Teenage councillor sets her sights on road safety after winning seat at election

Rianna D'Souza

Rianna D'Souza - Credit: Archant

Following the Huntingdonshire elections earlier this month, St Ives Town Council has welcomed its youngest member to the body at just 18-years-old.

Rianna D’Souza, an independent representative for St Ives South, won the seventh seat available on May 6 with 927 votes, and already has plans for the town.

“I couldn’t believe it. I was in shock,” she told The Hunts Post.

“It’s a bit of a blur and it’s gone so fast. There are so many ideas I have. I want to bring the town together.” Councillor D’Souza, who studied at Long Road Sixth Form College in Cambridge, took an early interest in politics and decided to get involved after meeting serving councillor Daniel Rowe while working at Budgens in the town.

“I was studying A-Level politics and always had a massive interest in it,” she said.

“I wanted to know more and help out more in my community and to benefit the people and make changes.

“Next thing I was already debating whether to go for town council as I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I decided not to go to university and Cllr Rowe roped me in and I thought, ‘I’m going to do it’. It’s a bit of a blur after that.”

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From there, Cllr D’Souza joined the junior rotary club in St Ives, and now has plans to deal with street lighting and road safety in the town.

“I want to lobby and push to be able to have better lighting. That’s my main focus. It’s a concern of mine because it can cause accidents and now I’ve been elected I have a better understanding of the environment around me and the people of St Ives, and I want to do the utmost to make the changes that I can.”

And she’s determined not to let her age get in the way.

In fact, Cllr D’Souza says more youngsters should get involved in their communities.

“I didn’t think about my age when I started but then I realised that everyone was saying ‘You’re only 18’, but it’s good because there’s a whole age group of adults I can probably represent.

“Even if a young person isn’t going to stand, I definitely suggest they try canvassing. You meet people in the local area and you feel like you’re invested in your community. I’ve written down everything everyone has said to me and I want to try and feed that back.”