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Deptford First was formed as a charitable trust in 1979 by then-MP Rt. Hon. John Silkin, Canon David Diamond (former Rector of Deptford) and Roger Norman (former editor of the South East London Mercury).


John Silkin was Chair until his death in April 1987, after which Dame Joan Ruddock succeeded him both as MP for Lewisham Deptford and Chair of Deptford First. On Dame Joan's retirement in 2015, new MP Vicky Foxcroft took over.

Since Vicky took over as chair in 2015 she has been working to reinvigorate Deptford First.


The trust has always sought to support local initiatives and assist individuals who have fallen through the gaps in what the state and other organisations can provide. 

We also seek to bring together the people and organisations who support our community via networking and information sharing. At the moment, our main way of doing this is via our annual tea party.

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Years of austerity and cuts to local government funding following by the Covid-19 pandemic and cost of living crisis have taken a huge toll on our community, placing many people in severe financial hardship. Deptford First hopes to alleviate some of that hardship.


All our Deptford First trustees live and/or work in the local area, giving them an excellent understanding of both local need and the resources available to meet that need.


The trustees work with established local organisations to distribute funds to those in need.

Through this work, we aim to make the Lewisham Deptford constituency a community that truly supports its most vulnerable members.

A few years ago, Deptford First (in conjunction with Deptford Challenge Trust) commissioned a third sector consultant to produce a report "setting out how the trustees could work effectively with local third sector organisations to support residents who have no current recourse to public funds, are in immediate crisis and/or are at high risk of entering a downward spiral of destitution and dependency."

​The result was this excellent report by Emily Simpson.

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