Lambeth Girls Project was set up by a group of women youth workers who were concerned that girls were getting a ‘raw deal’ from existing youth facilities and wished to redress the balance by setting up a project specifically geared towards meeting the needs of girls.
Lambeth Girls Project, later Lambeth Women’s Project, provided a variety of crucial services and maintained a number of partnerships for over 30 years (1979-2012). It was considered a lifeline to women in Lambeth, not just locally but also nationally.
I was appointed as Youth Worker to establish Lambeth Girls Project to encourage personal development of girls and young women in Lambeth, to widen the range of opportunities open to them, and to provide information and resources to other professionals.
I spent several of my sessions looking at my position in the project as a black worker and how through my work I was often in situations where I experienced overt and/or covert racism. As a result of Lambeth Girls Project consultancy sessions, a number of positive changes have occurred within the project to shift its public image, composition of management committee, resources and contact networks from being predominantly white to being more representative of the community at large.
I was also involved in Gresham Young Women’s Group. It was initiated in April 1983. My main role was to provide support through attending weekly sessions and organising various activities, loaning crèche toys and any other equipment from the resources kept at the Girls Project. I was able to give them ideas, advice and guidance on a range of issues and problems which they faced in the course of their work.
OBAA: ‘Woman’ – Black Women’s Working With Girls Group was set up in November 1982 by some African and Asian women who were interested in developing a resource pack for black girls and young women which could be used in informal settings such as youth projects and young women’s groups. I found that group supportive in many ways and I used it as a reference point for sharing information regarding forthcoming events, women with tutor skills, local and national news and where necessary supporting an individual worker over a particular issue.
I initiated a training programme for black women youth workers run by black women which focused on work with black girls and young women. It was held for 4 weekly sessions and looked at the areas such as black women working with black young women, racist incidents which happen in the work, positive programmes for black women and a practical session learning skills such a batik and tie-dye. It was successful in meeting its aims and engaging black women tutors in training programmes.
I left Lambeth Girls Project in 1985 to start to work for Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) as Adviser for Work With Girls and Young Women. I continued supporting and developing youth and community work with girls and young women and established London-wide group for black women youth workers.