Lewisham Young Mayor is a robust attempt to put real power and responsibility in the hands of young people and treat them seriously. The Young Mayor is elected by direct ballot every year and – along with a cabinet of young advisors – is given a budget to initiate a programme of work, as well as to scrutinise the work of Lewisham Mayor and of the city Council.
The Young Mayor provides a focus and a channel for young people’s views to be heard by decision makers. He or She is supported by young advisers and a Young Citizens' Panel and they have access to the full range of young people’s forums, networks and school councils. The Young Mayor is democratically elected every year through Lewisham’s schools and colleges.
The Young Mayor is chosen through a democratic election held in schools and colleges; the Young Mayor serves a one year term and:
- supports, and is a spokesperson for, the borough’s young people
- informs and advises the current Mayor on issues relating to young people
- works with the young advisers and Young Citizens' Panel to inform the work of the Mayor, Council and other decision-making bodies
- oversees a budget of at least £25,000.
Most of the incumbents of the post of Mayor and advisors have been members of various of the borough’s minority ethnic communities.
London Lewisham has the longest established Young Mayor programme in the country (it was started in 2004 by Sir Steve Bullock, Mayor of Lewisham). It is influential in encouraging other councils to provide this opportunity for young people.