About Chris

Interests and affiliations

Chris is a member of the Labour Housing Group, GMB, the Co-operative Party and the Fabian Society.

Chris is the Heritage Champion for Lewisham and a member of the National Trust and the RSPB.

Locally Chris is a member of the Sydenham Society and a Lifetime Friend of Sydenham Garden,

Growing up and education

Chris was born in Windsor, Berkshire and attended East Berkshire College followed by the University of Greenwich where she was awarded a BA in Political Economy and Goldsmiths College, University of London where she was awarded an MA in Social Policy and Administration.

Chris worked for a small firm of Chartered Accountants and qualified as a Company Secretary. She then moved into social housing and qualified as a Member of the Chartered Institute of Housing.

Chris has also supported opportunities for higher education and has supported a range of courses at Adult Learning Lewisham.

Working in social housing

In 1977 Chris started a career in social housing working for a number of London based housing associations as well as three years at the Housing Corporation. Chris joined Soho Housing Association as Chief Executive in 1998 and is seen above with Dave Stewart opening a new housing scheme in Drury Lane in the West End. With the Reverend Clare Herbert, Chris set up and was Chair the Soho Caring Agency Forum developing the West End Time Bank as well being an active member of the Soho Society Executive Committee. Chris left Soho in 2009 after a period of ill health.

Chris is committed to providing residents with a safe and secure community where their voice can be heard and acted upon. She continually works with residents to offer opportunities to develop their talents and enhance their lives.

Chris Best on the Board

Giving time to support organisations

Chris has made a significant contribution to many organisations. She served as a school governor on a primary and secondary school as well as on the governing body of a further education college.

Chris has represented Lewisham on a number of London wide bodies including the London Research Centre.

Working in housing Chris has served on several Committees to help homeless women including Lewisham Women's Aid where Chris was Company Secretary and Director for eight years. Chris was appointed by the Housing Corporation to resolve difficulties on two Management Committees and is seen above with other Board members.

Working with Damien on delivering our Labour Manifesto for 2018 - 2022

Member of the Labour Party

Chris has been a member of the Labour Party for over 50 years joining as a Young Socialist in the late 1960s and has always been an active member holding various offices of the Party.

Working with Mayor Damien Egan, Chris helped draft the Lewisham Labour Manifesto and has been working hard on the delivery of our pledges.

Labour Councillor

As a Labour Councillor Chris pledges to:

  • be an effective and influential councillor
  • uphold the highest standards of probity and integrity
  • be accessible to, and actively consult, her constituents
  • work for improvements in the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of the Sydenham community
  • campaign and work with others to build a healthy local party
  • work within the Labour Group to pursue Labour's programme

Chris was elected to serve Sydenham East in 1986 and following a boundary change in 2002 now represents all of Sydenham. She has held a number of key posts including the Chair of the Housing Development Committee, Chair of the Womens Committee, Chair of the Finance Committee and continues her long service on the Pensions Investment Committee. Chris has also been Chief Whip. As a Councillor Chris has worked to improve the living conditions in the private rented sector, to support the Zero Tolerance campaign on domestic violence and promote community safety.

Chris is now the longest serving member of the Council having served for 35 years and also the longest serving Executive Member.

Serving Sydenham

Chris believes in connecting with the community and formed the Sydenham Community Regeneration Partnership (SCRP) in 1997. The quarterly meetings were well attended by residents of Sydenham as well as representatives of the Sydenham Traders, Sydenham Society, faith and community groups. SCRP developed a Sydenham Plan and was able to attract funding for a Town Centre Manager in 2000. Chris Chairs the Sydenham Town Centre Steering Group and has developed the Sydenham Town Centre Strategy. The annual £10,000 Locality Fund has been an opportunity to ensure residents have more say in how resources are allocated. The Sydenham Assembly was launched in 2008 and Chris Chairs this working with the Co-ordinator who is able to spend some time with harder to reach groups. This gives a strong team for Sydenham and we have agreed the Priority Plan as well as spending for 2009/10 including the £50,000 Mayor's Fund.

Chris recycling

Executive Member of the Council

Role in the Cabinet

Lewisham elected a Labour Mayor in May 2002 and Mayor Steve Bullock invited Chris to serve as Cabinet as Member for Environment. One example of the work Chris was responsible for was the domestic refuse service and she increased the number of rounds from 14 to 19 and delivered on new refuse vehicles and introduced kerbside recycling. Chris is seen below promoting the Environmental Service Standards launched in October 2003.

Chris has always been a committed environmentalist and reused and recycled wherever possible. As a councillor there is a vast quantity of paperwork and Chris has two green boxes for the weekly recycling collection.

In November 2003 Steve reviewed the portfolios and asked Chris to take on the strategic work of Social Inclusion. From the May 2006 elections Chris was appointed as the Cabinet Member for Community Services a portfolio that includes adult social care and health; culture, libraries and sport; adult education and community development. Chris was delighted to continue with this important role in the run up to London 2012 and the proposed changes in health and adult social care. Following a review from April 2012 the portfolio included older people. Following the council elections in May 2014 Chris continued as the Cabinet Member for Health, Wellbeing and Older People.

In May 2018 Chris was invited by Mayor Damien Egan to become his Deputy and to continue as the Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Social Care.