Former Mayor of Southwark
Althea Smith’s desire to come into politics was borne out of growing up in a high crime area. She was a trusted member of the community known for her ability to negotiate between the police and members of the community. Having initially chosen a nursing career, in 2006 having been a proactive community activist, Althea decided to translate the years of grassroots activism into elected office.
Althea Smith represented the Nunhead ward in the south London borough from 2006 – 2014 and was elected the borough’s first citizen in May 2012. She was a popular figure and hundreds of people came out at events to pay tribute to her year of service. More importantly, she diligently fulfilled her duties, attending more than 700 civic engagements throughout the year,”
As a former Councillor and Mayor of Southwark, Althea was and still is well acquainted with the problems of the area. Althea holds the Vice Chair seat of the Southwark Police Community Consultative Group(SPCCG).
The aim of the group is to bring the police and community together, to overcome the stigma for BME community members to have any association with the police and has spent time nurturing young people within the area by setting up an apprenticeship scheme and also liaises with small businesses in the area
Additionally, Althea’s commitment to community cohesion has sometimes taken her to situations others would steer clear from, she gained widespread media coverage during the London riots of 2011 when she personally defended the area from looting and property damage.
Althea is aware of the significance of her having been elected to Mayor of Southwark, particularly as a member of the ethnic minority community, with this is mind, Althea, as former Vice Chair of the National Association of Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Councillors is aware that such an organisation was needed to create a visible platform on which BME councillors are championed to attract other members of the BME community to step forward.