With the 2011 Tower Hamlets Young Mayor elections starting this week, ELL caught up with outgoing Young Mayor, Landry Adelard, to get his thoughts on the highs and lows of a challenging year in office.
“We had so many plans,” he said “But for many of them, we just didn’t have the money.”
Landry and his team have run campaigns, led protests and hosted courses to try and achieve his three election promises: reducing knife crime in the area, promoting equality and improving GCSE results and employment.
Landry told ELL that he hopes things will be easier for his successor. “I think this year it will be much better,” he said. “We’ll focus more on the things we didn’t achieve last year, and we’ll get a bigger group so that not much pressure is put on the young mayor themselves.”
The first election for Tower Hamlets’ young mayor ran in January 2005. Over the past five years, significant improvements have been made with young people becoming increasingly involved.
For the first time this year, the young mayor group will extend its term in office to two years, a move that Landry thinks will bring improvements: “A year is not enough to do everything you want to do.”
When asked to give some suggestions to the next young mayor, Landry explained that one of the missing factors last year was “visibility”: showing young people in the borough exactly what the young mayor and the youth council were achieving.
His words of advice: “Stand out. Always have something to show. Always have feedback. Always publish your opinions and achievements even if it’s the smallest thing.”
Landry remains convinced that the Young Mayor scheme can provide a voice for Tower Hamlets’ youth in the highest circles of power.
“I had the chance to speak to Boris Johnson. He thought that it wasn’t a good idea for politicians who knew nothing about young people to sit there and make judgements and decisions for young people.” Landry said.
“I enjoyed being Young Mayor a lot. Even though I say I want to get it over and done, I know I’m going to miss this.”
The result of the Young Mayor Elections 2011 will be announced next Wednesday.