Plans to keep young people at the heart of local democracy and amplify youth voice in Croydon were given the go-ahead this week.
Following the successful delivery of the administration’s pledge to raise the voice of young people, the borough’s first Young Mayor election was held last year. This saw 12,000 young people aged 11-18 head to the ballot boxes, and the council has now committed to making the office permanent.
From April 2020, Croydon will elect a Young Mayor annually, and give even more young people the chance to stand by lowering the minimum age for candidates from 14 to 12. The upper age limit will remain at 17.
On Monday, cabinet members also approved £25,000 annually to enable the successful candidate to fund projects by and for young people, and deliver their manifesto priorities. Funds were also approved to renew the borough’s British Youth Council membership, ensuring that Croydon’s young people are represented at UK Youth Parliament and giving them a voice on national issues as well as local.
The next Young Mayor elections will take place in 2020. The plans can be viewed in full in the approved cabinet report.
This commitment to youth voice is the latest in Croydon’s Choose Your Future campaign, which in March scooped Campaign of the Year 2019 in national local government awards.
With 93,000 under-18s living in Croydon – more than any other London borough – young people are a priority for Croydon’s Local Strategic Partnership, and Choose Your Future has been developed to address the issues young people identified as their top concerns at Youth Congress in 2017 and 2018.
Led by Croydon Council, the campaign has united organisations across the borough to support young people to make positive choices and celebrate their achievements. Youth voice has been at the heart of the campaign, with young people setting the agenda.
“Through our Choose Youth Future campaign we have encouraged Croydon’s young people to raise their voices and united organisations across the borough to listen to them and support them to make positive choices. Our first Young Mayor elections have also been a highlight of the campaign with more than 12,000 young people getting involved.
“I am both proud and delighted that we have made a firm commitment to hold them every year and create more opportunities for young people to speak out and be heard, keeping them at the heart of decision-making in Croydon.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning