Like many 18-year-olds, Ethan Granville is studying for a degree, plays rugby league for his local team, the Blue Bulls and has high hopes for his future career.
However, unlike most youngsters his age, Ethan has already made an impact on his local community and the environment and hopes to achieve even more by standing as a community council candidate in the upcoming Cornelly By-Election.
“People ask me why I have an interest in politics – of course, I have my opinions on big issues like Brexit, climate change and the economy, because they impact on everyone, but for me it’s more about making a difference where I live and engaging the under 25’s in community issues.
“Young people are often overlooked by the mainstream parties, and as the local Youth Representative for the Cornelly Labour Party branch, I am already working to change that.
“Community councils in particular are full of older people who make local decisions that affect people my age – we have to pay the full rate of tax if we work, despite getting a lower minimum wage, so we at least deserve a say in how budgets are spent.”
Despite his young age, Ethan was instrumental in a policy to drive environmental changes at the college he attended, championing a successful campaign to incentivise students to drink more water and to reduce the use of single use plastics, something he is proud of. Ethan explains:
“Yes I am young, but I’m also passionate, and really want to make a difference – and so do most people my age, so we need to harness that passion and channel it into the local community.
Ethan says that evidence shows when young people are engaged in the community, everybody benefits:
“On the Myatts Field Estate in Brixton, a group of parents and ex-offenders came together to set up a range of activities to support their own young people, including a football league, cookery, and taking young people on visits to open their eyes to the opportunities around them.
“Over three years, with almost no public funding, they got 80 young people out of gangs – bottom line, engagement is good for everyone. Thankfully, Cornelly doesn’t have gang issues, it’s a great place to live and I’ve lived here all my life, but this just shows what can be achieved when young people are engaged rather than ignored.”
“I’m determined that young people in my area understand they have a voice and a Community Council that is willing to listen to their needs.
Ethan has already reached out to the community PCSO and has events for young people in Cornelly in the early stages of planning. He says he will continue this work to improve life in Cornelly whether elected or not.
“It’s not all about me. The other candidates are strong and equally committed to drive improvements in Cornelly. If not elected, I will continue to work in the community and strive to bring the needs of young people to the Community Council’s attention.”
Ethan is hosting an open forum in Cornelly Community Centre tomorrow and is available to discuss community issues with any resident, young or old, between 10 and 11am.