Community stalwarts joined the first lady of Lambeth for the launch of an Olympics-centred youth initiative at Brixton Library on Monday.
The project, called Passing the Baton, aims to use the legacy of the 2012 Olympic Games to improve the lives of young people of African origin in Brixton and Lambeth.
A number of individual projects locally will run alongside 50 other events all over the country, culminating with the Olympic finale in August.
Lambeth Mayor cllr Christiana Valcarcel said “I wish this scheme every success and I hope that all of us in whatever means can make our own contribution to the event.
“Lambeth is such a vibrant borough, particularly Brixton. I say to people come to Brixton, and see what we have here.”
Founder of Passing the Baton, Rudi Page, said: “As the London 2012 celebrations drew closer I was looking for ways to be involved.”
He said the aim of the scheme, through many individual projects, was “to inspire peaceful, caring and enterprising neighbourhoods.”
Dr Colin King, founder of the Martin Shaw King Trust, organises youth sports programmes at the Ferndale Sports Centre. He told the event: “We need to empower young people to take advantage of job opportunities.
“Our challenge is to sure the top end is more representative of the community.”
Community leaders spoke about how important culture and identity is too young people.
Paul Reid, director of the Black Cultural Archives, said it was important that the “baton” of heritage was passed on to future generations. He spoke about the history of the archives and of the highly successful Origin, a “right of passage” support scheme for young people of African origin and a programme that has helped over 100 youths.
The event was closed by actress and singer Lorna “G” Gayle and her youth drama group, G UP, who gave a taster of their upcoming modern interpretation of Romeo and Juliette.