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Mayor's Fund For London
30 Nov 2017

“The Children’s Charter” – a poem complied by Joelle Taylor

Over a thousand schoolchildren from across the capital have been considering how they would make the world’s greatest city even better if they were “Mayor for the Day” as part of the London Children’s Festival, in partnership with the BE OPEN Foundation and, the Children’s Commissioner for England and delivered by A New Direction.

Focusing on Mayoral priorities such as: ‘Jobs, Skills and Education’, ‘Environment, Health and Food’, ‘Crime, Safety and Travel’ and ‘Housing, Play and Public Spaces’, children and young people, aged nine to 14, across eight schools have been looking at how they connect to and interpret these themes and have come up with their own ideas to make the city a better place for all.

On 1 December 2017, 250 pupils convened at City Hall, for the Festival’s culmination event – for a presentation of their thoughts and ideas to representatives of the Mayor’s Office, the Greater London Authority, and the Children’s Commissioner for England.

Spoken-word artist, Joelle Taylor, created this poem which weaves together all the issues and solutions raised by the young people involved.

Following the Festival, the young peoples’ ideas and the poem will feed into the development of a new London Children’s Charter by the Mayor’s Fund for London.  The London Children’s Charter will help to advocate, influence and prioritise what young Londoners feel passionate about, and inform policy makers about what matters to the next generation.

Download the London Children’s Festival Poem here.


In London

there are more children

than pigeons

So when a child speaks

the city must listen.

Our voices/ are ballot boxes.

If I was

Mayor for Day

I would

Ban all traffic from the city for one day a week

Have cars prohibited from every other street

Decree parts of our city pedestrianised;

It would revolutionise

Our approaches to fitness and exercise

If we had a running lane

Or brought the inside outdoors

Set up vast computer parks with interactive grass floors

A virtual work out web

Where the city can get fitter step by step

And treadmills power digital screens

And every child can meet safely to pursue digital dreams

And children from different streets can join together in teams

And the trees are decorated with solar powered lights

And music is activated by touch, connected by satellites

to bus shelters, Tube stations and all communal places

as a basic civil right

(people who play together rarely fight).

We should introduce more humour to rush hour

print jokes on the walls of the Underground

so that every heart flowers,

I would

Reward people with jokes for recycling rubbish

And the names of those who recycle the most should be published

and honoured:

They are the way forward –

Build something beautiful out of something discarded.

If I was

Mayor for a Day

I would

Invest in healthy eating for our children

We could have role reversal in our kitchens

Provide youth-friendly websites with advice on nutrition

Including kids’ recipes, and good foods from around the globe

Swap the settee for a skipping rope

Make sure every household has a bicycle

An independent healthy means of travel

And a safe lane for children to use on the roads

Free movement throughout all London postcodes

I’d provide every urban conurbation with a vast geophysical

technological garden

Where people can meet and breathe

I’d sow seeds across concrete streets

Grow tomatoes up tower blocks and plant vegetables in thick rows

In the laybys at the sides of pedestrianised roads –

Every borough should have its own farm

So we can learn to live on this planet without causing any more harm

And we work together toward becoming more self sufficient

And connected with the natural environment

I would create more water features, plant more trees

To attract seed scattering birds and pollinating bees

I’d provide

Filters on street corners

So people with asthma

Can begin to breathe better

And find a way of reducing the city’s pollution

A meeting of minds, of industry and academic institutions

to create a lasting solution;

If I was

Mayor for a Day

I would

Tackle school yard bullies

I’d give everyone a safe space to speak freely

Have presentations on hate crime in school assemblies;

I would work to build a safer community

Where people aren’t scared to be alone in the city

I would try to understand the causes of criminality,

That perhaps gangs are a consequence of a poor economy;

You see

We the children believe

That crime is caused by poverty

And we are wondering how this could be in such a beautiful and shining


Populated by the world’s wealthy?

We ask that every human has a place to live

That every human has enough to eat

That we don’t have to walk to school past people huddled on our


they once were our neighbours.

As a matter of priority I would return our youth centres

I would provide us with our own means to exploring youth cultures

A recording studio, a rehearsal space, a pool table

So that every child feels able

to grow toward the sun –

I would award self-determination back to the young.

I would try to build safer neighbourhoods

With street parties, street debates, street dinners and fêtes

So everyone feels understood –

London is the home of multiculturalism

So we should draw on our great history of migration

To draw together the city’s population:

Provide centres where new arrivals can meet with the city’s youth

Refuges and safe spaces, places of welcome where they can be


and walk into the future as one.

We should all feel free to practise our religions

We could have one centre in every borough for the practice of every


A peaceful meeting ground, a spiritual escape:

A church can be a synagogue

A temple can also be a mosque

If we all shared the same building

If we all worked toward religious freedom

Adults would be more like the city’s children.

This our Children’s Charter

a 21st century Magna Carta

This our Children’s Charter

a 21st century Magna Carta

this is our Children’s Charter

this is our Children’s



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