Improving equality, inclusion and supporting Croydon’s communities are the priorities of the borough’s new Mayor who has been sworn in for her year of office.
Councillor Bernadette Khan, who represents West Thornton ward, has pledged to encourage local residents of all backgrounds, businesses and institutions to work more closely together and promote equal opportunities for all.
The Liverpool-born councillor will be championing fundraising efforts for Cancer Research UK during her year in office, with a focus on supporting underfunded medical research to help children with rare forms of cancer.
A social worker by training, Councillor Khan lived in Pakistan for three years before settling in London in 1965. She moved to Croydon in 1976, working for Wandsworth Council in specialisms including fostering, adoption and child protection. Her career has also included co-founding a foster parent association in Lambeth and working as a magistrate in both family and adult courts.
Councillor Khan’s first spell as an elected member of Croydon Council was between 1994 and 1998 for Addiscombe ward, returning to the council chamber in 2002. She has sat on several committees, including the fostering panel and the corporate parenting panel, as well as being chair of social services in the nineties.
Away from politics, Councillor Khan is involved in community groups, including being instrumental in the creation of the Zakia Family Centre in St James’s Road. A former board member of Fairfield Halls, in her spare time she enjoys the theatre and the arts. As well as having two children and three grandchildren of their own, she and her husband Qaiyum have been foster parents to over 100 more.
Councillor Khan said: “I would like to use my tenure as Madam Mayor for the borough of Croydon over the next 12 months to focus and support equality of access and inclusion, recognising communities at the heart.”
Assisting Councillor Khan as this year’s Deputy Mayor is Councillor Humayun Kabir, who moved to Croydon in 1979 and worked as a family adviser at another London council before becoming a councillor in the 2010 local elections representing Bensham Manor ward.
The married father-of-three, who sat on the steering committee that led to the development of the Shah Jalal mosque in Croydon, is a former deputy cabinet member for both finance & treasury and economy & jobs. He is also a trustee and director of the Asian Resources Centre of Croydon and Bensham Manor Community Association.