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City Year UK Reception at the House of Commons


On Thursday 13 July, The Rt Hon. Lord Blunkett hosted a reception on behalf of City Year UK in the Churchill Room at the House of Commons. Bringing together City Year Mentors, staff, our supporters and other guests, this was the perfect opportunity to celebrate the successes of the past year and reflect on the lessons learned.

Themed around the notion of investing in young people, the reception shone a spotlight on City Year’s partnerships with like-minded organisations, such as NCS and UK Year of Service. Lord Blunkett, delivering a keynote address, shared insights from his recent landmark report on learning and skills. Additionally, City Year CEO Kevin Munday and Stephen Greene CBE, CEO of RockCorps, shared remarks.

For the past two years, City Year UK has been working with NCS and 13 other national charities to help develop the concept of a ‘UK Year of Service’. By putting young people into paid work that pays back, we can unlock the power of the next generation and support communities which are most in need.

Kevin Munday echoed: “City Year has for 13 years been demonstrating the potential of a service year in schools, similar to what already exists in France, Germany and America. By bringing together partners from across the public, private and social sectors we are aiming to create a space for meaningful conversations and explore how we can have a collective impact. We hope the political parties as they develop their manifestos for the next election recognise the power of the next generation to help, putting them into paid work that pays back helping communities where the needs are greatest.”

Mariyah Rehman shared her personal journey, highlighting the important impact near-peer mentoring and completing a year of service has had on her life. Her City Year experience began two years ago when she joined as a volunteer, and Mariyah has since become a School Service Leader with UK Year of Service.

Bringing her speech to a close, Mariyah said: “As I reflect on this experience, I am reminded of the tremendous impact that one person can have on another’s life. It is not just the academic progress she made, the improvement in her confidence. It is the immeasurable growth that occurs when someone feels seen, heard, and valued.”

City Year Mentors Mushtaq Hassan and Anya Hazzard-Richards shared their experiences of volunteering and supporting pupils who are furthest from opportunity. Mushtaq expressed: “When talking about my year, I would describe it with one word and that is spirit. Spirit is typically defined as ‘quality of temperament enabling one to hold one’s own or keep up one’s morale when opposed or threatened’. For me that’s how my year was, I actively sought spirit when my morale was low. I looked for positives in each negative and I continued and stayed resilient when it was needed.”

Many thanks to City Year UK’s patron, Lord Blunkett, for hosting this reception on our behalf – and to all our guests and supporters who joined us for the evening. Together, we continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of young people and communities throughout the United Kingdom.

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