After winning a recent by-election, Royal Holloway student Natasha Lavender has become a local authority councillor for Windsor and Maidenhead Council; she is the youngest in the borough and one of the youngest in the country.
Natasha, 21, in her fourth year at the College and is studying European Studies, which she says has equipped her with ‘knowledge essential for successfully engaging in the political sphere, as well as the ability to confidently analyse, critique and question what’s going on in the world of politics and IR through learning theories, debating papers and class discussions’.
After the resignation of Conservative Councillor Richard Gard in October, Miss Lavender beat ten other candidates to run for the seat for Park Ward in the event of a by-election. In the poll last month, Miss Lavender received 637 votes, beating the Liberal Democrat candidate Richard Fagence, 64, who served as a councillor and cabinet member between 1997 and 2007.
When Miss Lavender was chosen to run for the position by the party, she had to begin canvassing as soon as the election was announced; something which she stated “took a lot of hard work” and involved campaigning in Windsor six evenings a week from October to January, despite the snow and ice of the winter. She said: “It obviously paid off. I was thrilled when they called out my name to say I had won.”
Natasha has been interested in politics and current affairs since the age of 15 after reading newspapers and watching the news. Whilst studying for her A-levels she was elected by her peers to be Windsor’s Member of the UK Youth Parliament and two years ago joined the Windsor Conservative Association after becoming increasingly interested in and making the decision to actively participate in politics.
She stated: “I was inspired to stand for this position because I firmly believe we as a country need young people who are passionate about politics to get involved, bring change, act justly and set higher standards in politics. I hope to stand for Parliament one day and be a young MP – we need young people with experience to work in both local and national government.”
Natasha’s duties as a local authority councillor will be to represent the whole community and to back up the needs of the constituents within her ward. She may be involved with planning applications, licensing and regulatory decision making and policy overview.