A YOUNG councillor, who is keen to get voters of the future interested in their community, is a candidate in ROI Cambridgeshire Young People of the Year Awards.
Samantha Hoy (24) is the youngest county councillor in Cambridgeshire and also deputy leader of Wisbech Town Council, and is keen to listen to the views of people not yet old enough to vote as well as those who can.
She was nominated by fellow Conservative county councillor Steve Tierney, who said: “A local leader and community champion, Samantha is proving that youth is no barrier to local democracy.”
Nominations for the awards have now closed. YOPEY recognises and rewards young people who are positive role models and give to others. After being nominated, Samantha is in with a chance to win a cash prize from a pot of £2000.
Samantha was elected to Wisbech North ward in April last year. This covers Waterlees, which is the most deprived ward in the whole of the county. She became a town councillor the previous year.
Steve said that Samantha has been a champion of the Waterlees Adventure Playground, a million pound development designed to help young people in that area.
Samantha has organised residents’ meetings to help reassure them in the wake of concern about the playground.
“She has also set up a Friends of Waterlees Park group to make sure that local residents and users are represented in a positive way,” said Steve.
Steve said that Samantha not only engages people through surgeries - when she hires meeting rooms and halls out of her own pocket - but through newsletters and social media.
Samantha is the founder and chair of the Fens Conservative Future branch, which aims to encourage and facilitate young people becoming more involved in politics.
But in order not to be partisan Samantha has encouraged young supporters of all parties and of none to get involved and join debates and events.
Samantha has recently initiated and chairs a county council-led review, which will look into the serious issue of domestic violence.
She is a governor at Nene Infants’ School in Wisbech and a trustee of the Bowthorpe Association, a mental health charity.
Samantha has a part-time job in a fashion retailer and is studying social policy at Anglia Ruskin University.
Said Samantha: “I really enjoy my life in politics and doing something positive for the community, particularly young people who often get a bad media image.
“Sometimes it can be frustrating when I can’t get things done as quickly as I would like. But it’s really rewarding things turn out all right.”
Organisations across Cambs are supporting this year’s YOPEY contest, including from Fenland ROI in March and Hutchinsons in Wisbech.