On Thursday 14th January, the City Mayor of Salford, Ian Stewart, and Councillor Jane Hamilton visited Summerville Primary School to see how City Year UK is challenging young people to make a difference to pupils’ lives and their own.
City Year Greater Manchester was launched last autumn and gives 18-25 year olds the opportunity to volunteer for a year in schools in Salford and Manchester as role models, mentors and tutors. At the same time, the City Year experience helps them realise their own aspirations and grow as leaders, both through their impact on children’s lives and training, coaching and career development opportunities, supported by local businesses.
The City Mayor met with head teacher, Joanne Jordan, and the team of seven City Year volunteers at the school, including Yasmin Slattery, 21, and Pascale Thobois, 18, to find out more about the programme.
Joanne Jordan, head teacher at Summerville Primary School, said: “City Year has had a positive impact at Summerville Primary School. They support our pupils’ learning and emotional wellbeing. The volunteers enhance the inclusive ethos of our school and the children and staff love them. It was brilliant that Ian Stewart was able to come and see them in action today.”
Yasmin and Pascale gave an insight into why they’d signed up and how they’ve benefitted. Yasmin said: “I applied for City Year during my final year at University when I realised that all of the experience I had for my CV was academic. City Year has provided me not only with the chance to gain experience working with young people in education, but to gain many other skills. I’m only half-way through, but I already feel more prepared for my life after City Year.”
Pascale added: “The aim to empower disadvantaged students resonated very strongly with me. Moving from one country to another at the age of eight, England may as well have been another planet. Luckily I had support in school to help me. This aspect of City Year – helping willing but struggling students – is something I’m passionate about and something I tell everybody who is willing to listen. Furthermore, City Year genuinely cares about me and what I want to do next. That is something I will treasure for years to come.”
The City Mayor also heard how, building on early success at Summerville Primary, a new team of five City Year volunteers have just started at a second Salford school, Mossfield Primary. Its head teacher, Dave Magee, said: “I’m delighted that City Year has come to Mossfield Primary School and the fantastic impression they have made thus far. They will play a vital role in helping our students with their learning and will also have a positive pastoral impact through their unique role as mentors to school pupils. I’m really looking forward to seeing the impact that the volunteers will make as the year goes on.”
Commenting on his visit, Ian Stewart said: “I want to see Salford expand the first-class opportunities available for its young people and City Year Greater Manchester is a great example. This programme is supported by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in America and was introduced to South Africa by Nelson Mandela. Now I’ve seen it for myself, I understand why. The enthusiasm of its volunteers to change young lives and make the most of their City Year is infectious. I look forward to seeing more schools, young people and businesses in Salford come together through this exciting initiative to improve the prospects of the next generation. I wish we had an organisation like City Year in every school.”
Applications are now open for 12-month youth volunteering opportunities with City Year Greater Manchester, in Salford and Manchester, starting in August 2016. There are also a limited number of shorter-term placements available for this academic year. For further information please email the City Year Greater Manchester recruitment team: manchesterrecruitment@