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Candidates for young mayor 2022–23

Read the statements from the candidates to be the next young mayor of Lewisham.

Alexander OdieteAlexander Odiete

Hello! My name is Alex – I’m 14 years old and this year I’m running to be your next Young Mayor of Lewisham. I’ve got three different points that I would hope to achieve, if I were to be elected.

Number one, I would want more youth panels for both the young people and the police to attend together more regularly, due to there not being such “good” interactions between the two different sides.

Number two, I would want a safe space for young people that may potentially carry knives or other sorts of weapons to hand them in, without the fear of being arrested of being treated like a criminal.

And last but not least, I know that we have a lot of different youth clubs within the borough, I would like to fund them for young people to have a nice space to attend.

Arturs KalininsArturs Kalnins

Yo! Hello there! My name is Arturs Kalnins and I want to be the future Young Mayor of Lewisham.

My job is to be the best I can be. What’s your job? Who do you value? I value many things, family, friends, education, football and many more. I want to be young mayor of Lewisham because I’m just that guy and I want to make Lewisham a better place – more bins in parks, more football for young people, England’s coming home! Coming home! Just in case, I am not joking and I take this very seriously.

Eye catching yeah? Of course man! I’m not boring! Lewisham won’t be bored of me. Vote if you want England to come home again! Coming home.

Connor MooreConnor Moore

Hi, I’m Connor! I’m running because I want to make it easier for you to talk to me and each othewhen you have ideas for my policies.

All our greatest young mayors have done the same thing – when they were elected they stayed in contact. They led livestreams, talked to their voters and stayed up to date constantly. They did NOT disappear as soon as they were elected and neither will I.

Let’s face it young mayors are more figureheads than decision makers. Their job is to represent us to the council and state what our views are. If we never hear from them again, they never hear our views – so what’s the point? My focus is communication, let’s get everyone talking. Let’s set up communities across social media so whatever you think about my policies you can let me know about it.

Let’s get collaboration between schools, so when I do this you can compare notes and tell me what you think. That way, when it becomes time to put pressure on a more powerful institution to change its ways, we can campaign with hundreds of people, not dozens. That’s democracy, amigos.

David OrekunrinDavid Orekunrin

If you elect me to be young mayor I promise to express the word of the people. I vow that I will allow the young people of Lewisham to have their opinions heard, their ideas considered and for them to no longer be ignored, neglected, left to suffer and abandoned. I will make sure the words of students in Lewisham will actually be noticed, and for them to be implemented for the continuing good of everyone.

If I am elected more young people’s voices will be considered, presented and implemented.

Thank you.

Ella AjibewaElla Ajibewa

Hi, I’m Ella and I’m running for young mayor. If you vote for me for the role I’ll ensure a healthier and better lifestyle for those who need it or are willing to work for it.

My policies will be that there would be more halal and vegan/vegetarian food served in school and a default free breakfast and lunch so students don’t go hungry. Food is fuel!

Next I’m aware that some schools are stricter in terms of identity, appearance and hairstyles which only builds a negative stigma about things people are born with. I would allow rules to be loosened so that we can instead embrace our different features and not dislike them.

Finally I’d introduce an online and in-school student voice so young people can not only feel more heard, but also so they have someone to talk to who would actually listen. Not only negative things can be said through student voice but positive things too, like achievements or even things as little as passing a test. I feel like making sure young voices are heard would help a lot.

Faith OlanlokunFaith Olanlokun

My name is Faith and my ideas can change our Lewisham, I’m aiming to make a difference for young people’s positive experience within our borough.

But #WhyFaith?

Firstly I will create new opportunities for work experience by sourcing honest work experience for young people to earn money/accumulate life opportunities whilst being under 16.

Secondly, I’s like to acknowledge and celebrate our marginalised BAME (Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic) community. I wish to challenge negative stereotypes so that we can form a culture of fairness and inclusivity as well as promoting education around a variety of cultural backgrounds and enlighten young people on how ethnic minorities have positively contributed to our community.

I truly believe my ideas can make a long-term impact for the young people of Lewisham. I believe that together, with your vote, we can do so much!

Felix GanserFelix Ganser

Hi, my name is Felix. There are many things that I would like to raise awareness for and change. I would like to make strides towards decreasing homelessness, improving the cleanliness and success of high streets and improving the quality of the school meals.

To tackle homelessness, I would spend a portion of my budget to supporting local food banks, encourage the people of Lewisham to donate and talk to the homeless and inspire people with their encouraging stories. To improve our high streets, I will invest in tidying and cleaning the streets, making them more colourful and engaging. This will bring them to life making it a fun place for the people to be My final change I am stating here, as there will still be more to come, I will take time and care into talking with the school food providers and talk to them about what YOU want and not just letting them cram all the nutrients into an unthoughtful meal.

Thank you for taking the time to read through my manifesto and I hope you can agree with what I say and that you are excited for what is to come.

Gideon Ofori-OwusuGideon Ofori-Owusu

I’m standing to be young mayor because I hear, understand and share the concerns expressed by other young people like me, wishing that areas that we have to pass through or visit frequently were much safer than they are. Wishing that we received more support during our struggles and problems that aren’t our fault or the results of honest mistakes.

I want to make sure that people’s worries and concerns are heard, that instead of being told that we should “deal with it ourselves” or told ”this is your fault” we get the support that we deserve.

Isabelle AnsettIsabelle Ansett

If you vote for me I will improve places such as schools by making them more disability-friendly because so many places are hard to access. I want to reduce knife crime in Lewisham by using cameras, police and a knife amnesty. As well as helping improve the environment by adding more gardens and picking/cleaning up litter because litter is harming the environment and needs to be improved to save the environment and everything else.

J'adore Byfield-RoweJ'adore Byfield-Rowe

If elected as Young Mayor of Lewisham I would strive to make Lewisham safer and make an effort to bring back the word community to our streets. I want to make clubs all across Lewisham schools and centres to highlight racial / sexual abuse in Lewisham. I believe this would benefit people’s mental and physical health in the long term as it is a safe place where their voices can make change.

I'd also like to bring back free youth clubs that are open to youth of all ages. This would help deter the prejudice towards youth clubs that they are unsafe and the idea that knife crime happens there. By having more youth clubs it would help people develop their skills, make friends and build confidence. This would hopefully be funded by the community.

With the cost of living crisis being more prominent, I would like to make school meals more affordable for those who don’t qualify for free school meals. Children should not have to starve just because they can't afford it. I'd like to make schools promote the Bank of Things to children as it would help them in this time.

I would really appreciate your vote, thank you for reading.

Jentai Gen-OneJentai Gen-One

As young mayor, I’d be bringing five things to our borough! I’d create opportunities for Lewisham young people to get involved in community work, giving us the opportunity to change the narrative of how young people from Lewisham are seen.

I'd make Lewisham the home of vibes. Whether it be a sturdy off, a 5x5 basketball tournament or an outdoor roller skate session. Lewisham would be the area carrying the vibes, reducing the need to travel to Stratford or the South Bank to enjoy the vibes. I’d use our resources to build a BMX track fit for champions. The borough currently only has one which seriously needs to be patterned up. This would give team Lewisham a higher ranking in the Lewisham Youth Games competitions and beyond.

I’d give young people assistance to showcase their skills and talents to create new businesses, with business mentoring opportunities and financial support to help youth businesses thrive. Finally, I’d create a young Lewisham Radio station to ensure your voices and fresh beats are heard all over the borough! Back me, so I can back you.

Vote for the one, Vote Jentai Gen-One.

Julia AtanganaJulia Atangana

If I was elected I would focus on these things. I feel that youth clubs would be beneficial to stop crime, but that there aren’t enough functional ones, which I would like to change. There’s also an assumption about youth clubs which make young people not want to go to them, and this may lead young people to do less positive things instead. Youth clubs would be something for them to do as a lot of teens grow up too fast and are not productive.

A lot of schools have signed the Tackling Race Inequality pledge but they are not taking accountability for the discrimination that happens. I would also like schools in Lewisham who haven’t implemented these things to do so. This would ensure a certain standard would be met and schools would be obliged to address discrimination, if it were to happen.

The cost of living crisis has already been covered to some extent by previous young mayors with the Bank of Things. I think this course of action is brilliant and I would like to implement it in schools as well. This would give those who need these things a certain level of privacy when getting the items. I really hope the young people of Lewisham are as passionate about making a change as I am. Thank you.

Kehinde OnasanyaKehinde Onasanya

As a young person who lives and goes to school in Lewisham, I believe that there are a myriad of things that can be done to aid the people of tomorrow. However, my main aims and concerns that will aid the youth of this borough and its infrastructure are as follows.

The amount of leisure centres (32) for the 69,000 young people that live in Lewisham is simply not enough, and 2.4% of school children being classed as “obese” is a clear indicator that a change has to be made. I would love to see Lewisham have more work experience and careers workshops with young people, especially like myself.

Being in Year 11 and in the aftermath of the pandemic, I feel there is a lack of provision for young people like myself and many people feel apprehensive, confused or scared about the future. The implementation of these workshops would shine a light in a place which is often full of darkness for many young people.

Finally I would like to see a change in the environmental status of Lewisham. Many of my friends and I have observed litter in the streets and clutter in the classrooms of Lewisham, with minimal recycling opportunities. I’d like to propose an initiative where every classroom in Lewisham has a recycling bin and that regular clean-up projects ensure that our green spaces and parks where children play are safe.

Climate change is universal and change starts small. The sooner we start to implement these changes, the sooner we have a better Lewisham.

Llywella-Paige HobanLlywella-Paige Hoban

My name is Llywella-Paige Hoban, I am a year 11 student at Bonus Pastor, and I have lived in Lewisham my whole life and have recently decided to run for Young Mayor of Lewisham.

As a teenager living and studying in the area I have learnt and lived through issues that I believe could be improved with the passion, drive and attention that a young mayor would be able to provide. If I was to become young mayor, my focus would be based around improving the experiences of the young people of Lewisham and I would aim to make a notable difference in their lives in and out of school.

The foremost policies that I will campaign for are; extending work experience in many schools around Lewisham in order to develop employability skills.

Implementing and widening the Halo Code (a natural hair appreciation programme) and actively working towards more environmentally friendly primary schools. My intention as young mayor is not only to make a difference in today’s generation but also to implement schemes that will improve our borough and the environment for years to come. Thank you for reading, I hope this has caught your interest.

Lucia Caromona VicanaLucia Carmona Vicana

My name is Lucia Carmona Vicuna. I was born in Madrid, Spain, however I’m from the Dominican Republic. When I came to England in 2017 with my mother and sister, I struggled to learn a new language and adjust to a different lifestyle. Being a mixed child while learning a new language and missing a year of school was hard to accept and embrace.

As a young mayor I would like you to feel welcomed into the community. I would like to change the conditions in Lewisham and the safety in schools in Lewisham. Also I would give young people of Lewisham more opportunities such as youth clubs. “Be the change you want to see”. Thank you for reading.

“Hola me llamo Lucia y vengo de Espana Madrid”.

Maria FaleriMaria Faleri

COVID-19 increased our mental health issues and how have schools supported us? With one or two assemblies talking about mental health? It’s not enough. Therefore, I will be working with schools to create groups led by students to create a safe place for us, we need to be heard.

All ethnic minority students whatever their level of English or where they are from will be included in those projects – every young person is part of our big and diverse community. A community who should not segregate any student who is not part of their own peer group. I will promote events that spread awareness regarding the LGBTQ+ community in schools and in public places that we attend.

My name is Maria Faleri and being realistic my projects are not an immediate solution to our problems of xenophobia, homophobia and the decline in our mental health. However, those projects will be the starting point for the solution needed. I am asking you to wisely choose the person who will represent you.

Michael BlackmanMichael Blackman

Hello my name is Michael Blackman and the following are just some of the reasons why you should not only consider, but elect me the Young Mayor of Lewisham.

First of all, and it has been said before but the air in Lewisham is far from clean and would really benefit from a dramatic increase in the number of trees on our streets. This could both cleanse our air and give our neighbourhoods a pleasant aesthetic. I know you may see many of the candidates saying this but something does need to be done about it.

Another of my intentions for you and for all the youth of Lewisham kills two birds with one stone. I am going to increase the promotion and visibility of free extra-curricular activities.

This will reduce the number of young people on the streets who could potentially be in harm’s way as well as helping the next generation of adults to express themselves through creative organisations such as the Lewisham Youth Theatre.

Lastly, there will be fundraising towards a “Lewisham Comedy Festival”– an opportunity for the whole of the borough to together laugh our way through these grim times. Let’s make the most of this year. Vote for Michael Blackman.

Micah SpenceMicah Spence

I would have more creative arts and sports activities so young people have something to do after school. I would have consistent youth centres and work with different organisations. I would want more business opportunities for those in KS3. I would also want a junior apprenticeship scheme for all young people in Lewisham to express their entrepreneurial skills.

Some young people lack confidence for the future that’s why I would partner with Urban Synergy to help encourage young people to reach their goals and ambitions regardless of their background. It’s about empowering young people to helping them develop the skills for the future.

Another important thing I want to do is work on the appropriate adult system in Lewisham to ensure young people’s safety when speaking to the police. Including making sure that young people’s mental health is looked after and taken into consideration when in police custody. I would feedback my progress through social media and creative posters and advertisements around the borough.

I know I’m not perfect but regardless I will try my best to be a young mayor for all young people.

Mikaela JohnMikaela John

I would like to be Young Mayor of Lewisham, because I will be able to make a positive contribution to changes needed to support young people. I am best for the job as I am persistent, forward thinking and always asking questions. I love working with and talking to new people and even though I come across as confident at times I’m shy and insecure. I am not going to lie and say I am prefect, at times I can be selfish and lazy like all people. I don’t give people false hope. I am real and raw with the world.

The three areas I would work on are:

  • Self image: Interactive workshops where young people can express themselves and talk about their insecurities and social media pressures.
  • Accessible food banks and help with uniforms/equipment: Inflation has made it difficult for some young people to eat three meals a day and uniforms and equipment are very expensive.
  • Financial awareness (budgeting and saving): Workshops to educate young people on the value of money and importance of saving for their future.
  • I will feedback to the young people of Lewisham by keeping them informed of progression via social media.

Peter FittPeter Fitt

If I were to be elected Young Mayor of Lewisham, I would utilise the diversity of our community. Growing up in Lewisham, I’ve come to realise that it is a rare place of unity and creativity. Our generation is the only one with both the ability and determination to finally step up and tackle the challenges of inequality and the environment.

I know I have a good skillset for this role as I have been a local volunteer at Junior Park run and I took part in a debate which has taught me how best to use my communication, leadership and teamwork skills, which would all contribute to being a successful Young Mayor.

The first of my three goals would be to encourage teens to volunteer with organisations such as AFRIL, Lewisham Hub and other charities helping people in need. Second, I want all Lewisham free sports facilities to be properly maintained, benefitting all young people to stay healthy and active.

Lastly if I were given the opportunity to be Young Mayor I would introduce interschool competitions and collaborative projects to encourage Lewisham young people to participate in a positive way, as the children and teenagers of today will be the Lewisham of the future.

Samuel de Ornelas MedinaSamuel de Ornelas Medina

Hi my name is Samuel. I go to St Matthew Academy and I am running for Young Mayor of Lewisham at 14 years old. What I want to do as mayor are three key things, reduce littering, allow the youth to attend school and have the feeling of freedom (things such as colour of hair and hair styles) and making Lewisham a more comfortable and reliable place.

The litter reduction scheme comes from the idea that if I am to improve this borough I must preserve and care for it. With this objective completed I can focus on those who inhabit the area. Next objective is to reduce restrictions placed on students in school. Whether it be your hair or even a small piercing in your ear.

I will do my best to fulfil these demands. My final objective is to make Lewisham a place where you can feel safe and comfortable. I am a student as many of you and even at times I feel unsafe here. If I can make you feel even slightly more comfortable I will do everything in my power to do so.

For me, for you, for Lewisham.

Sharon ObidiSharon Obidi

I’m standing for the position of Lewisham’s Young Mayor because I want the voices of young people to be heard throughout the UK. We all know that the UK is experiencing a severe economic crisis which can affect both adults and young people, causing them to develop mental illnesses like anxiety and depression or turning to crime.

To stop this problem from getting worse, I would organise an event to raise money for young people’s mental health and support young people who are in need.

I’m doing this because I remember a time I was doing my GCSE’s and I was so tired and stressed out from the pressure that it affected my mental health and that of other students. I believe that I am eligible for the job because of my past experience with leadership and communication skills from working with a company called the Peabody Trust.

I want to use these skills to benefit the Lewisham community so we as a community can progress. As a young person I would like to advise young people to attempt to support their community and protect each other from dangers.

I am not only asking the young community to get involved, I am also asking the adult community to help and encourage young people to do the right thing. To make Lewisham a welcoming place for all communities.

Toky BrownToky Brown

I have lived in Lewisham my whole life, as a mixed teen I find it very important that we are listened to and can express our cultures. Lewisham is one of the most diverse boroughs, as Lewisham young mayor I would strive to allow young people of Lewisham to be heard.

Lewisham is a borough of culture and also a borough of opportunity. I will help provide this opportunity to our young minds who strive to be entrepreneurs. The borough using our money will give young minds £100–£200 through our schools to encourage a generation of entrepreneurs.

Yasmina BezYasmina Bez

I am running for Lewisham young mayor because I want to improve the wellbeing of teens/young people. If I was elected I would try my best to make all schools in Lewisham more inclusive, stop bullying, make a nice atmosphere in school and make the Lewisham community more inclusive too.

For example in the community I want to improve accessibility (as I and other disabled people can’t get into a lot of shops) and improve access on buses, like being able to tap their freedom pass. In schools I want everyone to feel accepted and not feel like an outsider.

I am going to do this by organising sessions for us to meet new people so we all develop new friends and learn to rely on each other. I want to remind everyone we are all here for the same purpose, to learn, to pass our GCSEs/A levels and to make a great future for ourselves.

We should be in this together as, with the stress, feeling included would make it just that bit better. This is why I urge you to vote for me.