Lewisham’s mayor and cabinet members approved decisions behind closed doors this week.  

In a mayoral meeting on Wednesday, March 25, cabinet members joined Mayor Damien Egan via conference call to approve four items.  

Exactly what was discussed is not available to the public, but if the lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 continues for a longer period of time, the council will “look at improving its digital coverage of meetings to run alongside conference calls”.  

Mayor Egan said the meeting was to deal with “urgent decisions”, while all non-urgent decisions have been postponed.  

“The council only brought forward urgent decisions and cabinet members joined via conference call. 

“All non-urgent decisions have currently been postponed while the council completely focuses on its response to the coronavirus and protecting vulnerable residents,” he said.  

Grants of more than £30,000 for community projects were approved during the meeting, the money to go to improving health and wellbeing locally.  

See more: £30K for community projects fighting isolation and improving health in Lewisham

The Somerville, a community centre, adventure playground, and youth club service, was awarded £11,000 for its Happier Days project.  

The project aims to reduce social isolation by finding young and older adults to join in community activities with proven therapeutic outcomes, including cooking, mosaic art and upcycling. 

Lee Green Lives and Manor Park Friends were awarded £10,264. 

Manor Park Friends will use the fund to create a gardening club, while The Living Well in and around Lee Green project aims to reduce social isolation by putting on sessions to get people active.  

The Diamond Club was awarded £11,500 for its project ‘Come Fly with Me’, which consists of an inter-faith partnership providing activities in Catford South, Downham, Grove Park and Whitefoot for people aged 60 and over and their carers and families. 

It will provide alternative activities locally to people unable to take a traditional family holiday. 

Activities will include a ‘virtual airline’, giving people who can’t go away a holiday experience, which would include volunteers being airline crew. 

Family fun days in the park will be arranged, as well as art and craft workshops.   

The aim is to address isolation, promote health and mental wellbeing, address holiday poverty, and support those living with dementia.  

A single equality framework was also approved, covering the next four years.  

It sets out how specific objectives will be achieved to improve equality.  

The council’s five equality objectives include promoting access to opportunities for seldom heard communities, tackling socio-ecomonic inequality affecting the most disadvantaged and vulnerable in the borough, improving the quality of life of residents by tackling preventable illnesses and diseases, promote Lewisham as a borough of inclusion for all, and promoting active citizenship and social responsibility.  

The annual lettings plan, which sets out how the council will allocate the properties that become available for let in 2020/21, was also approved.  

According to the report: “The number of lets available has been decreasing in recent years.  

“Between 2014/15 and 2018/19 the number of available re-lets decreased by 6 per cent.   

“It is expected that this decrease in available re-lets will continue.  

“Projections indicate that 860 properties will be available for let in 2020/21.” 

A change to a former decision to protect 13 properties from development to include windows unless planning permission is granted was deferred.