City Year UK’s Volunteers Week Blog

Our extraordinary volunteers are at the heart of City Year UK’s mission of transforming the educational outcomes of disadvantaged pupils. We currently have 126 volunteer mentors, aged 18-25, committing to a year of full-time voluntary service in 21 schools across London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.

Our volunteers give one-to-one tuition, in-classroom support, and run extra-curricular activities. They build trusted relationships with and are role models to ‘focus list’ pupils, those most in need of additional support. They inspire pupils to see the value in learning, build their self-esteem and gain traits such as responsibility and ambition.

City Year volunteers can be seen in schools in their distinctive red jackets

In the words of one Year 9 pupil to her volunteer mentor at Rose Bridge Academy in Manchester, “before you ran Breakfast Club I was always angry in the morning, but since you have been here I feel better…I don’t know what I would do without you”. A former headteacher at a partner school echoed this, saying that “City Year always find the hidden children our teachers miss. This is why City Year is amazing”.

Our volunteers go far beyond their activities in school. We are proud to take our volunteers to meet with MPs, to party conferences and Parliament to ‘rep the red’ and share their perspective on the invaluable contribution they make to society. This year, volunteers led a community sustainability project that engaged our corporate supporters. The project involved the transformation of garden space for SEN pupils to enjoy.

Our volunteers also benefit from support from a professional bridge builder mentor from a corporate partner and weekly leadership develop days on public speaking, problem-solving and teamwork. Over 90% of our volunteers moved into education, employment or training within 3 months of finishing.

To show our appreciation for our amazing volunteers, in February we held our inaugural Volunteer Mentor Appreciation week. This week involved a number of activities and giveaways, such as free vouchers to use at Tortilla, coffee mornings and breakfast baskets.

The week culminated in a ‘service day’ that involved the community sustainability project mentioned above. As our Chief Executive, Kevin Munday, stated at the time, “We wouldn’t be here without our volunteer mentors and we want to show them just how much we appreciate their efforts. I hope they enjoy the week, they’ve earned it and much more”.

Every day, our volunteers reaffirm our belief in the power of young people. As we enter our 10th year, all 943 of them have collectively given over 1,500,000 hours of service. Our volunteers are not just at the heart of our mission, we simply could not exist without them, and we want them to always know how much we appreciate them for what they do.

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