In 1974 a group of local Lewisham residents were frustrated by the fact that a few of the young people in their neighbourhood were getting in too much trouble, especially with stealing motorbikes. They knew it was largely because they were bored and had nothing to do but just didn’t know how to tackle the problem. It was then that one of the residents came across a project in Birmingham that had set up a workshop for the young people to not steal motorbikes but to do them up. Together the local residents turned one of their garages into a small workshop and encouraged the local youths to come along and learn the basics of motorbike mechanics and the Young Lewisham Project was born.
Since those humble beginnings the Young Lewisham Project has had many reincarnations and many different homes. However it was the dedication of a small community taking matters into their own hands that has brought us to where we are today!
The here and now
The Young Lewisham Project offers a wide range of supportive alternative vocational programmes to young people who are not succeeding in mainstream education for a variety of reasons. We do not replace statutory provision.
Programmes take place each week on our site including motorcycle & bicycle maintenance, woodwork, furniture restoration, art, gardening and allotment work. Residential trips and off site activities also take place throughout the year and we work with up to 150 young people each year who are referred by partner agencies.
The Young Lewisham Project supports young people to become active citizens, take self-responsibility, to learn about the local community, how to improve their our own surroundings and to link with other provision within the borough.
Statements and case studies from partner agencies including schools, evidence the impact the sessions have on young people. Communication skills, feelings of well being, engagement both within the project as well as with the wider community and friendships within groups develop during the course of the programme with real development taking place for those who continue on to other programmes.
Young people input into the planning process of the curriculum and individual sessions this is evidenced particularly with the ASDAN (award scheme development accreditation network) programmes.
Our Take Two Programme and the Motorcycle Maintenance Programme are accredited via the Open College Network (OCN). Our Independent Living Programme is accredited via ASDAN.
People at Young Lewisham are encouraged to access other programmes, progress on to other courses within the project or to further education and to work placements. Several of our young volunteers who themselves attended the project have now been offered paid employment at Young Lewisham
The Young Lewisham Project is a Gold Scheme achievement award provider funded by Jack Petchey. Young Lewisham is named in the Approved Alternative Provider directory for Lewisham.
Young Lewisham has a strong track record of working with schools, Social Services, the Leaving Care Team, Youth Offending Team, the Youth Service, special needs schools and projects, Road Safety Team, environment and allotment groups. Young Lewisham is committed to partnership and collaboration work.