Croydon is getting set for a youth takeover when more than 60 young people take on some of the town’s top jobs tomorrow (Friday).
For one day, 68 participants aged 11-18 will step into decision-makers’ shoes at Croydon’s Town Hall, police station and other public and private sector organisations. The event will give them a unique opportunity to have their say on key local issues, from crime and policing to transport, while senior leaders benefit from some of the borough’s brightest minds and freshest thinking.
Council chiefs handing over the reins include chief executive Jo Negrini, who will be replaced by Angel Chizea, 15. Angel will have the support of other young people who will be in directors’ chairs across the council, taking on responsibility for issues from housing need to strategy and transport.
Over at the Town Hall, several young people will become Croydon’s most senior politicians for the day. Jennifer Rodriques and Charlotte Earl will step into Councillor Alison Butler’s shoes as they jointly assume the role of deputy leader of the council. Meanwhile Councillor Alisa Flemming will hand over the mantle of cabinet member for children, young people and learning to Shay-Ann Campbell and Eleanor Buxton. Earlier this week, Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice, swapped roles with Brooke Saunders and Tae-Jaden Marius.
Meanwhile at Croydon police station, the borough’s Met officers are preparing to welcome new top brass. Six young people will experience the pressures of policing during a simulated exercise involving a missing person.
Other organisations taking part in Croydon’s Takeover Challenge include the TMRW hub, CDI (Croydon Drop In), Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group, Palace for Life and Croydon Safeguarding Children’s Board.
This is the first time Croydon has taken part in the national Takeover Challenge event. Applications were open to young people from across the borough.
Croydon borough commander Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe said: “We are excited to taking part in Croydon’s first Takeover Challenge and here at Croydon police station we are leading the way for the Met. Safeguarding is at the forefront of policing, and today we are providing young people with a behind-the-scenes experience of how we work with our partners to safeguard them. The Takeover Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for Croydon borough to showcase just how effective our partnership working is, and the young people’s voices will be heard as they provide us with feedback on how we can improve our engagement with young people in the future.”
“I’m really pleased to welcome these young people to Croydon’s first Takeover Challenge. We have had a huge response to this event, which goes to show how much drive and ambition Croydon’s young people have. This is a fantastic chance for us to hear their voices on the issues that matter and for us to learn from their thinking. At the same time I hope it will give them a real understanding of some of the challenges facing community leaders today and inspire them to play an active role in the future of our borough.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning