Young mayor hopes to leave political legacy in Croydon

Croydon’s first young mayor is determined to follow in the political footsteps of his sister as he begins his year in office.

William Awomoyi, 14, was elected earlier this month, beating 27 other candidates in a public vote.

Awomoyi’s older sister, Jonelle, was Croydon’s member of UK Youth Parliament for one year from February 2016 and the new young mayor is aiming to scale the heights of his sibling.

“She did such a great job and I hope that I can do an even better job than she did,” said Awomoyi.

“I have a passion and desire for making Croydon a better place.

“At the moment it has really solid foundations and it is so diverse, it has great transport and a great shopping district.

“I want to be the one to enhance these foundations that have already been established.”

The Cedars School pupil knows he has a large mandate in a borough home to more young people than any other in London.

Approximately 5% of the capital’s under-18 population live in Croydon, with more than 12,000 11-18-year-olds turning out to vote in the young mayor elections.

During a gruelling three weeks of campaigning which even included a public question time, Awomoyi did everything possible to make his voice heard.

He said: “When I met the other candidates I realised how good they were.

“That motivated me to work hard every day and put my posters on public transport and try to get my name and my voice across.”

The young mayor campaigned primarily on a manifesto of preventing youth crime and wants to set up a dialogue between police and young people.

He said: “What is visible is a disconnect between the police force and the youths.

“I would like to see interaction between both sides and more police bodies around to patrol and deter crimes from happening.”

While this is Awomoyi’s flagship policy, the teenager realises he can improve the lives of Croydon’s youth in other ways.

“There are actually quite a lot of youth opportunities in Croydon, however not many people know about them,” he continued.

“I would like to be the voice of the young people, so that they are able to understand that the opportunities are there, they just need to access them.”

Doors have certainly opened for Awomoyi since his election, with a trip to parliament to meet Steve Reed MP (Labour, Croydon North) coming soon.

The young mayor is officially non-party political and says he is looking forward to meeting as many MP’s as possible in the House of Commons.

When asked about his own political ambitions the 14-year-old gives little away, insisting his only target is to make the most of the year ahead.

He said: “I want to leave a legacy for the next young mayor of Croydon and the next one after that.

“I want to be someone all the young mayors after me can follow.”

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