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Case study: Levelling Up Lewisham programme mobilisation

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

Client: Lewisham Council

Date: February 2023 - May 2023

Challenges faced by the client:

Following a successful bid to the Levelling Up Fund, supported by Mutual Ventures, Lewisham Council were awarded nearly £20m to invest in the infrastructure of its town centre. This included ambitious plans for Lewisham Market, refurbishment of the central library as a ‘culture and business hub’, and improving the design of the public realm and linkages around the area.

Lewisham Council needed to work at pace to get the project established and begin work on the ground. An effective mobilisation phase was critical for the success of the project – to ensure a commonly-understood vision and goals, clear roles and responsibilities, effective tracking of tasks and outcomes, and delivery on time and to budget.

Support offered:

Lewisham Council appointed Mutual Ventures to support officers to get the Levelling Up project up-and-running and to establish the conditions for successful delivery over the subsequent three years. Previously we had supported the council in the development of the Levelling Up Fund bid.

Our support for mobilisation was divided into three stages:

  1. Scoping and testing – review of the original bid to identify issues and risks, identifying ‘what has changed?’, any variance in assumptions and the impact of inflation. This phase also involved advising on the relationship and communication with central government.

  2. Project planning – designing the internal project management arrangements in order to establish a robust structure for delivery. This included developing governance structure, defining roles and responsibilities and change control procedures.

  3. Establishing delivery structure – advising on the delivery structure and processes to manage ongoing delivery until 2025.

Our approach was to work flexibly with council colleagues, drawing on the skills and knowledge across our teams.

Outcome achieved:

Our work helped to build an effective and robust structure, getting the programme off to a good start. The council was able to create a commonly understood narrative around the project, clear roles and responsibilities and a coherent vision around unlocking the economic and civic potential of Lewisham town centre. Our work helped to establish a supportive and pragmatic environment for programme delivery.

During the course of programme delivery between now and 2025, anticipated outcomes for Lewisham and its residents are:

  • Increase in consumer spending, attracting new and higher-spending shoppers (whilst continuing to offer essential retailing for our lower income residents).

  • Increase in employment, stimulating the local economy by creating new jobs in the day and night-time economy.

  • Improved business sentiment, attracting new small businesses and start-ups.

  • Boost local pride and sense of place, enhancing the link with the culture and heritage of Lewisham.

  • Increase in pedestrian and cycle flow, increasing number and quality of journeys, reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality.

Mutual Ventures were fantastic in supporting us to mobilise our Levelling Up Fund programme in Lewisham. They were proactive, were a professional sounding board for our questions and concerns, and were a fundamental resource that helped us get to grips with what needed to be done. Their knowledge and experience helped us to think about things we hadn’t even yet considered yet. I would personally recommend other local authorities to work with Mutual Ventures as they work to mobilise their programmes.

Laura Ahern, Principal Town Centre Growth Officer


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