Funding has been agreed for £25,000 worth of ventures designed to support young people in Lewisham, drawn up by the last Young Mayor of Lewisham, Laurelle Henry.
Henry had until the end of her term year to consult with the young people of the borough and come up with ways to allocate the £25,000 budget set aside each year for the Young Mayor.
Henry has allocated £7,000 to providing young people with first aid, £3,000 to the creating a schools conference where students will be able to express themselves on their schools’ curriculum, a further £3,000 to raise students’ ambitions and aspirations through an alumni program where past students visit their old schools and £2,000 on an enterprise and talent showcase.
An additional £10,000 will be invested into the development of Curriculum for Life, a campaign that seeks to prepare young people for their lives after school and college by teaching them learning points that are not typically provided by educational institutions. It includes learning about mental health and wellbeing, politics and world issues to encourage debate and discussions, along with practical issues such as the rights in employment, taxation, and pensions.
Young Mayors, who are elected every year by the Lewisham’s 11 to 18 year-olds, must also support and represent the borough’s young people by becoming their spokesperson, inform and advise the mayor on issues regarding the younger population, and work with the young advisers and the young citizens’ panel to relay the work of the mayor, council and other decisions-making bodies.
Laurelle said: “I want to thank everyone for a great year full of great experiences. Most of all I’ve enjoyed listening to and putting forward the views and hopes of young people across the borough.”
The council hopes this will encourage younger people to vote and take a stronger interest for politics.
Councillor Kevin Bonavia, Cabinet Member for Democracy, Refugees and Accountability, said: “It’s our strong belief that all of our citizens should have a stake in how the borough is run, whether they’re of voting age or not.”
“Laurelle did a brilliant job of presenting her budget to us. It’s clear that she and her advisors have spent a lot of time listening to the young people of Lewisham and have been able to identify the issues that matter to them. She, like each of her predecessors, has become a champion for some very important causes.”
Lewisham is the first borough to directly elect a Young Mayor. The scheme aims to include young people in politics and give them the opportunity to shape the borough’s policies.
This year’s Young Mayor, Adam Abdullah, was elected in October 2018 following a record election turnout of 58.37%. All 14-17 year-olds who live, work, or study in Lewisham are eligible to run for the Young Mayor election.