New Cross Councillor Brenda Dacres is set to become the new deputy mayor of Lewisham.

Lewisham’s mayor Damien Egan announced his intention to nominate Cllr Dacres for the role today (April 9), along with his intended nomination for a new cabinet member for jobs and skills (job share), Whitefoot Cllr Kim Powell.

The nominations will officially be made at the Lewisham Council Annual General Meeting (AGM) in May 2021.

Former Cllr Joe Dromey left his role as cabinet member for jobs and skills after announcing he was leaving the council in January to start at  a full time role at Central London Forward (CLF).

Cllr Joani Reid stepped in to the role in the interim, but will not continue serving in the cabinet.

The current deputy mayor, Cllr Chris Best, Lewisham’s longest serving councillor, will remain in her role as cabinet member of health and adult social care.

Cllr Dacres became involved in her local community when she joined a campaign for better funding for her son’s primary school in Lewisham.

She became a community activist in Deptford and joined the Labour Party. Cllr Dacres has been a councillor since 2014 and has served in the Lewisham cabinet since 2018.

She is a graduate of the first Jo Cox Women in Leadership Programme and serves as secretary and executive member of the National Association of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Councillors. Cllr Dacres has a law degree and was called to the bar in 2006.

She will keep her role as cabinet member for safer communities.

Cllr Dacres said: “I am honoured to be nominated as deputy mayor of Lewisham.

“It is a privilege to represent New Cross and Deptford since 2014, and Lewisham as a cabinet member since 2018 under Mayor Damien Egan.

“My mum and dad came to the UK from the Caribbean in the early 1960s and I am very proud of my heritage as a Black Caribbean Lewisham resident.

“My dad was a taxi driver and my mum was an NHS nurse. Our family story is one of hard work and community values, and in everything I do as deputy mayor I will try to make my family proud.

“As a hardworking single mum of a son who went to Lewisham schools I know how difficult life can be, the pressures our communities are under, and the challenges facing our young people, and I will continue to champion our communities.

“I am inspired by the vibrant diversity of our borough, residents and businesses, and I will work hard to support the mayor to bring this passion into the heart of Lewisham Council.”

Cllr Powell, first elected in 2019, manages the Catford Soup Kitchen and is a director of the Whitefoot and Downham Community Food Plus Project.

“It is an honour to be asked by the mayor to join the cabinet.

“I am particularly pleased that my cabinet portfolio will include responsibility for working with our fantastic local businesses, and the Lewisham apprenticeship programme.

“There is a youth employment crisis in the country and we have to do everything we can to make sure our residents have access to Living Wage jobs,” she said.

Mayor Egan said: “I am delighted to be nominating Brenda Dacres to become the new Deputy Mayor of Lewisham.

“Brenda is a hardworking community activist who has so much to offer our borough.

“Her values of fairness and equality are leadership qualities I admire, and I know she will serve our Council well in her new role.

“Brenda is a visible local leader, absolutely rooted in her community, and I really value her support and friendship.”

He said he was also “delighted” to nominate Cllr Powell.

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“Kim is an asset to our Lewisham community, working hard to promote local food projects that offer hope to people who most need our help.

“Lewisham’s businesses are vital to our Covid recovery and Kim will help us promote and support them in any way we can,” Mayor Egan said.

He also thanked Cllr Best for her “invaluable” support over the last three years and Cllr Reid for being a “hard-working and trusted cabinet member”.