Get to know Nicki Adeleke, Co-Women’s Officer of the Young Fabians, who is Labour’s candidate for Ponders End in Enfield, as we continue our Meet the Candidate series in the run-up to the local elections.
Why are you standing to be a councillor in your local community?
I have lived in Enfield since I was a child and I have seen the benefits of a Labour administration, with the delivery of good public services despite the funding cuts from the Tory government.
There is a determination from the current Labour administration to ensure to make the council as diverse as equal, to ensure it is a true representation of our borough, as well as a plan to ensure Enfield is a safe, clean, green and prosperous place to live. Enfield Council is working hard to help put Enfield on the map of London, and I want to be a part of that process.
Across the country, there is a lack of councillors who look like me. Being a young Black woman can often mean you are the only one in the woman with all, or any, of those characteristics when you enter a political meeting or event. As such, I figured the best way to change this was to put myself forward.
Tell us about the ward you are standing in, such as the biggest concerns on the doorstep and what makes it unique.
I am standing in Ponders End, a ward towards the east of the borough of Enfield, which has recently undergone a large housing regeneration scheme, building homes and apartments for residents. This has also attracted a new demographic to the area, mainly people who have been priced out of the inner parts of the city, or people seeking a more suburban area to raise a family. It is a very ethnically diverse community, with large populations of Somali, Bangladeshi, Turkish and Black communities.
The biggest issues that come up on the doorstep are fly-tipping and traffic around the high street area. I aim to work closely with members and community leaders to address these concerns.
How did you find the selection process, and do you think there are ways it can be improved to better support young members?
I had put myself forward for selection before, so I had an idea of what to expect. I was fortunate to have been supported by other councillors in the borough who encouraged me to run. We also had councillors hold sessions for members who were considering putting themselves forward to explain the selection process and expectations around campaigning and engagement.
I think the starting point in supporting members is to encourage them to consider putting themselves forward. It is well known that young people are massively underrepresented on local councils, and whilst we need more young people to put themselves forward, improving representation is more than a tick box exercise. There are plenty of young people who are very capable and qualified to be councillors, but may not have the confidence or knowledge of the system to put themselves forward. Demystifying the process and making people realise their capability is so important in encouraging people to stand.
What do you hope to bring from your experiences within the Young Fabians into local government?
The Young Fabians do amazing work and have some truly progressive policy ideas to bring positive change across the country. I currently sit on the Executive Committee of the Young Fabians and if elected, I hope to bring progressive ideas to the council to benefit the residents and the borough overall.
What would be your advice to Young Fabians who are considering standing for local government?
Running for council is an amazing experience. Knocking on doors and talking to residents about the everyday things that affect their lives, and seeking ways to address their issues, is a truly fulfilling thing to do. It is also a great way to meet community leaders and get involved in your local community. Local government is such a powerful tool that can make a positive difference to people’s lives. It’s a good idea to have a chat with a councillor and ask them any questions you have as well.
Plus if you ever think you’re not up to the job, take a look at the current Tory government- trust me, you are more than up to the job!
How can YF members help your campaign between now and May?
We are in the home stretch of the campaign now and need all the help we can get to get the vote out and ensure we win. We campaign every weekend and run sessions during the week as well. My Twitter handle is @MorenikeAdeleke; drop me a message when you are able to come down and help out.
If you are a Young Fabian standing in the May local elections, please email our Blog Editor Jimmy at [email protected] if you’d be interested in being featured here on the blog.
Background Photo of Blog Header by Philafrenzy via Wikipedia.