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Back to Impact report 2022-23

Chair and Chief Executive’s introduction

“As I reflect on this experience, I am reminded of the tremendous impact that one person can have on another’s life…it is the immeasurable growth that occurs when someone feels seen, heard and valued.” – Mariyah, City Year Mentor, 2021-2022 and School Service Leader, 2022-2023

In its 2023 manifesto, the Fair Education Alliance stated: “Our current system isn’t giving young people from all backgrounds the skills employers need and it’s not giving them a positive experience of school either.” Youth social action offers a blueprint for a holistic response. By harnessing the talent and energy of diverse young adults as mentors, coaches and tutors, City Year UK empowers them to tackle educational inequality and bring enjoyment to learning, while serving as a launch pad for their careers. It’s a win-win that builds extra capacity into our stretched schools and gives 18 to 25-year-olds real-world experience, underpinned by training and networking.

In this report, we will look at the difference City Year makes to pupils furthest from opportunity and to young adults about to start work. We’ll share our progress codifying ‘student success coaching’ as an integrated in-school programme and how delivering that coaching provides a skills boost, with implications for improved social mobility, earnings and job and life satisfaction. Last but not least, we will show how our donors, supporters and partners amplify our impact and without whom our programme would not be possible.

Having pioneered youth citizen service in the UK since 2010, our two year pilot with UK Year of Service, offering paid work that pays back, is a perfect example. In the words of its Executive Director, Clara Goldsmith, it demonstrated “the effectiveness of the scheme through a deep understanding of what it means to empower young people to find jobs with purpose.” Thanks to the partnership we’ve been able to employ 31 school service leaders in pivotal roles; creating life changing opportunities vital in the context of the cost of living crisis.

With many young adults worried about the affordability of giving a year, volunteer recruitment has been challenging. In response, we’ve continued to focus on enabling participation and ensuring that the capabilities mentors gain open up new possibilities and transform prospects. This year, we’ve enhanced both our careers pathway and wellbeing programmes, as well as trialled wrap-around support to mentors previously not in education, employment or training (NEET). We were truly honoured to be one of just 20 recipients of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Volunteering Award for our work.

Aged 5 or 25, youth social action builds positive relationships, encourages a growth mindset, gives a sense of belonging, reveals strengths and breaks down barriers to opportunity. Mariyah reflects on “the immeasurable growth that occurs when someone feels seen, heard and valued.” That relationship is reciprocal at City Year UK. It is because our mentors ‘see’ the pupils they support and pupils ‘see’ their mentors that both can achieve their potential.

Yours in service,

Jonathan Beebe, Chair of the Board of Trustees
Kevin Munday, Chief Executive



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