Nominations are now open to find Croydon’s next Young Mayor.
The formal elections for the next Young Mayor will happen in spring at schools in the community, as well as some polling stations.
Croydon’s Young Mayor works to represent more than 93,000 young people in the borough and ensure that their voices are heard.
Current Young Mayor William Awomoyi, 16, said: “There’s a stigma around young people, we’re often seen as a lazy generation who’ve just inherited everything from the older generations.
“But actually we have way more to offer and a representative of young people does a lot for their area and respective community because they show what young people can actually do when given the influence and power to do those things and they enact change.
“That’s why I think being an elected representative of young people is very important nationwide.”
Speaking about his term coming to an end, Croydon’s first Young Mayor said: “I feel like I’ve done what’s required and I’m happy for the experience. It’s been eye-opening and life-changing at the same time.”
He and his deputy Shea Williams, 17, have championed anti-knife crime causes such as ‘Choose Your Future’, which encourages young people to see that they are capable of anything.
He explained how being Young Mayor allows you to influence organisations and push them to start doing what young people have asked them to do.
Mr Awomoyi said he decided to run for Young Mayor due to his passion for Croydon, where he was born and raised, and his desire to improve it.
He said: “You see the inequality, it’s rife in the community and you just want to be somebody that can stand above that and enact change in the community.
“I thought ‘well, these are the key issues, I’ve been a problem identifier, but how can I be a problem solver?’”
To anyone thinking of applying to be Croydon’s next Young Mayor, Mr Awomoyi said: “Just apply, there’s nothing that you can really lose from becoming the young mayor.
“There’s all to gain and nothing to lose.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning, said: “We’re looking for passionate young people who can inspire their peers.
“Croydon’s Young Mayor will keep young people at the heart of the borough’s decision making, giving a voice to young residents and making sure their priorities are heard loud and clear across the borough.”
Anyone aged between 12 and 17 who lives in Croydon can apply to be a candidate until Saturday 29 February. Details of the full application process are available online.
All photos courtesy of Croydon Council (with permission).