This post was first published by The Croydon Citizen on 26/02/2018.
Croydon’s first Young Mayor election is underway after campaign launch
Young Mayor candidates in Croydon, London’s largest youth borough, are now officially campaigning after they unveiled their manifestos at a campaign launch.
The Young Mayor is elected for one year, and they will represent over 37,000 young people. In order to stand, candidates have to live in or go to school, college or work in Croydon, and be aged 14-17 on 31st August 2018. Voters aged 11-18 will vote on 13th March. The winner will have a calendar of civic engagements and will frequently speak with the mayor, councillors, and council officers.
Councillor Alisa Flemming, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Learning, said that the Young Mayor election has been a long time in the making. She said that each candidate will campaign on a different agenda, adding that the Young Mayor will have the opportunity to decide where they want to place their focus. Examples include tackling mental health issues amongst young people and gang prevention.
“It is important that we are delivering what it is that young people say that they want”
Flemming said that she hopes that this will be the first of many Young Mayor elections. “We must give them the power to be able to put forward what they want to do”, she said.
Croydon’s Mayor, Councillor Toni Letts, opened the campaign launch on 22nd February. “I want to say congratulations to you young people who actually said, ‘I’m responsible. I want to have the youth say in Croydon’”, she said in her opening statement. “I want to say ‘thank you’ to your school teachers. I want to say ‘thank you’ to your families for supporting you. It is not easy, and I bet that you’re driving them all mad at home. You keep driving them mad. Keep working hard, and keep working for the youth of this fantastic London borough.”
Tasia-Jade Bogel, 15, said that she is excited about the idea of being a figurehead for young people within Croydon. Her campaign focuses on showcasing young people’s talent. “I think [that young people] are capable of so much, and I don’t think that we should be limited”, she said.
Heavenleigh Johnson-Kashta, 13, said that she decided to run for office because she wants to make a positive difference in Croydon. “I am campaigning to reduce the number of young people on the streets”, she said, adding that she wants to create more spaces for young people to go to outside of academia.
Danique Sylva, 14, is campaigning to eradicate knife crime. “No one should be afraid to walk in Croydon”, she said. Sylva said that she was inspired to run for office after witnessing a stabbing herself. “I thought, ‘why allow that to happen?’ I thought, ‘let’s stop that and make change’.”
“I want people to look up to me”
Aymane Cheikh, 15, is focusing his campaign on career opportunities and education. “I want people to look up to me and think, ‘This person can help me’. I want to help them”, he said, saying that he wants to create opportunities. “Everyone needs to know what they want to be when they get older. I will create those opportunities. You’ll be able to meet new people, excel in your passions.”
Jordan Georgestone-Lettman, 17, said that he wants to reduce crime and support inclusivity. He said, “Issues like mental health, homophobia, and discrimination need to have more awareness. [Making people feel ashamed] for something like that shouldn’t be tolerated at all. Unfortunately in our schools it is something that isn’t tackled to the fullest extent”.
Here is the full list of candidates and their campaign goals:
- Aaliyah Mbabazi: changing attitudes and preventing bullying
- Abigail Simms: promoting a positive and inclusive community
- Angel Chizea: developing young people’s talents
- Aymane Cheikh: creating career opportunities and improving education
- Brandon Yipp: educating on mental and physical wellbeing
- Caitlin Farrell: promoting volunteering, creating work experience, and providing training
- Charlotte Earl: increasing safety and world class mental health services
- Chione White: regenerating young people’s futures for the better
- Danique Sylva: eradicating knife crime
- David Slade: improving mental health and youth services
- Gabriela Serna: providing anti-bullying and support for young people
- Heavenleigh Johnson-Kashta: increasing gang prevention, safety, and creative activities
- Hisam Iftikhar: increasing skills and opportunities for young people
- Isaac Boakye: working towards youth empowerment and supporting young entrepreneurs
- Isabella McGurry: reducing poverty and increasing social mobility, safety, and health
- Jordan Daley: preventing youth crime and improving education
- Jordan Georgestone-Lettman: reducing crime and supporting opportunities and inclusivity
- Katielouise Beaney: reducing knife crime and improving social skills
- Kayla Pitter: reducing knife crime and improving safety
- Lauren Cole Aarons: embracing and celebrating the unique cultures
- Malachi Dennis: reducing knife crime
- Millie-May Welch: providing activities for young people
- Peace Silly: prioritising mental health and wellbeing
- Shea Williams: creating out of school careers workshops
- Tasia-Jade Bogel: showcasing young people’s talent
- Ummar Ahmed: helping young people achieve their dreams and aspirations
- William Awomoyi: preventing youth crime and increasing safety
- Yani Patel: reducing stress and improving mental health
Croydon’s first Young Mayor will be announced on 15th March.