Search

Hackney’s youngest councillor Mete Coban talks about ‘rebranding politics’

15:51 17 October 2016

Cllr Mete Coban. (Picture: Diane Patrice)

Cllr Mete Coban. (Picture: Diane Patrice)

Archant

Emma Bartholomew catches up with Hackney’s youngest councillor – Mete Coban, who was just 21 when he won his seat in Stoke Newington.

"My father said this country gave us a helping hand and I should get into politics to give back to the community"

Mete Coban

Mete Coban’s energy and commitment is nothing short of inspirational.

At the tender age of 24 he’s already set up his own youth engagement charity, been elected as a councillor, talent spotted for Arsenal and Southampton, and got engaged.

Mete was encouraged to get into politics by his father when he was 14 “to give back to the community”, after his family moved over to the UK from Cyprus so his brother could get medical treatment.

“He said this country gave us a helping hand,” said Mete, who grew up on Downs Estate. “He didn’t tell me which party to join.”

Mete joined the Labour party and ran a youth engagement project at Labour HQ in the run up to the 2010 election, when he met Gordon Brown at Downing Street.

He began to question why young people don’t participate more in elections, and created My Life My Say – which is now a national charity – to “rebrand politics”, and “overcome the misconception” it isn’t relevant to everyday life.

“When you say ‘politics’ to a young person – or anyone – the first thing you think about is Westminster and MPs,” explained Mete.

“But what we are trying to get people to understand is it can mean anything to you – whether you want your train service to run on time or whether the person making the coffee is getting fair pay.”

He decided to run as a councillor when he clocked the average age was 61.

He found as a younger candidate you have to “prove yourself more”.

“The most humbling thing about being elected – and now when I think about it it gives me goose bumps – was the fact people can give me that level of trust at that age,” he said. “It’s really special.”

The most rewarding thing he has found is helping tenants who may be facing eviction. “Knowing you can help someone stay in the borough and seeing them smile as they walk out is the best feeling. Issues like these things lead to the break up of marriages,” he said.

But he doesn’t see politics as a career: “I do it out of love for my community and because I want to make a difference. If you’re selected as an MP it’s about whether people see you right for it, not whether you see yourself as right.”

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hackney Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hackney Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hackney Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Hackney News Stories

18:20

A woman abused children by forcing soap down their throat, holding their hands over a cooker and sticking burning paper down their trousers, a court heard today.

Zeka Alsancak and his fellow Turkish Cypriots set up a community centre in Hackney 40 years ago. The Gazette joins him looking back

Shoreditch High Street was evacuated during rush hour after reports a suspected unexploded bomb from the Second World War had been found.

09:08

Two hundred anti-fascist protesters flocked to Kingsland Road on Saturday morning to march against the controversial LD50 art gallery.

A public fight involving a “meat cleaver” left a man in hospital with a serious head injury and “pools of blood” trailing up Kingsland High Street yesterday afternoon.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Dalston art gallery chief at the centre of a national “neo-Nazi” storm says she publicly linked LD50 to an apparent alt-right Twitter account because it was “funny”.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Hackney’s independent traders joined business experts at a campaign summit this morning to discuss the crippling impact of the government’s planned business rate increase.

Friday, February 24, 2017

A car has flipped in Green Lanes this morning, closing the road near Clissold Park.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists