Leeds children vote for their own Mayor

The current Leeds Children's Mayor Charlotte Williams

The current Leeds Children's Mayor Charlotte Williams

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Ten school pupils are taking their first steps on the political ladder in their bid to be named Leeds’s Children’s Mayor.

Youngsters are canvassing votes from young people across the city as they pledge to make Leeds even more child friendly.

Year six pupils in primary schools were invited to enter the programme, by writing a short manifesto saying how they would improve Leeds if they were the Children’s Mayor.

And as part of their first Civic duty they will be invited to switch on the Leeds Christmas lights in front of thousands of people on November 13.

The young mayor will also be given the opportunity to present their manifesto to the city’s 99 councillors at the full council meeting next year.

Councillor David Congreave, Lord Mayor of Leeds, said: “The calibre of the manifestos this year is excellent.

“I’m sure the voting will be close this year with so many interesting and considered ideas.

”All the young people have done extremely well to get through to the final of the competition and I hope they all continue with their interest in local democracy.

“Next year will be another exciting time to be the Leeds Children’s Mayor, with the Rugby World Cup coming to Leeds and many more great events to look forward to.”

Councillor Judith Blake, executive board member for children’s services, added: “It is fantastic to see so many excellent ideas coming in from young people across the city illustrating how we can make Leeds even more child friendly.

“Part of our aim to be a child friendly city is about giving young people a voice and putting their ideas into action, and the children’s mayor competition is a wonderful opportunity to do just that.

“I want to encourage everyone to take a look at these impressive manifestoes and get voting!”

Young people, aged under 19, can vote for their top three online at www.breezeleeds.org/leedschildrensmayor.

The deadline for voting is Tuesday, November 4, at 5pm.

NOMINEES

Amy Eckworth: ‘Have fun, play safe’

“If I was children’s mayor of Leeds I would create a social club or a safe area where kids could play games and hang out with their friends instead of being in danger on the roads with the cars.

“There would be one of these areas, or a park, local to schools and homes so children, after school, can go and do whatever they want.

“There would be a secret supervisor that made sure that the park is kept under control. I know that many children want to feel like they are trusted and don’t want it to feel like a military school.

“I promise that there will be something for everyone. If it was only a safe area then I would invest in some skipping ropes and toys.”

Abigail Sophia Butterfield: ‘Raise a smile’

“I would make a difference to the lives of children throughout the city. After all we deserve the best!

“The wish I want to improve is ‘All children and young people are treated fairly and feel respected.’ The most important area being bullying.

“Leeds is a multi cultural city therefore there are many skin colours and different ways of living so I believe, strongly, this cause needs to be addressed, immediately.

“In the whole of Britain, 88,000 people are racially bullied. In Leeds there have been 4,690 cases of racial bullying.

“Another case of bullying, which is gradually but certainly growing, is cyber bullying. This is too many!”

Caitlin Waterhouse: ‘Come to graffiti ground’

“If I was the children’s mayor of Leeds I would like Graffiti Park to cut down graffiti in Leeds.

“I think there could be a little fence shaped as a square with walls built inside so they can show of their art skills but not be doing illegally.

“It wouldn’t stop graffiti overall but it will cut it down if I do become the children’s mayor of Leeds, the graffiti ground will be built where graffiti is most popular and where estates are full of graffiti.

“To raise awareness and money I will be planning a sponsored run and cycle hopefully I will become the children’s mayor so this can be taken onboard.”

Freya Richardson: ‘Fun for children, run by children’

“I would establish an activity fair where children could relax, and discuss their hobbies with other children of their own age. It would be run entirely by children, and would be at a fairly low cost, since the children would need few resources, just tables and an open space to run this marvellous idea.

“It would also be a brilliant way for children to find new friends, and also new hobbies they never knew they were good at. It could also be a fantastic way to decide which jobs children may like in the future, and provide them with the opportunity to talk to people that enjoy the same things.

“Many people love sports.”

James Brent: ‘Leeds leads the way’

“I want to be Leeds Children’s Mayor, because Leeds is a great place to live and I want to make it better!

“ What Leeds needs is more youth centres, where you can go to make friends, go after school to be safe until someone can collect you, get a healthy meal as many children in Leeds do not get healthy food at home, play sport, get fit and help the community. The centres could have indoor and outdoor space.

“Lots of children don’t have a garden or space to play. If the centres had their own grounds, there would be no dog fouling so children would be safe there.

“They could be used by local children’s groups.”

James Connell: ‘Ability not disability’

“If I were children’s Mayor of Leeds I would aspire to have a city where all children are treated well and respected no matter their ability or capability.

“I would set up more crafts, music and sports clubs. This would be my first action to aid the disabled.

“Furthermore, I would change some park equipment in local parks. I strongly believe this would help disadvantaged children enjoy the great happiness found in laughing and playing around.”

Jayden Yeardley: ‘Park play Leeds’

“I would make our local parks even more fun.

“Leeds is one of the greenest cities in Europe with 62 community parks and I think we can make them even better.

“My idea is to gather together a group of park play leaders. One or two would be at a small local park for an hour every Saturday morning.

“They would play games, organise team activities or give out play equipment.

“It would be open to everyone and free of charge.”

Megan Hodgson: ‘Healthier hearts’

“I would introduce fun competitions and develop activities that were open to all ages and ability groups.

“After the success of London 2012, and the recent Commonwealth Games I think it is important to build upon current interest in sports.

“We are already lucky in Leeds to have many places and open spaces to play in.

“We should take advantage of this, to encourage young people, to help them become more active.”

Shavanna Wood: ‘Be a culture vulture’

“Do you realise that there are nine amazing museums and galleries in Leeds?

“There is also an amazing website that tells you all about them – but do children know it is there?

“We are lucky to have all of these fabulous museums but how many children go and visit them?

“I did a survey around all the classes in my school and found that only 15 children out of 253 had been to Lotherton Hall and only 97 had been to Kirkstall Abbey – which is on our doorstep!”

Rebecca Ashworth: ‘Eco-friendly- city’

“If I was the children’s mayor of Leeds I would make Leeds a better place for children to live by making it a more eco-friendly city.

“The two main things I would change are: the amount of traffic and litter in the streets.

“I think being eco-friendly is vitally important because we have a very busy city to look after and we should be thinking about generations to come as well as making it a better place to live right now.

“Leeds has great potential for being an amazingly child friendly city, but things like this don’t just happen overnight, we all need to help.”

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