Children and Young People
Lewisham is a young borough. One quarter of our residents are aged 0–19 years old. Our young people have great talent and potential, and we want them to make the best start in life and grow up well-equipped to take advantage of the opportunities available to them in the diverse and vibrant city they live in. But they face challenges, not least the fact that a third of our children grow up in poverty.
Giving all children a great start is not something that can be done by any single organisation working in isolation – not the Council, a school or a voluntary group working alone. It takes the whole community working together. Our children’s future is everyone’s business.
Our sixth children and young people’s plan sets out how we will work together to make a difference to the lives of our children and young people. To do this we have agreed four priorities for the next three years:
- Priority 1: Children and young people have the best start in life and are protected from harm
- Priority 2: Children and young people have good physical and emotional health
- Priority 3: Children and young people develop, achieve and are ready for adulthood
- Priority 4: Children and young people feel listened to and respected
We have a lot to be proud of. A large majority of our youngest children continue to do well in their early years. Our school-led school improvement partnership, Lewisham Learning, is strengthening education in our schools, and increasing numbers of young people are going on to higher education. We have begun to use the strength of our partnerships to develop ‘whole systems’ approaches, which are making a difference in tackling childhood obesity and improving healthy activities such as breastfeeding. In our Youth Offending Service, we are using trauma-informed processes to work with young people at risk of being the victim or perpetrator of serious youth violence.
But we need to continue to be ambitious. We must continue to support children and young people to be safe and make safe choices. We want all young people to make progress in their education and achieve their ambitions. We also know that some children and young people face more difficulties than others. While focusing on all, we will prioritise action for specific groups – for example, in our role as corporate parent to our Looked After Children, and our support for young carers, children with special educational needs and disabilities, those who are seeking asylum and young people who are at risk from exploitation.
We have a strong desire to give all of our 75,000 young people the opportunity to thrive and achieve. We are determined to tackle obstacles in the way of that, and we look forward to continuing our work with children, young people, their families and the Lewisham Partnership.