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YMCA calls for young to be represented in London mayoral elections

Wed 23 Mar 2016
By Hannah Tooley

A Christian charity is urging the 2016 London mayoral candidates to consider the voices of the city's young people in their actions and decisions.

YMCA wants the hopefuls to put young people first, and has produced a manifesto based on their recommendations and concerns.

Who's in the race?

Zac Goldsmith - Conservative 

Sadiq Khan - Labour 

Siân Berry - Green Party 

Caroline Pidgeon - Liberal Democrat 

Peter Whittle - UKIP

Liam Preston, from YMCA, told Premier that young people from across the capital are calling on the next Mayor of London to combat low wages, rising levels of rough sleepers and a lack of housing caused by wasted brownfield land.

The detailed document, produced by the eight YMCAs that cover London, lists 24 recommendations in total that young people say matter most to improve the lives of 16 to 24-year-olds in the capital.

He said: "One of the things that young Londoners spoke about in this manifesto was the idea of having a pannel of young leaders, including representatives from youth charities, youth councils, youth clubs and young mayors, actually sitting there and asking the Mayor why he or she isn't acting on their behalf."

"It's about securing a future fit for our young Londoners and actually there are a number of spaces across the city that the Mayor could dediate to low-cost housing and something like a low-cost rent scheme for young Londoners actually doesn't cost a lot of money so it's about providing the right opportunities for young Londoners to flourish."

Some of the YMCA Manifesto recommendations:

Use previously occupied spaces and redevelop them into low-cost accommodation

Invest in alternative models of accommodation 

Pay the London Living Wage to all young people aged under 25-years-old 

Provide mental health training to Met Police Officers in order to help them to identify and treat people in an appropriate way

Former rough sleeper Wendy Omollo, 24, is a resident at the YMCA's Y:Cube housing project in Mitcham, southwest London.

She said: "By having my own space with my own front door I am regaining my independence.

"Basically, when the time comes to move on from Y:Cube, I will be in a far better situation than today."

Listen to Premier's Hannah Tooley speak to Liam Preston here:

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