City Year takes pride in having a very distinct culture, sense of purpose and a strong identity.

It influences the way we communicate with each other, our behaviour and attitudes towards people and the way we run the organisation.

At the centre of City Year’s idealistic culture is an ever-growing collection of stories and quotations from many cultures and sources. They represent the civic values that guide City Year, set the organisation on course, and remind us of the most fundamental motivations for our work. We invite you to read our founding stories and learn more about the values that serve as the foundation for our work:


Putting Idealism to Work

Putting Idealism To Work (PITW) is a collection of pieces of wisdom, pithy rules of thumb, notes to self, and management top tips that everyone at City Year UK dips into during their spare time, ready to produce and apply the perfect one at the right moment.

Read our PITWs here


Power Tools

City Year corps members learn and practise ‘power tools’ to make their idealism more effective. They build leadership skills, instil confidence and empower corps members and staff. They also help to make City Year the unique organisation that it is, one that consistently impresses and delights anyone who encounters it.


Ripples and joys

What are they? 
A ripple is a brief, inspiring anecdote about an act of idealism; a joy is the sharing of happy news or information.

How do you use them? Sharing ripples and joys puts us in an inspired, positive frame of mind before tackling difficult work, helps us makes a direct connection between our work and positive outcomes, and reminds us that small acts of idealism can have a powerful cumulative effect. They should be the very first agenda item of every meeting or gathering.


Starfish Stories

One of City Year’s founding stories is the Starfish Story.  It highlights how one person can make a difference, and that really matters, but it’s even more powerful to inspire and join with others so that together, you can make a much bigger difference. Over the course of their City Year, every corps member experiences countless mini-breakthroughs with the pupils they support.  Those breakthroughs are their Starfish Stories.