The Linc spoke exclusively with Lord Victor Adebowale, the University of Lincoln’s new Chancellor, about his social care interests and what he can do to improve the University of Lincoln.

The University of Lincoln has replaced its former chancellor, Dame Elizabeth Esteve-Coll, with Lord Victor Adebowale, who is the head of a leading social care organisation. The chancellorship was handed to Lord Adebowale on the 12th of December in a ceremony at the LPAC building. Lord Adebowale is chief executive of Turning Point, an organisation that offers support to drug addicts, people with mental health problems and those who have social care needs, to name a few. He is also co-chair of the Black and Minority Ethnic Mental Health National Steering Group, as well as many other policy-making bodies.

When asked why he has such a keen interest in social care, Lord Adebowale claims to have “always had an interest in people, what makes people tick, how people are challenged and when people are challenged by something, what gets them through it”. He even hints at personal experience influencing his desire to aid those who need support, saying “I’ve seen enough in life to realise that most people need help.”

Lord Adebowale received his peerage in 2001 and was one of Britain’s first ‘People’s Peers’. However, he does not necessarily see this as a wholly good thing; “I find it all a bit silly… I’m a member of the House of Lords. The term ‘People’s Peer’ was a complete invention. There’s no such thing, really. It was invented by Tony Blair’s PR men at the time. It’s interesting as it’s both an insult and a compliment, depending which newspaper you read. If I’m seen wearing a suit, it’s sometimes seen as being ‘anti-people’s peer’. I think I’m expected to be something that I’m not, basically. I don’t really like the term. It’s a bit of a curse.”

In addition to his peerage, Lord Adebowale has a CBE for his efforts towards the New Deal, unemployment and homeless young people.
He also reveals a fondness for the city of Lincoln. “Everyone that I’ve met has been friendly and interesting. I really like the contrast between the old town and new.”

The University of Lincoln is ever expanding, and Lord Adebowale wishes he “can bring another view” as well as hoping he can “use what profile I have to advance the university in what it does. I have to say it’s achieved an awful lot as a university; it’s quite an impressive track record. I hope I can add some value to that by bringing this to the attention of people outside of Lincoln and to show what a fantastic opportunity the university presents to people who want to study.”

He also believes that the University is “undervalued” and that it has “some very interesting ideas, intellectual ideas. It really has got a lot to offer.” He added: “I’m sure it’s had its challenges but it’s a great place. I wouldn’t have had accepted the position as its chancellor if I didn’t.”

Curriculum Vitae

Victor Olufemi Adebowale, Baron Adebowale, CBE (born 21 July 1962) is the Chief Executive of the social care enterprise Turning Point (charity) and was one of the first to become a People’s Peer.

Lord Adebowale was born to Nigerian parents Ezekiel and Grace Adebowale and was educated at Thornes House School, Wakefield and the Polytechnic of East London. He began his career in Local Authority Estate Management before joining the housing association movement.