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New Islington youth mayor Diana Gomez: ‘I don’t want young people to face what I had to face’

PUBLISHED: 07:00 03 March 2017

Young Mayor of Islington Cllr Diana Gomez. Picture: Steve Bainbridge

Young Mayor of Islington Cllr Diana Gomez. Picture: Steve Bainbridge

2016 Steve Bainbridge

Only a few years ago, Diana Gomez was suffering in her own home. The Gazette finds how it motivated her to become Islington’s young mayor.

Diana Gomez became a youth councillor last year because she wanted to tell teenagers like her: “You’re not alone.”

Last month, Cllr Gomez became young mayor of Islington. She is studying for her A-levels at City and Islington College in Goswell Road. She wants to go to either King’s College or the London School of Economics – but also has an offer from Oxford.

Given the trauma she suffered just a few years ago, these achievements look all the more incredible.

“I had a difficult childhood,” Cllr Gomez tells the Gazette. “I came to Islington four-and-a-half years ago, but my mum was victim of domestic violence from her partner. She had mental health problems and was unable look after herself.

“I had to become my mum’s carer at home, all while I was taking my GCSEs and dealing with the police and council. But she’s fine now – she’s a very strong woman.”

It would have been understandable if Cllr Gomez went off the rails. But she was able to use her experience as motivation, and was elected on to Islington Youth Council last year.

“I wanted to join the youth council because of what has happened in my personal life,” she says. “I sometimes felt very alone and wanted to improve the place I live in, so other young people don’t have to face what I had to face.”

Cllr Gomez, 18, was elected by her colleagues as Islington’s new young mayor last month. “I hope to make an impact by working really closely with the adult councillors, especially on crime and safety and mental health and wellbeing.

“Central to that is improving bonds within communities. If communities are closer together, we can tackle issues – such as what my mum and I went through – better.”

As a teenager, what are the best and worst things about living here?

Cllr Gomez says: “I love everything about Islington, especially the services for young people. It’s an amazing place with so much to keep people off the streets.

“Having said that, there are certain areas that are really dangerous because of gangs, which we know can be a very bad influence on young people here.”

For more information about Islington’s Youth Council, email youthcouncil@islington.gov.uk

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