Tucked behind houses on Kilmorie Road is the Young Lewisham Project, which many people in this area may not even know exists! It’s a community project that supports young people in Lewisham to become responsible and valued citizens.
Started as long ago as 1974, the project began when a group of local Lewisham residents were frustrated by the fact that some of the young people in their neighbourhood were getting into too much trouble, especially through 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 young people to fix motorbikes rather than steal them!
Together, the local residents turned one of their garages into a small workshop and encouraged local youths to come along and learn the basics of motorbike mechanics; and the Young Lewisham Project was born.
The aim of the project is to support young people to become active citizens, take responsibility, learn about the local community and understand how to improve their own surroundings; and to provide important links with other resources within the borough that support young people.
Programmes that take place each week at the workshop site include motorcycle and bicycle maintenance, woodworking, furniture restoration, art, gardening and allotment work. Residential trips and off-site activities also take place throughout the year and the programme works with up to 150 young people each year who are referred by partner agencies.
As with all charities in times of austerity, the Young Lewisham Project is always looking for volunteers to help maintain its success. Sometimes they need the help of volunteers in specific areas and are currently looking for someone who can commit for two or three days/afternoons a week to help with general administration —such as recording student information, collating information for funding reports and helping with general administrative tasks of the organisation.
There are also plans to run some evening classes to utilise the workshop space and generate income. If you are interested in finding out more or getting involved, or are inspired by what goes on, please have a look at their website at https://www.younglewisham.org.uk.