Wandsworth appoints new mayor and first-ever Youth Mayor

Published: Thursday, May 23, 2024

  • New Mayor is human rights lawyer Sana Jafri
  • She pledges to celebrate diversity and support communities
  • 17-year-old Youth Mayor Millie Quinn vows to give young people a voice

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Sana Jafri, Millie Quinn and Favour Oniri

Councillor Sana Jafri has been chosen to be the new Mayor of Wandsworth.

And, in a first for the borough, Millie Quinn is named Wandsworth Youth Mayor to represent young people. She was chosen by members of the Wandsworth Youth Council.

Cllr Jafri was last year’s Deputy Mayor. She is an immigration lawyer and a mum of two who was born in Tooting and still lives there. She volunteers with local youth groups and charities, campaigns for equality and human rights and has raised funds for St George’s Hospital.

She said: “I’m proud to be the first Pakistani Muslim mayor. My faith will be an important part of my Mayoral year because I want to change the narrative about being a Muslim in Wandsworth. Yes there are some bad people but that’s not what we are – we are taught to look after each other, support charity and do good.

“As a mother I want to be a great role model for my children and I want to show young Muslim women that it’s important for us to be out there achieving. I’ve been through hard times in my life, but it’s been about having focus and knowing what my end goal is.

“This community has always been my home. My year as Deputy Mayor has been amazing and I had a great time bonding with different groups and helping to raise awareness of the many smaller organisations that together do so much for Wandsworth. I’m really looking forward to the coming year.”

Deputy Mayor is retired architect and East Putney councillor Finna Ayres who is interested in urban planning, affordable housing and accessibility issues.

The Mayor has chosen three charities to support during her Mayoral year.

HomeStart Wandsworth provides practical and emotional support to families, who may be struggling with poor mental or physical health, isolation, postnatal depression, financial or housing difficulties. Managing Director Louise Aston said: Quote " We see this as a hugely valuable opportunity to shine a spotlight on the incredible work we do; working alongside families to create an environment in which young children can thrive. We can't wait to embark on this journey alongside Sana and the Wandsworth community.”

Rackets Cubed runs after-school programmes supporting more than 180 children a week, as well as the successful Roehampton Community Box social supermarket that supports around 200 households each week. CEO Nikki Rosner said. “Rackets Cubed are delighted to be one of the Mayor's chosen charities at a really exciting time with the growth of our core programmes. We are really keen to do more in Wandsworth and would use any funds to expand our core and community programmes further.”

Tooting Community Kitchen runs a foodbank and provides people with a safe place to eat, socialise and take part in activities. Trustee Ollie Couillaud  said: “Wow, this is mega! We're only a little charity, entirely self funded and rely on the goodwill of our community to survive and operate. Being chosen by the mayor means we can reach out to even more and make a real difference in our hood! We call ourselves TCK Rebels, this is our way of rebelling against homelessness and making sure no one is left behind...”

Youth Mayor Millie Quinn, 17, is studying for her A-levels and hopes to work in human rights. She is a youth councillor and a member of the Wandsworth Music Academy, playing viola and piano.

She is passionate about educating young people about the harm of sexual violence and to promote understanding of young people living with poor health.

“Young people represent nearly 20 per cent of Wandsworth’s population and I believe their voices are needed to make this a more inclusive, innovative and fairer borough. Policies about young people should not be made without us.”

The Deputy Youth Mayor is Favour Oniri who has an interest in education, community engagement, child poverty and young people’s mental health.

Follow the Mayor of Wandsworth on twitter at @WandsworthMayor. Find out about how to invite the mayor to an event at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/mayor.