Published 05/07/21



Dear all,

In May, I was delighted to be reappointed to Southwark’s Cabinet as Cabinet Member for Equalities, Neighbourhoods and Leisure and, as I move into this slightly different role, I wanted to write to you, as incredibly valued members of our voluntary and community sector, to set out some of the areas of focus in the months ahead. It was a real privilege to join the Southwark Stars awards recently which showed so clearly the amazing community spirit and activism we have across our borough.

Since I was first appointed I have really enjoyed working with many of you whether on the Community Support Alliance, the brilliant Connected at Christmas campaign or on the recent letter to the Home Secretary challenging her on the Windrush compensation scheme.

That partnership working is key to continuing to both combat and recover from Covid and is central to how I want to work with you all to find solutions as we look to the future.

In addition to previous responsibilities within Equalities and Communities, I am now lead Cabinet Member for the Community Support Alliance, the Southwark Stands Together programme and Borough of Sanctuary.  

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on our borough and has exacerbated existing inequalities. Responding to and recovering from the pandemic is an unprecedented challenge and will be our biggest priority in the months and years ahead. Our priorities, set out in our borough plan are to take bold action to

  • create a fairer and more just society
  • deliver new quality, affordable homes
  • tackle the climate emergency
  • rebuild the local economy
  • give young people in our borough the best opportunities in life

Within my portfolio I wanted to highlight some of the key areas I am focussed on- which can only be achieved working with all of you

  • Tackling racism and inequality: in July we will be launching an updated equalities framework to further embed promoting equalities in everything we do as a council.  We will also be presenting the annual report on Southwark Stands Together to cabinet. This programme was launched in response to the murder of George Floyd and has included a huge amount of listening work with our communities. Whilst we have made some progress, there is still a huge amount to do. As part of this work, we have established a review of all of our Council grant making and commissioning processes to remove any barriers to equal access to funding for our Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. The findings will be published in the autumn. We will also be undertaking a review of our community spaces which we know is an issue for many of you.  More information on Southwark Stands Together can be read here.
  • Continuing to work with the voluntary and community sector to develop and strengthen the Community Support Alliance, modelling new ways to provide support to our most vulnerable residents and to bring communities together.

  • Supporting and promoting volunteering and community action: we will be launching the new Volunteering strategy in September with Community Southwark and we would love to hear your views on how we can encourage more people to get involved in our brilliant borough

There is obviously a lot more ongoing work for example and these are just some of the things going on. As ever please do reach out with any ideas, thoughts or questions.

I look forward to seeing you all soon

Best

Cllr Alice Macdonald 

Cabinet Member for Equalities, Neighbourhoods and Leisure