'I want to see Haringey become a truly collaborative council'
Cllr Peray Ahmet, leader, Haringey Council
- Credit: Rachel Kiki
As someone who has grown up and experienced every kind of emotion being raised in Haringey, it has shaped how I see things and how I want see things done as the new leader.
Haringey is a unique borough with a diverse community and the coronavirus pandemic truly highlighted what a special community we have as everyone rallied together to ensure we came through one of the toughest battles we have ever witnessed.
As we start to return to normality there is still a huge amount to be done in the months and years to come.
Hopefully, the pandemic has created a legacy of cooperation and shown that the appetite for a very different approach is there, one where we co-design what the council does with people.
We need a council that knows its residents, that listens – really listens – and collaborates with them because it wants to, not because it feels like it has to.
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We’re not here to do things to or for people – we’re here to work with them to make things happen. I want to see Haringey become a truly, genuinely collaborative council. It’s how we’ll achieve the kind of change we were elected for.
My administration will be looking into a number of key areas, but one of the major issues is how we tackle climate change, and this will be led by Cllr Mike Hakata.
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We are in the midst of a climate, biodiversity and environmental emergency. The people of Haringey have made it clear how high a priority this is for them.
The council has published its blueprint for addressing this crisis at the municipal level, committing the council to being zero carbon by 2027 and the borough by 2041.
But, in order to achieve this, we need to take bold and sweeping action. This will involve prioritising sustainable transport, retrofitting our estates, building houses to the highest environmental standards, securing cleaner and cheaper sources of energy for residents and businesses, protecting wildlife, and empowering communities to produce green solutions to local issues – to give just some examples.
Tackling climate change will require a joint and community-led effort across the whole of the borough. I am confident that this administration will meet the challenge.
Another big area that I will be addressing is early years and as a parent of a young child and a working mum in the borough, I understand first-hand the challenges parents face and wants to put children’s life chances at the heart of my administration.
Getting that right is why I got into this. My own daughter was born during the pandemic, just over a year ago now.
I know what the parents of children in lockdown have been up against and how much they need a council that listens and works with them.
A collaborative way of doing business starts there – with a seamless offer for early years and under 5s – which Cllr Zena Brabazon will be leading from our side.
I will make sure that every child in Haringey is able to get off to a great start in life, and that the services and support are there in borough for them and their parents.
With that, genuine, transformative change is possible.
I look forward to working with and hearing from our residents over the coming weeks and months and help implement the changes they are looking for.
Cllr Peray Ahmet (Lab, Noel Park) is the leader of Haringey Council.