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Champion elected in record-breaking election

07 July 2017

Left to right back row - Deputy Member of Youth Parliament Louis Tweedale, Member of Youth Parliament Sarah Mahmood. Left to right front row – outgoing Children’s Champion Hannah Nazir, new Children’s Champion George Holt and outgoing Deputy Madeleine Bamford.

Rochdale Town Hall played host to the annual Children's Champion elections results on Tuesday, 4 July 2017, which saw a new champion take up the reigns.

The election, organised by Rochdale Youth Service, involved 6 final candidates - Aiyla Abbas from Marland Hill Primary, David Almond from Caldershaw Primary, George Holt from Littleborough Community Primary, Imogen Bramwell from Whittaker Moss, Maisha Samiullah from Hamer Primary and Molly Judge from Alkrington Primary.

Ballot papers were sent to all primary schools in the borough and 8,972 votes were counted and verified with a record 57 schools participating.  At the ceremony, George Holt won 28% of the vote and was declared the new Children's Champion for 2017/18 by returning officer Jo Manfred from the council's early help team.

George's manifesto outlined his priorities; countryside awareness and increased outdoor learning, getting children to learn basic first aid, and encouraging children and young people to communicate with the elderly, including building links between schools and care homes.

George said that he felt he would be a good champion as he was a good listener, he has previous school council experience and he will take on young people's concerns. You can keep track of what progress they make at Rochdale Youth Voice.

Maisha Samiullah was voted Deputy Children's Champion and her manifesto outlined her 3 key areas of interest for the upcoming year which she will work on as well as helping delivering George's manifesto; supporting children who suffer from arthritis, tackling littering and reducing smoking in adults and young people.

At the event the outgoing Children's Champion, Hannah Nazir from Marland Hill Primary School thanked all those who had supported her during her year as Children's Champion and explained how she had progressed her manifesto. She had worked hard in her year on promoting swimming to young people, enhancing youth centre provision in the borough and raising awareness of e-safety. She explained that as her year as Children's Champion had come to an end she was excited to carry on with the Children's Council.

'Outgoing deputy, Madeleine Bamford from Crossgate Primary said that she had loved her year as deputy, she had made a great friend in Hannah and was proud of her work on tackling littering and being involved in consultations getting young people's voices heard.'

Thanking Hannah and Madeleine for successful year, Rochdale Borough Council's director of children's service, Gail Hopper said: "You should both be very proud of what you have achieved, it has been a pleasure working alongside you on your campaigns and interests and you have represented the children and young people of the borough of Rochdale very well."

Councillor Donna Martin, portfolio holder for children's services, presented a new special recognition award at the ceremony to Isabelle Murray as everyone connected with the children's council and youth service felt that during her 2 years on the council she was an ever present, reliable member who dedicated so much time and effort which was hugely valuable to everyone.

Coun Martin said: "This was a wonderful event and all the candidates had excellent manifesto points and worked very hard. It's great to see children and young people engaging in democracy and wanting to make a positive difference across the borough."

Member of Youth Parliament Sarah Mahmood, and deputy Louis Tweedale spoke to the audience about their role and what they were working on for children and young people across the borough. They focussed on mental health provision and support for young people, improving transport for children and young people and making GCSE resits fairer and FREE for those who are facing challenging situations.

The Mayor of Rochdale, Councillor Ian Duckworth, said: "It was so heart-warming to see, it is great news for the whole of Rochdale borough and all our schools. I am proud to be your Mayor and I look forward to working with you."