Children's Champion and Deputy 2019
New Children’s Champion Erin Buckley (right) and new Deputy Alex Kellyevans (left).

Across the borough, school children elected 10-year-old Erin Buckley from Littleborough as their new children’s champion for 2019/2020 on Tuesday in Rochdale Town Hall. Children’s champions work with decision makers to make changes which will improve the lives of young people.

This means the total amount of young people that voted in a variety of youth democracy in the past year is at a remarkable 19,211. This includes Make Your Mark, Member of Youth Parliament, and Children’s Champion.

Erin has promised to commit herself to help children love reading more, give children the option of doing indoor activities during break times, and get therapy pets into schools .

Erin said: “I never expected to be reading this winning speech, I wish I’d prepared more! I’m am so lucky to have this opportunity. I want to carry on all the hard work that’s already been done by the children champions before me and to all the other candidates I want to say keep speaking up – the world needs more people like you!”

Also celebrating was 10-year-old Alex Kellyevans from Heywood who was elected Deputy Children’s Champion. Alex wants to focus on Making fitness fun, giving everyone a school ‘buddy’ so no one is alone, and having calm rooms in schools for people to go when they’re sad or angry.

The other four finallist that were narrowly defeated were: Evan Sidell, 10, from Littleborough; Layla Mack, 9, from Middleton; Ruhani Hussain, 10, from Rochdale; Xander Hall, 9, from Rochdale.

The outgoing Children’s Champion, Millie Connor, 10, from Littleborough, thanked all those who had supported her during her year as Children’s Champion and especially her school.

Ballot papers were sent to all primary schools in the borough and with a highest ever turnout, a total of 9,763 votes were cast.

“All the candidates had excellent manifestos and worked very hard, they should all be really proud of themselves. It is wonderful to see children and young people engaging in democracy and wanting to make a positive difference across the borough both from the candidates and the amount of votes cast up and down our schools. I’m sure Erin will make a great champion, her enthusiasm is infectious.” said Councillor Rachel Massey.

Rochdale Borough Council’s Director of Children Services, Gail Hopper said: “Erin and Alex should both be very proud of being elected by their peers, it’s a wonderful achievement. They have an exciting year ahead of them and we’re looking forward to sharing the journey with them. We owe thanks to the 57 primary schools that supported this election process. Their support is critical and has created great opportunities for then children who took part and more than 9,000 children across the borough who experienced the opportunity to understand and contribute to democracy at an early age.”