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Record number of young people turn out to elect Southwark Youth Parliament

22 November 2023

Over 1,700 young people from across the borough turned out to vote for who they wanted in the next Southwark Youth Parliament, with participation up by 40 per cent.  They elected 52 members to represent them – seven more than the last election with 13 additional reserves.

Southwark Council set up Southwark Youth Parliament to be the voice of young people in the borough. Members of the youth parliament have shaped and influenced key decisions that affect young people. For example, they steered the creative direction and content of the council’s anti-misogyny campaign targeted at young men and boys. The campaign went on to be a finalist at two national awards.

Southwark Youth Parliament is made up of:

  • two candidates from each Southwark school
  • two candidates from ten Southwark community areas

Elected members then voted in their leaders:

Sarah Campbell was chosen as Youth Leader. She said: “I feel both honoured to be the leader and excited to work with all the wonderful people as part of Southwark Youth Parliament. I'm sure we'll accomplish many things together and be a representation of what Southwark can do."

Molly O’Connell was chosen as Deputy Youth Leader. She said: “I'm thrilled and surprised that I even managed to be a part of Southwark Youth Parliament, let alone Deputy Leader, and can't wait to contribute to the group positively!”

Young people also voted on the most important issues they wanted Southwark Youth Parliament to address. The priority issues are: mental health, youth violence, the environment, careers and training, and poverty. The parliament also has two reps with special focus areas: LGBTQ+ and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND). 

Cllr Portia Mwangangye, Deputy Cabinet Member for Young People, celebrated with the successful candidates at a ceremony at Tooley Street, along with the council’s Chief Executive Althea Loderick and the Mayor of Southwark Cllr Michael Situ.

Cllr Mwangangye said: “Congratulations to Sarah, Molly, and all the new members of Southwark Youth Parliament! I’m really excited to get stuck in together on the key issues that Southwark’s young people care about the most. You will help us make sure young people are at the heart of decision-making at the council.

“You follow in the footsteps of our very first youth parliament members. I'd like to thank them for their time, hard work and commitment. I'm so grateful for all their help in making Southwark the very best place it can be for young people, setting them up for success in every part of life.”

Southwark Youth Parliament is the borough’s biggest youth body directly elected by young people. It builds on the work of the old Youth Council. Members, all aged between 14 and 19, serve a two year term. They work with council officers to develop a plan for creating change based around their chosen priorities.

For more information on Southwark Youth Parliament, visit

Page last updated: 22 November 2023

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