Children’s champion hopefuls launch election campaigns
Date published: 28 June 2022
Clockwise from left: Erin Pollitt; Freya Butterworth; Goodness Okunde; Ubaid Hussain; Owen Johnson; Hafsah Ali
Six candidates from across the borough have been nominated to be this year’s children’s champion role as elections are set to take place in primary schools.
There is a wide variety of manifesto points from all the candidates this year, as they all battle for votes up and down the borough.
Erin Pollitt, from St Mary’s CE in Rochdale, wants to ‘create a community choir to bring all ages together to stop loneliness, build friendships and share experiences’. She also wants to create an eco-club to encourage wildlife and she would like local teenagers to be trained as ‘street buddies’ to hep younger children when playing out and keep them safe.
Freya Butterworth, from Whittaker Moss in Rochdale, wants easier access to counsellors because of the support they have given her. She is also concerned about speeding drivers so wants to campaign to tell them to ‘slow your speed’. She would like more people to learn sign language.
Goodness Okunde, from St Andrew’s CE in Littleborough, said she would be a ‘hardworking person committed to helping children in Rochdale be heard’. She wants local children to get involved in litter picking to appreciate local parks more. She’s passionate about increasing reading programmes in libraries for young people and she wants to create an education lesson on bullying and racism.
Ubaid Hussain, from Shawclough Community Primary in Rochdale, wants to put an end to littering, because it harms nature and animals and he wants people to recycle more. He wants more clubs where children can go to learn new skills in sport, cooking and reading. He is also keen to organise more charity events to help people in the borough who are struggling, he says “a little from us can mean a lot to them.”
Owen Johnson, from Parkfield Primary in Middleton, believes every child in the borough should have a chance to try new foods. He is also passionate about mental health support for young people and thinks every child in the borough should have the opportunity to play sport outside of school and wants to set up a scheme, like free school meals, where families can use vouchers to access sports clubs.
Hafsah Ali, from Hamer Community Primary in Rochdale, described herself as a ‘kind, generous, good listener’ and is passionate that everyone has a voice. She wants children to help climate change projects like litter pickings, growing plants and trees. She wants to see more done to help homeless people with more shelters and places for people to donate. Mental health is very important to her and she wants to create wellbeing clubs, hold therapy talks and have therapy pets.
The hopes of the six candidates are now in the hands of primary schools across the borough to choose their new champion.
Councillor Rachel Massey, cabinet member for children’s services and education at Rochdale Borough Council, said: “What an amazing set of candidates we have, I always love hearing the election points of our budding champions. We’re really passionate in our work about listening to what matters to the borough’s young people and the children’s champion role is a key part of that.
“We get great turnout from primary schools during these elections, even during the challenging Covid pandemic, it shows how we’re all so committed to giving young people a voice. I wish all the candidates the best of luck in the election and I’m looking forward to working with the champion, their deputy and the wider children’s council.”
Candidates are chosen following individual and team exercises at sessions with workers and the children’s council, facilitated by Rochdale Youth Service.
Elections are taking place in schools and the results are announced on Wednesday 13 July at a special election event at Number One Riverside, Rochdale.
For more information on the role of the children’s champion and the work of the youth service across the borough please visit rochdale.gov.uk/YouthService
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