Wednesday, 3 March 2010

10,000 young people can't be wrong...

A new Youth Mayor for Lambeth has been elected after 10,000 votes were cast in the Lambeth Youth elections. This is an amazing turnout of young people who are regularly dismissed as 'apathetic'. The Lib Dems sadly rejected the initiative, calling it a 'gimmick'.

The new youth mayor and member of youth parliament were announced during a colourful ceremony on Friday at the Town Hall.

This year's elections were the closest ever which meant a re-count of all votes took place a few hours before the formal announcement.

Lambeth's new youth mayor, Darren Tenkorang (pictured far right), scooped the top post with 967 votes from young people who live, work and study in the borough. Young people between 11 to 19 voted online and at polling stations in 12 Lambeth schools.

Darren, 15, won a closely-fought campaign by just 28 votes. The second highest vote saw 16-year-old Sara Zouhir (pictured second from right with the Mayor of Lambeth) from Lambeth Academy announced as deputy youth mayor for Lambeth.

Darren is a student at Bishop Thomas Grant School in Streatham and lives in Brixton.

"As Lambeth Youth Mayor I hope to destroy the stereotype the youth have. Youth of today are looked upon as rebellious teenagers who wear black hoods and roam the streets at night," he said.

"I hope to achieve my goal by uniting the community. I hope to break down the barriers between the youth and the police, and most importantly, I would like to unite secondary school students together."

It was another close call for Lambeth's next member of youth parliament (MYP). Sixteen-year-old Stephanie Harb (pictured second from left) beat fellow candidate, 14-year-old Daniel Longe (pictured left) by only 19 votes. Archbishop Tenninson's School student Daniel is Lambeth's Deputy MYP and will stand alongside Stephanie to organise events and projects, run campaigns and influence decision-makers on issues that matter most to young people in Lambeth.

Lambeth is one of only four London authorities, and only ten nationally, to have a directly elected youth mayor. The Lambeth Youth Mayor and their advisory panel will have an annual budget of £25,000 to help make the changes that young people want to see.

The newly elected candidates will take on their posts from April 2010.

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