11 May 2022

When Politics becomes a way to improve the local community: Avesta's story

When Politics becomes a way to improve the local community: Avestas story

Breaking records as the youngest ever Labour party candidate, youngest candidate in London, and second youngest candidate in UK political history, Avesta, one of our Y13 students, recently stood in the latest council political elections. 

Even though it might be incredibly surprising for many that a student who just turned 18 years old has represented a political party during elections, for whoever knows Avesta, that won’t come as a surprise. 

We had a chat with him today, to better understand Avesta’s path and hopes. 

Avesta, thank you for joining the interview today. Tell us about your interest in Politics. Where did it come from and how has it developed?

I got involved in Politics a few months before the general elections in 2019 because I just felt that joining a political party meant to “have a voice”, and my voice could encourage changes in the political scene. Since then I have always been active in politics, until the moment when a few months ago I was shortlisted by the residents of the Hanger Hill Labour Party for the council elections. 

What aspect of Politics interests you the most?

Well, Education is definitely a very relevant field to me. But I would say that my interest is much broader because, for me, it all revolves around the “Idea of Progress”. I want to do anything I can in all different fields to help Ealing grow, and consequently help us progressing. 

I have a simple example of this: recently some residents of a Grade II listed garden estate have complained about how cold their houses got during the winter months, but were refused to have their window fixed to not alter the historical features of their building. 

However, it was just a matter of using the right argument to get to what we wanted to obtain. After some research, we understood that we needed to bring up the fact that this rule would have affected the health of the residents, and that sometimes keeping an historical feature is not as important as taking care of people. It was not a matter of ignoring the historical value of the estate, but seeing how the single-glazed windows were having a negative effect on people’s lives. We won the argument and the windows were double glazed. 

This is just a little example, but I just really want to keep helping people to move forward. 

You recently joined the local elections. Could you please tell us about them? How did they go?

I did not win, but I actually came very close to the candidate who won. The top candidate had around two thousands votes, whereas I obtained 1,154 votes, which is amazing if I consider that I did not dedicate too much time to campaigning. 

Who helped you to organise your campaign? And what exactly did your campaign consist of?

Each party has an organiser that helps with the campaigns. We did quite a lot of door knocking and talked to local residents to understand what issue they saw as more relevant to our community. We also made some calls to investigate the same topic, along with marketing emails. Leaflets were also printed and distributed in the local area. 

Would you consider running for a position again in the future? And if so, what would you do differently?

Yes, I definitely want to try again. I will be allowed to candidate myself again in 4 years time. I would definitely dedicate more time to campaigning, and add a few more channels to my campaign, such as digital channels.

What message would you want to give to other young people, maybe your age, that want to follow your path?

I would say that I just want to encourage young people to take part in politics; politics has an impact on our daily lives, and only by being involved in it, people can really see to what extent this is true. 

I never wanted to join a political party when I was younger, but I realised that what I do when campaigning could actually change a lot in the local community, and that really appealed to me. 

Thank you Avesta. You are such a role model for other young people that would like to take part in political events and elections. Good luck for your next campaign! 

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