A Year 11 student at Saint Benedict Catholic Voluntary Academy has been appointed as Derby’s new Youth Mayor.

Sam Thiruvathilil, 16, said he was thrilled to win the vote and hopes to make a real difference during his one-year tenure.

The teenager heard about the opportunity to become Derby’s Youth Mayor at school and decided to submit an application.

He had to outline three areas in which he wanted to make an impact and he said they were mental health, job opportunities and advocating for the rights of young people.

Sam was invited to give a speech in front of Derby’s Youth Council and councillors and this was recorded and sent to schools across Derby, along with three other candidates. Students across the city were then asked to vote and Sam came out on top.

He said: “I was really pleased when I found out I’d won the vote. As part of the role I have to attend Derby City Council cabinet meetings, there will be meetings with the people in charge of services for children in the city and I also have to assist the Mayor. There will also be lots of events where I will be representing young people.

“The three main areas I would like to focus on are improving job opportunities for young people in the city, mental health and advocating for young people’s rights in schools. I will be looking to make small changes which will hopefully all lead to bigger changes.”

Sam officially starts his new role in May and will be supported by a Deputy Youth Mayor.

He said: “A lot of my time is taken up with council meetings and it will depend on how much I can take on but I’m focused and determined and I’m looking forward to it.”

Mrs Boyce, Headteacher at Saint Benedict, congratulated Sam on his achievement.

She said: “We are thrilled Sam has been elected as Derby’s Youth Mayor. It is a reflection of his hard work and passion and a very proud moment for Saint Benedict.”