Backing local businesses and celebrating Croydon’s rich diversity are the priorities of the borough’s new Mayor who has been sworn in for his year of office.
Councillor Humayun Kabir, who represents Bensham Manor Ward, has lived in the borough for more than 40 years and been a councillor since 2010. He has served as deputy cabinet member for economy and jobs, and finance and treasury, as well as being vice-chair of the planning committee for several years.
Councillor Kabir came to England in 1972 and moved to Croydon when he opened his first catering business in 1977. After studying for a Bachelor of Education degree, he later began a new career at Tower Hamlets Council, as a parent advocate and family support services manager.
He has been president of Croydon Bangladesh Welfare Association for two terms. He was also a founding member of the Asian Resource Centre, helped to establish the Queens Community Hall through Bensham Manor Community Association, and was part of the steering committee that helped to develop Shahjalal Mosque.
During his year in office he will champion fundraising efforts for five good causes locally, which reflect the borough’s diverse needs. He will also be launching a new Mayor’s ambassador scheme, to encourage civic pride and harness the talents of the local community in fundraising. His charities include:
• Mind in Croydon, which promotes good mental health and seeks to empower people to lead a full life www.mindincroydon.org.uk
• Croydon Vision helps those who are blind or visually impaired and their families www.croydonvision.org.uk
• Apasen International (Croydon) is a social care provider helping to meeting the needs of vulnerable people www.apasen.org.uk
• Ashdon Jazz Academy provides support to vulnerable young women and girls www.ashdonjazzacademy.org
• Croydon Refugee Day Centre offers practical advice and support to all asylum seekers and refugees www.croydonrefugeedaycentre.co.uk
To volunteer as an ambassador, contact email@example.com
The father-of-three will be supported by his wife of 37 years, Rahena, who will be his consort.
Mayor of Croydon councillor Kabir said: “I am delighted and honoured to serve as Mayor for our wonderful community in Croydon. My background as a small business owner means I’m passionate about this vital part of our local economy, providing services, jobs and opportunities for our residents, and making our town and district centres the vibrant and prosperous places we want them to be. My later career as a parent advocate and my experiences as a local councillor have also made me keen to support people with disabilities. As Mayor, I plan to celebrate Croydon’s rich cultural diversity, and look forward to working with as many different groups as possible to do this.”
Assisting councillor Kabir as this year’s Deputy Mayor is councillor Maddie Henson, who represents Addiscombe East. Councillor Henson was born and bred in the borough, growing up in South Norwood. She attended Crossfields Nursery where she is now a governor, and went from there to South Norwood Primary, and then to Harris Crystal Palace. She has a BA in History from Kent University in Canterbury.
She became a councillor for the first time in 2014 for Ashburton ward, and was re-elected in 2018 in the newly-formed Addiscombe East. She has since served on many committees, specialising in adoption and fostering and championing children and young people. A mum-of-two, her husband Mark Henson is her consort.