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"We are the future" - PCC's youngest member hopes to inspire next generation into politics.

Councillor Ikra Yasin has represented the Park Ward in Peterborough for the Labour party since 2019 - she was the youngest member at 22 years old to join PCC. 
ikra
Peterborough City Councillor Ikra Yasin hopes to inspire more young people into politics (Picture: Ikra Yasin)

Apart from her councillor role, Ms Yasin is juggling a job and her Master's degree in Law from Nottingham Trent University.  

The 24-year-old has become a popular name, especially among the young people and women from the communities living in the city. She hopes to inspire more people of a younger age to take up public serving roles and be part of the changes they want to see in society. She has strongly spoken up about issues concerning women and vulnerable members of society including domestic abuse. 

Councillor Yasin says she has always had an inclination to take up this role and be there to support communities. She acknowledges each ward in Peterborough comes with its own challenges; in her area and many others, flytipping among other problems is something members are working on.  

All through the lockdown, Ikra has reached out to local businesses and residents to check on them including taxi drivers.  

Talking about her journey so far, Councillor Yasin said: “I have been a member of the Labour party since 2015. My mother unsuccessfully stood in election from the central ward a couple of times recently and I was heavily involved with it. This gave me further encouragement to take this up. 

“I have always wanted to take up a role like this and be there to support communities. People are now recognising me, especially young people and women. They approach me and sometimes even ask why I joined politics. 

“People think politics is a hostile place. It can be at times. 

“But that's what I want to change. I want to change the perspective that you need to be a certain age or colour to be a public servant. You can achieve great things in the world of politics - that's what I want to tell people. I get stopped at times; people want to speak to me.

“I think the role of a councillor is underrated. There’s so much behind the scenes that goes on with meetings and preparations for meetings and homework. I am very fortunate to have such amazing colleagues who are supportive. We meet up often and discuss matters. I was a bit reserved when I became a councillor, especially because of the age difference among us. 

“But I feel like my views and opinions have been respected always and it just shows the team is so inclusive. And I hope people see the positives when they see me in my role. 

“Going forward we need more younger people to come on board. No disrespect to any of my senior colleagues, but my generation is the future of Peterborough and we need more people coming forward and making contributions.  

“Even if I can inspire one person to put their name forward, I think I have done my job. There are so many young people I see and meet that I think 'oh you are going to be great in the chamber,’ irrespective of which party they represent. 

“I am confident person generally. I will put my views forward without hesitation. Things are changing, times are changing. Previously, everyone would vote for the person for whom the elders have voted, but not anymore. 

“My family has been very supportive of my choices. My dad has been encouraging me to put my name forward, and the community and residents in the local area have been so responsive to me, which is very encouraging 

“I am missing the resident interaction due to the lockdown restrictions and the meetings with my colleagues. Zoom is not the same. 

“And it has impacted the mental health of people especially younger people and university students. I feel bad for them and my heart goes out to them. They are missing out on graduation ceremonies and uni years. But hopefully things can resume and we can get towards normality soon.”