Two South Leeds candidates in the Children’s Mayor election

Voting is open in the election to decide who will be the next Leeds Children’s Mayor and South Leeds has two candidates on the 12-strong shortlist.

Elsie from Hunslet Carr Primary School is campaigning on the issue of food poverty, whilst Keyla from New Bewerley Community School in Beeston’s manifesto focusses on mental health.

Elsie explained her motivation and ideas:

“It’s not fair that some people have to go to a food bank to get food when lots of people can just buy it. I was thinking that we have the school allotment, so maybe we could grow food there and give it to the children that need it. Also, if there’s food left over in the dinner hall, instead of throwing it away, we can have a list of families that need food and we could give it to them. It’s better than wasting it, especially as the dinner staff have spent a long time making it.”

She is keen to see more schools have allotments or growing spaces and would like to hold a big fun day in the city centre where she could raise more awareness of the issue and raise funds for foodbanks.

Keyla told us:

“There are lots of adults, teenagers and pupils suffering in school and out. I want them to feel calmer within school and learn about how to have an improved mental health, through learning whilst in school and take these skills out into the community – into their own life and that of others.

“Good mental health leads to happiness, more contentment and self-belief which enables you to progress in life.”

Keyla was inspired to put herself forward by the current Children’s Mayor Mason Hicks, who met the new King on his visit to Leeds last November.

Marcus Rashford is a big inspiration for lots of things at Hunslet Carr Primary School and his stand on providing food to families during the school holiday inspired Elsie. She’s also keen on the school’s allotment:

“I like going to the allotment and planting and growing things, it’s a nice place to sit. It makes me feel happy with all the colours” she said.

Elsie was recently elected Head Girl and was presented with her prize by Hilary Benn MP. Asked about the Mayor election he told her:

“You need to do lots of campaigning and you need to be confident.”

Both girls have planned their campaigning for when schools restart this month. They have been approaching other schools to ask to go and speak to pupils. Family members are being roped in with older sisters spreading the word at their schools and Keyla is hoping her Polish campaign manager will get votes amongst the Polish community in Leeds. Elsie’s father is putting a Vote Elsie placard up outside their home.

Children and young people aged 5 to 18 years old who live and/or go to school in Leeds have till 5pm on 25 September 2023 to cast their vote and can do so by visiting, where they can read the manifestos of all 12 candidates. There are also pop up voting stations in Leeds City Museum and Leeds Central Library.

The newly elected Children’s Mayor is set to be announced by the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Al Garthwaite at a civic reception event on Thursday 5 October.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Al Garthwaite said:

“I’m overwhelmed and thrilled by the number of children and schools who have once again taken part in this fantastic programme.

“They are an inspiration, not only to their peers and other children, but to me, and to anyone working to help make Leeds the best city to live in. The quality of the manifestos this year is exceptional, and I am looking forward to the finals night in October to find out who will be our next Children’s Mayor – the best of luck to all our finalists.”


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