How do you speak to people when you are feeling nervous?
In my school, we are encouraged to use our fear for a positive reason and make the most of it. You feel fear for a reason, because you want something important to go well. I do get nervous but I focus on the important things I’m doing for others. If I bail out, the young people who are expecting me to speak out for them will not have their opinions heard.
Why is it called the Young Mayor, when you are not the Mayor’s son?
It’s not like the Royal family, it’s more political. Lewisham Council wanted to hear young people’s views. So they decided to start up a Young Mayor’s Scheme. Adults do not necessarily understand what school is like today, so it is important that young people can share their opinions with the people who make important decisions about their lives.
I do the Mayor’s job but for young people.
Have you ever thought about something you would like to change?
We have to – that’s the job! The Young Mayor is responsible for a £30,000 budget. We listen to Young People all over the borough (it’s called a consultation), which is an important skill for school Councillors, too. We are looking to showcase what the talented young people in Lewisham can do, so we are organising a show at The Albany Theatre.
How does your school help you develop the skills that are important as Young Mayor?
At Deptford Green, we move up to the next year in the summer term, so we can really focus on our learning. One of our themes is: Keep calm, be organised and get involved. The citizenship teacher encourages us to speak out in the playground using a loudspeaker, which is a valuable experience. It is important that you do things that you enjoy.
How do you get messages out the community?
Social media – when you are older
Let parents know, let your friends know
Speak directly to people
Stickers – address labels
Is there a Young Mayor of London?
No. There are only a handful of Young Mayors around the country and when there are national events, I represent the young people of Lewisham.
Would you ever consider being in politics when you are older?
Maybe, I do enjoy helping people. I’m 15 now and I may become a councillor but I would advise you to have an aspiration but also flexible. I like English and science but History is my back up plan. Keep your options open, work hard and you will go far.