Project Centre hosted Althea Loderick, Chief Executive of the London Borough of Newham this week as part of a series of presentations organised by our Women’s Learning and Development Network (WLDN). Althea spoke about her life, balancing personal and professional responsibilities as well as some of her previous challenging career roles. These include the HM Prison Service and the National Policing Improvement Agency before returning to local government where she worked at Waltham Forest and Brent Councils before becoming Chief Executive of Newham two years ago. She is also an active People Committee Member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).
Newham itself is an impressive borough, the third largest in London with a population of 365,000 (2020) where 73% of residents are Black, Asian or from Ethnic backgrounds. It is one of the youngest boroughs with an average age of 32.3. However, Newham has one of London’s highest rates of relative poverty with 27,000 residents on its Housing Scheme waiting list. When COVID-19 hit, Newham was one of the boroughs most affected.
Althea has been consistently focused on delivering the Mayor’s agenda to address the challenges faced by the people who live in her borough from housing to employment as well as taking forward the huge opportunities in Newham as a place. One of the main things that attracted Althea to the role was the direct-action Newham takes, being one of the first boroughs to adopt an inclusive growth agenda. This means that by 2030 Newham will have 43,000 new homes, 60,000 new jobs and an additional 49,000 residents in Newham as part of its scheme to increase wealth and prosperity in the area.
It was an inspiration to hear Althea talk about her career path and the challenges she’s faced, including sexism and racism in the workplace but also balancing family life with a demanding job. We were honoured to have the chance to learn from her experience and can’t wait to see the next influential presenter to speak as part of our WLDN.