Pupils battle it out to become Children’s Mayor of Leeds

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Schoolchildren are taking their first steps into politics as they compete to become the next Leeds Children’s Mayor.

Voting is now underway in this year’s competition, which saw a total of 36 Leeds primary schools submitting their best manifestos.

The list has now been whittled down to 12 and two of those are from the Morley area; Isobel Long, of Asquith Primary School, and Grace Branford, of Drighlington Primary.

The pupils that have taken part were asked to pen a short manifesto saying how they would improve Leeds if they were the Children’s Mayor.

The manifesto had to be based on one of the top five issues identified by Leeds primary pupils at the Primary Youth Voice Summit which was held earlier this year.

The top five issues identified by Leeds primary school pupils were: equality; having a voice and influence; feeling safe within school; feeling happy at school and; a clean and tidy environment.

Last year, thousands of people voted and Hannah Begum from Hunslet Moor Primary school was elected as the 2015/16 Children’s Mayor of Leeds.

During her year as the Children’s Mayor Hannah has represented the children of Leeds at many events including the Rio’s Heroes homecoming parade as well as speaking at the Youth Voice Summit and at a full council meeting.

Voting is now open for this year’s competition, with people asked to vote for their three favourite entries.

Voting closes on Friday, November 4 at midday.

The finalists will be invited for tea with the Lord Mayor in November, where the winner will be announced.

The newly-elected Children’s Mayor will then accompany the Lord Mayor to the turning on of the Leeds Lights – which will just be the start of a year of exciting opportunities representing the children of Leeds.

Leeds City Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive board member for children’s services, said: “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.

“Not only will the winner represent the children of Leeds at many exciting events throughout the year, they will also get to share their manifesto with all of the councillors here at Leeds City Council and see how their ideas could be put into action.”

The Lord Mayor of Leeds councillor Gerry Harper said: “The calibre of the manifestos is excellent.

“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.”

To vote, visit bit.ly/2f12zBH.