Matthew Ryder, Deputy Mayor for Social Integration, Social Mobility and Community Engagement, spent the morning at Barking Abbey School with our team of volunteers who serve as mentors and role models at the school.
The school has been working with City Year since September 2017 and Mr Ryder visited to see the impact of our full-time volunteer mentors on the school and its pupils. The visit was also an opportunity to show how full-time volunteering can have a positive impact on social integration. As Deputy Mayor, Mr Ryder ensures that social mobility is central to the Mayor’s programmes and leads on the promotion of active citizenship across London.
During the visit Mr Ryder spent time with pupils in the games club, had a tour of the school and heard about a volunteer mentor’s typical day in the school, including any particular achievements.
Mr Ryder said: “What’s happening here with City Year UK is a really good example of how you can benefit the school and the students in the school, but you’re also benefiting the people who are taking part in the City Year programme.
“They’re volunteering, they’re taking part, they’re giving up their time to help younger people. It’s a brilliant way of breaking down barriers and getting people job opportunities and work experience that they might not otherwise get, so everybody wins all round.”
Barking Abbey Acting Headteacher Jo Tupman said of the team of City Year volunteers: “They’ve got real strong moral purpose and I think it’s really helped us to realise the value of volunteering. It’s very powerful and for these guys to be these role models for our kids is amazing.”
City Year UK volunteer mentor Leanne Lewis said: “I’ve always wanted to work with young people and this has been a really good experience. Everyone says young people are the future, and that’s the voice we need to keep pushing forwards. If I can be there to encourage them to do better and make them realise that whatever goal they have, they can achieve if they focus in school where it’s all beginning, that’s good with me.”