Q&A: My Redbridge

PUBLISHED: 17:00 30 March 2018


Clayhall resident Mahatir Pasha, 21, is general secretary of the Students’ Union at the London School of Economics and co-founder of social justice charity Britain has Class

What is your connection to the borough?

I’ve been living here since I was in Year 5 – so for about 13 years now. I went to Glade Primary School, Caterham High School and Ilford County School at sixth form. It’s part of my identity and has really shaped my experience growing up. While I work in Holborn and commute in, I still live here in Clayhall.

What the best thing about living in the borough?

I think it’s got to be the mix between being a perfect suburb, with relatively open spaces, greenery and big road, and also having that hustle and bustle in areas like Ilford and Gants Hill. I’m based in Clayhall, which is more open. I like that balance between the two.

What one thing would you change?

I think I would make a few more council-funded youth clubs.

It’s quite an affluent area but there’s definitely a gap in the market for youth and community centres for less advantaged children.

While there is certainly a community spirit, it would be good to have a bit of a focus on bringing together the working class communities.

Describe the borough in three words.

Community. Lively. Diverse.

Who is the most inspiring person you know?

It would be my former sixth form teacher at Ilford County High Mr Ashley Pearson. You know there’s always that one guy who goes above and beyond – he was that guy.

He worked overtime to make sure that everyone put in an application to go to university. He pushed us to the point where it was almost annoying. But he wanted us to do well and I really appreciate that – his determination and drive to help students. If it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What new law would you introduce as prime minister?

That’s a big one. There are so many, so many things I would do differently. To pick one, I would do whatever I could to combat the housing crisis in a way that both didn’t hurt current home owners but enabled young people and people from disadvantaged backgrounds to get on to the property ladder. I would build more council housing.

If you were editor of this paper what issues in the borough would you focus on?

Firstly, I would focus on recent burglaries in the area. I would look at why we have seen a spike in burglaries in the borough and some analysis on what are the motivations of the people and where are they coming from. Secondly, I would try and track the level of talent that we produce in the borough.This area is quite good in terms of social mobility I would say. I would see how far people go and see what they end up doing, perhaps on the the national scale.

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