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New children’s champion crowned as local pupils get lesson in democracy

10 July 2018

Director of Children's Services Gail Hopper, new champion Millie Connor and Councillor Kieran Heakin.

Rochdale Town Hall played host to a special ceremony on Tuesday, 3 July 2018, as schoolchildren from across the borough elected their new children's champion for 2018/19.

In a celebration event organised by Rochdale Youth Service, Millie Connor, from Holy Trinity Primary School in Littleborough, was named the new children's champion, after picking up 2244 of the 8579 votes cast.

Children's champions work with decision makers to make changes which will improve the lives of young people and Millie told a packed council chamber that she will be focussing on tackling dog fouling, supporting the homeless and helping children deal with their problems during her election year.

Also celebrating on the night was Isabelle Stott, from Woodland Primary school in Heywood, who was elected Deputy Children's Champion. Isabelle's manifesto focussed on making it easier for children to cycle to school, encouraging link ups between different schools and getting young people more involved in making decisions which affect them.

Just pipped to the post were the 4 other finalists; Alisha Khan, from Kentmere Academy in Rochdale, James Cawley, from Little Heaton Primary School in Middleton, Molly Judge, from Alkrington Primary School in Middleton and Soha Hussain, from Lowerplace Primary School in Rochdale.

Ballot papers were sent to all primary schools in the borough and a total of 8579 votes were cast.  

'I'm so pleased to see children and young people engaging in democracy and wanting to make a positive difference across the borough'

Councillor Kieran Heakin, our Cabinet Member for Children's Services, said: "This was a wonderful event. All the candidates had excellent manifestos and worked very hard. I'm so pleased to see children and young people engaging in democracy and wanting to make a positive difference across the borough, and it is particularly fitting that this event took place during local democracy week. Both Millie and Isabelle will gain so much from this experience and I wish them all the best for their exciting year ahead".

At the event, the outgoing Children's Champion, George Holt from Littleborough Community Primary School, thanked all those who had supported him during his year as Children's Champion and talked about his achievements, including helping to plan upgrades to the skate park in Littleborough, encouraging schools to increase outdoor learning, First Aid and getting local school children to engage with the elderly in care homes.

Our Director of Children's Services, Gail Hopper, said: "Both George and his deputy, Maisha Samiullah, should both be very proud of what they've achieved over this past year. We have all really enjoyed working alongside them on their campaigns and interests. They have represented the children and young people of our borough really well and I'm sure they've had many fantastic experiences during their year which they'll remember forever".