Haringey Community Press

Haringey Community Press

Building a borough for the future

Haringey's newly-appointed deputy mayor, Lester Buxton, on how young people are re-energising politics

Hero for Building a borough for the future
Lester Buxton is the deputy mayor of Haringey and councillor for Crouch End
By Lester Buxton 14 July 2022

Here in Haringey, we need to think about the future we want to build. I grew up in Crouch End, I went to Highgate Wood School, worked in the local bike shop and played squash at the local club (and still do). I think it’s fair to say that I know the area well—and that means I think about how Crouch End was, how it is now, and how it might look in the future. Here in Haringey, we need to think about the future we want to build. I grew up in Crouch End, I went to Highgate Wood School, worked in the local bike shop and played squash at the local club (and still do). I think it’s fair to say that I know the area well—and that means I think about how Crouch End was, how it is now, and how it might look in the future.

On 5th May Haringey elected half-a-dozen councillors under 30–including me. Young people haven’t always had this opportunity, but we are now making decisions alongside councillors who have known and served the borough for longer than we’ve been alive. Young people are making decisions that will impact all our lives for the next 60 years or more. From the climate crisis to the housing crisis, these are issues that affect different generations in different ways, so it’s important that different views, experiences, backgrounds, and generations are represented. On 5th May Haringey elected half-a-dozen councillors under 30–including me. Young people haven’t always had this opportunity, but we are now making decisions alongside councillors who have known and served the borough for longer than we’ve been alive. Young people are making decisions that will impact all our lives for the next 60 years or more. From the climate crisis to the housing crisis, these are issues that affect different generations in different ways, so it’s important that different views, experiences, backgrounds, and generations are represented.

The council leadership has plans to re-establish Haringey Youth Council, set up a ‘Haringey Young Voices’ project, and engage young people in redesigning their local area–these are fantastic initiatives aimed at engaging young people to make a difference in their communities. It means so much to young people to see elected councillors who don’t look too much older than themselves who can engage with them. The council leadership has plans to re-establish Haringey Youth Council, set up a ‘Haringey Young Voices’ project, and engage young people in redesigning their local area–these are fantastic initiatives aimed at engaging young people to make a difference in their communities. It means so much to young people to see elected councillors who don’t look too much older than themselves who can engage with them.

Haringey isn’t afraid to empower young people. Last year Adam Jogee blazed a trail as the youngest mayor in London. Seeing a young Black man in a position of power was an inspiration to many young people locally and led to more engaging with civic life —from local activism to helping Haringey’s vaccination effort. Adam is a shining example of how representation matters in local politics and what difference it can make. Haringey isn’t afraid to empower young people. Last year Adam Jogee blazed a trail as the youngest mayor in London. Seeing a young Black man in a position of power was an inspiration to many young people locally and led to more engaging with civic life —from local activism to helping Haringey’s vaccination effort. Adam is a shining example of how representation matters in local politics and what difference it can make.

It is important that the mayor reflects the community they are representing. That’s why I’m delighted to be deputy to mayor Gina Adamou. As the first woman councillor of Cypriot heritage to hold the mayoralty, Gina is also a trailblazer. Gina came to Haringey in the 1960s and has served on the council since 1990. She’s probably forgotten more about Haringey than most of us will ever know. We complement each other nicely. She represents a Tottenham ward; I represent a Hornsey and Wood Green one. She is experienced as mayor; whereas I am new and, as Gina says, “energetic”. We represent a slither of how diverse Haringey is, and I hope that this makes us more approachable and relatable to local people, so they feel they can talk to us about shaping our shared future.It is important that the mayor reflects the community they are representing. That’s why I’m delighted to be deputy to mayor Gina Adamou. As the first woman councillor of Cypriot heritage to hold the mayoralty, Gina is also a trailblazer. Gina came to Haringey in the 1960s and has served on the council since 1990. She’s probably forgotten more about Haringey than most of us will ever know. We complement each other nicely. She represents a Tottenham ward; I represent a Hornsey and Wood Green one. She is experienced as mayor; whereas I am new and, as Gina says, “energetic”. We represent a slither of how diverse Haringey is, and I hope that this makes us more approachable and relatable to local people, so they feel they can talk to us about shaping our shared future.

It was my honour, as a gay man, to raise the pride flag in June with Gina outside of the council. I truly believe that our strength is in our diversity, all the ways that we are different as individuals make us stronger as a whole. In a time when there is a concerted effort to divide communities through culture wars, it’s more important than ever that we stand together. Only together can we build the future that we want - a greener and fairer Haringey that leaves no one behind. It was my honour, as a gay man, to raise the pride flag in June with Gina outside of the council. I truly believe that our strength is in our diversity, all the ways that we are different as individuals make us stronger as a whole. In a time when there is a concerted effort to divide communities through culture wars, it’s more important than ever that we stand together. Only together can we build the future that we want - a greener and fairer Haringey that leaves no one behind.

Lester Buxton is a Labour councillor for Crouch End.Lester Buxton is a Labour councillor for Crouch End.

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Email: [email protected]Email: [email protected]