The Young Mayor

The Young Mayor is elected by Barking and Dagenham Youth Forum which itself is elected by young people through their secondary schools and youth organisations.

Wesley Oparaugo

A new Young Mayor for Barking and Dagenham has been appointed for the fourth year after Wesley Oparaugo replaced Vaisaly Gnanapandithan. Wesley, 15, who attends Robert Clack School, was a member of the Barking and Dagenham Youth Forum in 2017. He is the first male to become Young Mayor and was one of five candidates who stood to be elected.

Wesley gave a short manifesto speech to the members of the newly elected Barking and Dagenham Youth Forum followed by a democratic vote and was elected as the fourth Young Mayor on Monday 5 March at the Vibe Youth Centre.

His term will run from March 2018 until February 2019 and he will work alongside one of the BAD Youth Forum sub-groups to choose a local youth charity selected by a public youth vote. Once the charity is identified, the group will choose their fundraising events for the year and aim to raise as much money as possible. Wesley will also attend 15 formal events as Young Mayor.  He has already attended the Women’s Empowerment Month launch at the Town Hall where he gave a brilliant speech entitled ‘Equality Now’.

Wesley is delighted to become the first male to hold such a prestigious post and said: “I am extremely excited and deeply honoured to have been elected as the Young Mayor. I really wanted to be the Young Mayor because I want young people to feel that they can speak up, regardless of whatever they are going through. I have been elected for a reason, and I vow to give my all to make sure the youth of Barking and Dagenham are heard, and not just seen. I am also very honoured to be the first male Young Mayor, and I hope to pave the way for more to gather confidence and go for roles like this.”

Councillor Evelyn Carpenter, Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment and School Improvement, said: “I am very pleased to welcome Wesley to his new post as Young Mayor for the borough.I have no doubts that he will be a major success and will do everything to help the youth of Barking and Dagenham. Also, I should like to thank Vaisaly Gnanapandithan who did a great job as Young Mayor
last year and raised a great deal of money for Barking and Dagenham Young Carers.”