Young Mayor for Newham Jonathan Bennett wants to bring social, educational and employment opportunities to young people across the borough.
The 15 year old from Cumberland School in Canning Town was chosen as the seventh Young Mayor of Newham in 2013 in an election in which 73% of young people turned out to vote – the highest turn out in any Young Mayor election in Newham so far. The vote demonstrated that Newham’s young people are passionate about having their voices heard and eager to make a difference.
With a budget of £25,000 at the disposal of the youth council, one of Jonathan’s key objectives is the re-development of current facilities in the borough.
He said, “One of my focuses is the regeneration of current facilities, rather than starting over which would potentially waste funding that has previously been invested, and therefore isn’t time or economically efficient.”
Another of Jonathan’s initiatives is to help young people generate personal income through structured employment and training schemes. As a previous Jack Petchey Achivement Award winner, Jonathan knows how big a role motivation, reward and recognition can play in raising the apsirations of young people.
Jonathan’s involvement in the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge 2013 helped him to develop his confidence and ability to talk in front of and engage with large groups of people. These skills are essential in his role as Young Mayor.
“I took part in the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge in July last year to voice my opinion about traditional values and holding onto your roots. I want young people to speak out in Newham, be proud of where they are from, and aid the development of our amazing borough.”
Jonathan is the visible face of Newham’s young people. He attends civic events and consultations and meets regularly with the Mayor, councillor and council officers. In early January 2014, Jonathan presented prizes for participants in the Jack Petchey London School’s Table Tennis team finals, held at the University of East London’s Sports Dock.
Ms Doyle, Assistant Head at Cumberland School said, “Everyone at Cumberland School is very proud of Jonathan and will fully support him in his efforts to continue the inspirational work of last year’s Young Mayor. I’m sure he will represent the voice of the Young People in Newham, and changing lives and continuing to build on the legacy and promises of the 2012 Olympic Games.”
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