City Year UK is built on the idea that through 'a year of service’ or full-time social action (FTSA), all young people should have the chance to tackle social issues and develop their own skills at the same time. Read about our wider commitment to social action, the international context and our campaign for recognition in the UK.
Alongside their full-time social action in schools, our volunteer mentors also lead social action in their local communities to support other causes they care about. They might be involved in anything from collections for local food banks, or homeless charities to sprucing up a community garden or play area.
“Social action doesn't have to be this massive task that is so far out of reach, I've learnt to stop looking for reasons not to do things and look for reasons to do things.”
FTSA in other countries
In America, France and Germany, where Governments have created national FTSA programmes, hundreds of thousands of young people take part every year, investing millions of hours into diverse areas of public life ranging from education, health and social care to sport and disaster relief. They’ve demonstrated a positive impact on public service provision, youth employment, career exploration, social integration and civic engagement.
What about the UK?
While the UK Government supports FTSA for young people serving abroad in the International Citizenship Service (ICS), there is currently no Government support for young people serving at home. We work with organisations from across the sector to champion FTSA and have led the campaign to fight for greater recognition and rights for our volunteer mentors.
"Everyone told me to volunteer abroad but it was expensive and I really wanted to improve my own community. Then I came across City Year - I could tackle inequality at home and they'd support me financially. Much more must be done to recognise FTSA in the UK. Then more people like me would do it."
Join our social action journey
Our vision is of a society where all children are inspired to believe in themselves and supported to excel by a generation of young people whose commitment to a year of social action or 'voluntary service' is universally respected. See how you could be a part of it.Get Involved