School youth volunteer scheme has positive impact

By Laura McCardle

| 19 December 2013

A youth volunteering programme has "substantial positive impacts" on participants, independent analysis has shown.

An evaluation of City Year reveals benefits of youth volunteering. Image: City Year

A report by the Institute for Voluntary Research (IVR) looked at how City Year, a school-based support programme, improved young people's readiness for employment, self-esteem and attitudes towards society.

Under the City Year scheme, 18- to 25-year-olds, known as corp members, volunteer in schools for a full academic year, offering vulnerable pupils help with numeracy and literacy skills, advice on building confidence and tackling problem behaviour.

The IVR found that, after volunteering for 140,000 hours in 12 London schools during the 2012/13 academic year, 95 per cent of participants felt better prepared for the world of work.

It also found that 60 per cent of the 108 corp members gained employment after completing City Year, while 35 per cent planned to continue with their education.

Sophie Livingstone, chief executive of City Year, is pleased with the impact the scheme has had on youth volunteers.

She said: “IVR’s report paints a picture of young people that’s very different from the usual portrayal.

“Far from self- or celebrity-obsessed, these young volunteers believe they have a responsibility to their communities and can make a difference to society’s problems.

“They’ve come together to serve a common purpose for a whole year; to support and inspire disadvantaged children to enjoy and do better at school.

“I’m delighted that their commitment and achievements have been recognised by this report – they thoroughly deserve it.”

The IVR assessed the final year of the City Year programme’s three-year pilot in London.

In September the programme was extended to primary and secondary schools in Birmingham.

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