Lewisham teen triumphs in young mayor elections

Former Young Mayor Femi Komolafe, new Deputy Young Mayor Olivia Mardling, new Young Mayor Rosanna Campbell and Mayor of Lewisham Damien Egan. Pic: Lottie Kilraine

The new Young Mayor of Lewisham has been elected this week following a campaign against 25 other candidates from 10 different schools. 

Rosanna Campbell, 15, from Bonus Pastor Catholic College won the election with 1,766 votes making her Lewisham’s 17th Young Mayor. 

The young student plans to promote equality of opportunity in classrooms, while tackling racism and advocating for freedom and security in the black community to wear their hair how they feel comfortable. 

Olivia Mardling, 15, of Sydenham School, was the runner up with 1,431 votes, making her the Deputy Young Mayor. Her manifesto included introducing self-defence training in schools and providing better lighting in residential areas.

Campbell said: ‘Olivia and I have a lot of responsibility, to make sure all the voices of young people in Lewisham are heard. We will work on the biggest problems first, the things that affect the most people. 

‘My own top priority is equality within the classroom. There are so many opportunities for people who retain information quickly, but those who do not are kind of left behind. It’s causing people mentally to feel worthless. I have witnessed it.’

Katy Brown, Advisor to the Young Mayor, Lewisham, told East London Lines: ‘Olivia agreed on the importance of creating positive change for young people across the borough.’

The Young Mayor and her Deputy will have a budget of £25,000 to spend on the issues and concerns of the local young people, with one year in office to complete their goals. 

9,839 minors aged 11-17 voted in the election, representing a turnout of approximately 50 per cent of the borough.

Third and fourth in the poll, Ana Rodrigues and Moriah Mensah, both have the opportunity to represent the London Borough of Lewisham at the UK Youth Parliament. Fifth place, Sheniz Elmaz-Golding, will be representing the borough on the London Youth Assembly. 

The role of the Young Mayor is to be a spokesperson for young people’s views, ensuring they are heard by decision-makers. 

Their position is supported by young advisers and the young citizens’ panel, which informs the Mayor, Council, and other higher bodies. 

Young Mayors will have access to a full range of young people’s forums, networks and school councils to aid them in their role. 

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