local-implementation-plan

 Shop Local: Supporting Lewisham’s small businesses

  • Lewisham has one of the highest numbers of small and independent businesses in London. As you will very well know, this year businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic, and as we enter the crucial pre-Christmas period, local businesses need us to support them more than ever.
  • The Council has launched a ‘Shop Safe, Shop Local’ campaign, which is focused on promoting small businesses in Lewisham and safeguarding local jobs. Follow the link for more info and for the ongoing Shop Safe, Shop Local campaign materials: https://www.lewishamlabour.com/shop-safe-shop-local-to-support-local-businesses-and-protect-local-jobs/

 Updated Housing Allocations Policy: Public Consultation

  • Following approval at Mayor & Cabinet, a consultation into changes to the Housing Allocations Policy is now live, with an example of progressive changes listed below:
  1. Modifying the “overcrowded” rehousing reason to ensure that those experiencing the most severe overcrowding are prioritised.
  2. Increasing the number of properties an applicant can bid for each week.

 Winter Appeal Reminder

  • The Mayor has officially launched Lewisham’s winter appeal, raising money to provide gifts to vulnerable children and support people experiencing homelessness this winter.
  • You can find out more and donate to the appeal at https://www.lewishamwinterappeal.com/ please share this link with your friends, family and residents.


30 November 2020

Upcoming Meetings

  • Monday 7th December – Labour Group
  • Monday 11th January – Labour Group

 Catford South & Sydenham Ward By-Election Council Candidates

 Winter Appeal

  • The Mayor has officially launched Lewisham’s winter appeal, which is raising money for Voluntary Services Lewisham and the 999 Club, to provide a gift to vulnerable children and support people experiencing homelessness this winter:
  • £5 donation will buy a stocking gift for a vulnerable child in Lewisham
  • £15 donation will purchase a present or gift voucher for a child or teenager in need
  • £25 will pay for a food hamper for a homeless person this winter
  • You can find out more and donate to the appeal at https://www.lewishamwinterappeal.com/

 Decolonising the Curriculum: Motion & Blog

  • Cllr Kim Powell brought this motion calling for the Government to review the current curriculum with the aim to make it more inclusive as well as representative. This was passed at Labour Group and subsequently Full Council.
  • She has written an excellent blog explaining why this is so important, and detailed some of her own experiences reflecting on this topic:
  • https://www.lewishamlabour.com/decolonising-the-curriculum/

 Classifying Misogyny as a Hate Crime: Motion & Blog

  • Cllr Susan Wise brought the Stella Creasy MP backed motion calling on the Government to start recording Misogyny as a hate crime.
  • Cllr Sophie Davis has written a brilliant and personal blog detailing her experiences around this, and explained why it is such an important issue.
  • Please read and share her blog here: https://www.lewishamlabour.com/classifying-misogyny-as-a-hate-crime/

 Local Business Grant Funding

  • Since the start of the crisis, we have already provided nearly £40m in grants to hundreds of local businesses.
  • This grant funding has helped countless local businesses through the crisis, and helped to protect thousands of local jobs.
  • The Government has recently announced a series of further grant schemes to support businesses most impacted by the crisis.
  • Applications for these grants opened today, with details of how to apply here. Please do feel free to share this with any local businesses in your ward who might be eligible. The earlier they apply, the earlier we can get them the cash.

Small Business Saturday 5th December

  • Small Business Saturday comes at a difficult time for local businesses: we are a borough of small businesses, and we want to do all we can to support businesses locally to thrive and create good quality jobs.
  • But encouraging residents to support small businesses and to #shoplocal is more important than ever – we will be sharing more information this week on how we will be supporting our small businesses – and how members can get involved.

 COVID-19: Local testing update

  • From next week, an additional local testing unit will open in Lewisham, making it even easier for residents to get a COVID-19 test.
  • This will be seven day a week facility at Molesworth car park (Molesworth Street, Lewisham, SE13 7DS) and it will operate from 8am to 8pm every day.
  • The Mobile Testing Unit in Catford will also be visiting the borough more frequently throughout December.

Rough Sleepers Funding Award

  • Lewisham Council has been awarded our full bid of £2,279,900 from the MHCLG. The funding comes from the Rough Sleeping Accommodation Programme.
  • This is on top of the £19m we were awarded from the GLA as part of our building programme earlier in October.
  • This funding will be used for further homelessness initiatives in Lewisham


16 November 2020

Upcoming Meetings

  • Monday 23rd November – Labour Group
  • Wednesday 26th November – Full Council
  • Monday 7th December – Labour Group

2021 Budget

  • We are faced with a massive financial challenge, task is to make our residents aware of the sheer scale of it and the visible impact it will have on Council services (Government has cut our budget by over 40% in real terms since 2010) – ten years of austerity combined with the overwhelming financial impact of COVID has left with us with far less money than we need, and Government refuses to help.
  • Council has put together shareable graphics representing the huge financial challenges we face. You can download all the images and an animation for the new comms campaign from WeTransfer here: https://we.tl/t-725svi3d35
  • Sharing the above within your wards and community networks through social media networks and local WhatsApp groups will help raise awareness of the Council’s financial position.

ProxyAddress Trial launched in Lewisham

  • ProxyAddress is a new project that provides those facing homelessness with a free address which they can use to access the support they need.
  • Without an address people experiencing homelessness can be prevented from accessing vital services like banking, applying to jobs, accessing benefits or even registering with a GP.
  • Lewisham is the first local authority in the UK to trial this service, and you can read more about the scheme online.

 Free School Meals

  • We have been supporting Marcus Rashford’s campaign to get the Government to help vulnerable families and children over the holidays: The Mayor’s Foodbank Appeal raised over £142,000 during Covid-19
  • The Mayoresses’ raised over £34,000 to provide packed lunches for Lewisham schoolchildren over the half-term holidays: Lewisham Labour Blog

 Lewisham & Lee Green Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

  • Changes to the scheme have recently been publicised, you can find all the relevant info here

Refugee Resettlement & Borough of Sanctuary

  • Since 2018 our refugee resettlement programme has been working hard to support an additional 100 families in need. As of March we had already resettled 30 families, but the arrival of COVID unfortunately led to the Government suspending the entire UK resettlement scheme.
  • Last week, we co-ordinated a joint letter with 15 other London councils urgently calling on Priti Patel to restart the scheme and save lives.
  • Subsequently we received confirmation from the Home Office that it is now looking to restart the scheme early in the New Year. We are currently pressing them for further details and are preparing places for the pending arrivals.
  • On 11 November 2020 Mayor & Cabinet approved the Council’s ground-breaking new sanctuary strategy, the first of its kind in the New Year. More info can be found here

 Schools in Lewisham Remain Open

  • Evidence indicates that a significant number of those children who could not attend school during the original lockdown period may have suffered educational, social and health problems as a result. The Labour Party is supporting the policy of keeping schools open – to protect children’s safety, welfare and educational development.
  • Lewisham Council is in weekly talks with the local NEU and other education unions about protecting staff, children and families. We support the unions in calling for more resources to keep people safe.
  • We sent a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Education, calling for schools to be given extra resources for supply staff to cover self-isolating or shielding teachers, comprehensive testing, PPE, cleaning and laptops for deprived children.

Planning for the Future: Lewisham Response

  • We have raised concerns in our response to the Government’s Planning for the Future White Paper, and have contributed to the response submitted by London Councils on behalf of London authorities.
  • The Mayor and Cllr Paul Bell, Cabinet Member for Housing and Planning, have both signed CPRE’s open letter calling on the Secretary of the State to reconsider the proposals.
  • We will continue pushing for the Government to rethink their approach, in order to ensure that any changes protect local democracy and help deliver genuinely affordable and good quality housing for Lewisham residents.

Housing Strategy

  • On 11 November 2020 Mayor & Cabinet approved consultation on new Housing Policy.
  • There is a chronic shortage of new social homes. There are increasing numbers of households in need of larger family homes, but the availability of 3-bed and up, is very limited.
  • In 2019/20 there were 363 families in need of a 5-bed home but only one of its size was let. Full details can be found on Cllr Bell’s blog here
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