William, 14, a pupil at The Cedars School, was tonight (15 March) revealed as the winner of first Croydon’s Young Mayor Election. Shea Williams, 15, who attends Harris Academy South Norwood, will serve as Deputy Young Mayor after winning the second highest number of votes.
Together they will represent Croydon’s 93,500 under-18s – that’s 1 in 20 young Londoners – and play a key role in local decision-making, ensuring that young people’s views are heard on the issues that matter to them.
William campaigned on his manifesto and his main aims were youth crime and safety. Shea’s top manifesto aims were out of school careers and workshops. Their manifestos are available in full at www.croydon.gov.uk/youngmayor.
Both were elected following an exciting three-week campaign in which 28 candidates aged 11-17 from across the borough battled it out for the top job. Highlights included Young Mayor boot camp; a Speaker’s Corner-style debate in the town centre and a public question time where candidates were quizzed on a range of local issues.
More than 12,000 young people aged 11-18 headed to the ballot boxes in schools, colleges and community centres on polling day – a new local record for youth democracy.
After the results were announced tonight William said: “When they said my name I was flabbergasted. I did not expect to attain victory in this way! I’ve been out campaigning every day, on public transport, in the streets, at schools. I want to thank my family, my friends and everyone who supported me and voted for me. Croydon is an amazing place and I have a passion for making it better. A modernised Croydon, a safer Croydon, a peaceful Croydon."
Leader of Croydon Council Cllr Tony Newman, said: “Huge congratulations to William, Croydon’s first ever Young Mayor, and Deputy Young Mayor Shea. I am absolutely delighted to welcome you to Croydon Council. You will be a strong voice for young people across our borough and we want you, as their representatives, to play a key role in local decision-making.”
Cllr Alisa Flemming cabinet member for children, young people and learning, said: “Congratulations to William and Shea. I am really looking forward to working with you both to raise the profile of Croydon’s young people.
"I also want to congratulate all of the candidates on an excellent campaign. You have all, without exception, inspired me with your energy, enthusiasm and willingness to stand up and raise your voices for what you believe in.
"Most importantly, you have inspired young people across the borough, to stand up for what they believe in. More than 12,000 of them voted and this amazing turnout is testament to all your hard work. Don’t stop – you all have much to offer and we want to continue hearing your voices through our youth councils. This is absolutely not the end – it is very much the beginning.”
The Young Mayor election is the latest initiative in Croydon’s Choose Your Future campaign, through which the council, its partners and the community are empowering young people to make positive life choices.
Croydon's Young Mayor will be formally introduced to the council’s cabinet at their next meeting on Monday 19 March.