Mete Coban, a 21-year old politics student raised on Amhurst Road, has been elected as Ward Councillor to the Hackney Council, making him the borough’s youngest councillor in history.
Coban represents the Labour party, and was voted in along with Susan Fajana-Thomas and Louisa Thompson for the Stoke Newington Ward.
Last week, Coban’s good friend Jermain Jackman, a Hackney local and the latest winner of BBC’s televised talent competition The Voice, came out to the Britannia Leisure Centre to support Coban where they awaited the results.
Jackman and Coban are connected by their passion for politics and their local community. Jackman was dubbed the “singing politician” by The Voice judge Tom Jones and has been very vocal about his views on the show. Coban said on his relationship with Jackman “Jermain and I have been very good friends on a personal level for a few years now but we also happen to share similar political views too…we discuss politics and issues relating to young people. I personally believe that Jermain’s success in the music industry is very important in terms of inspiring young people.”
Coban was born in Cyprus, but raised in Hackney from the age of two. “Being brought-up in Hackney all my life is one of the main reasons why I understand the area. I have seen the transition in the dynamics of the changing social relations in Hackney” said Coban.
Regarding his age, the young politician said: “the Labour party did not once take my age into consideration and judged me based on my credentials rather than my age.” Coban’s age does impact his priorities as a ward councillor, however, as he hopes to connect with fellow youths in Hackney and inspire them to get involved in politics.
Coban said, “I believe that there is a growing frustration among young people that they are not being consulted when policies are being formulated.” Coban’s mission is to visit schools and colleges across Hackney to encourage young people to play a larger role in local politics and get their voices heard. He will also support youth organisations such as the Hackney Youth Parliament and expand his own think-tank MyLifeMySay in order to “enhance the skill sets of young people in Hackney.”
Coban also expressed concern with the High Street in Stoke Newington and housing in Hackney. Coban and fellow ward councillors have outlined plans to help build more affordable homes, including 600 council homes for social rent. Coban also says he is “committed to ensuring that the night time economy is well managed and both businesses and the residents are happy. We are also committed to….supporting local shops in order to make Stoke Newington an attractive place to visit, shop and live in.”
The 21-year-old has just finished his course at the University of Greenwich and will be receiving a First Class degree. Coban said he plans to look further into his studies, and putting his degree to good use by taking an active role local government.