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Visit to City Year UK team in Surrey Square Primary School


Neil Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, today visited Surrey Square Primary School to see how young people volunteering with youth social action charity City Year UK are making a difference to the lives of its pupils.

Neil met with Co-headteacher Liz Robinson and pupils to hear about the impact City Year volunteers have had on the school.

Following a tour and a chance to see the volunteers in action, the local MP took part in a roundtable discussion with the young volunteers to understand what motivates them to give a year of full time voluntary service and how they support the school and its pupils.

This is the third year Surrey Square have been in partnership with City Year UK, with the school benefiting from the service of  six full-time volunteers.

Neil said: “I am very pleased to have visited Surrey Square Primary School, which is doing great work with young people in the heart of my constituency.

“City Year UK is a fantastic charity that helps both volunteers and students develop those core skills that will help them succeed in their lives. It was great to see the tremendous impact they are having in Surrey Square and just how valued their presence is by staff and pupils alike. The commitment I’ve seen from City Year’s volunteers at Surrey Square has been inspirational.  They have proved themselves an invaluable resource to the school and community.”

Liz Robinson, Surrey Square Primary Co-headteacher, said: “Surrey Square is delighted to partner with City Year UK. Their commitment to developing young people both as volunteers and in terms of students they work with totally display our aims as a school. Their energy and focus adds a layer of pastoral and academic support across the school. It was brilliant that Neil came to see it in action today.”

Sophie Livingstone, Chief Executive of City Year UK, said: “We are thrilled that Neil Coyle MP could visit Surrey Square Primary today to see the impact our inspirational volunteers are having. We are incredibly proud of our continued partnership with the school. We believe that young people can change the world – they just need the opportunity.  The service we’re providing at Surrey Square provides just a snapshot of our work.  We now have over 150 corps members volunteering in 24 schools, supporting 14,300 students in London, Birmingham and Greater Manchester.”


About City Year UK

City Year UK is a youth social action charity which challenges 18 to 25-year-olds to tackle educational inequality through a year of full-time voluntary service. 

As mentors, tutors and role models in schools, they support pupils growing up in some of the most deprived areas in the UK. The City Year experience empowers these exceptional and diverse young people to realise their aspirations and develop as leaders through their service in the classroom and first class training, coaching and networking.

The volunteers wear distinctive red jackets, provide classroom support and one-to-one tuition, supervise break times and organise breakfast and after-school activities.  They aim to help children enjoy school, improve behaviour and encourage academic achievement.

As well as a rewarding and invaluable experience, the volunteers benefit from the chance to develop skills transferable to future careers, such as communication, organisation, project management and leadership.

To find out more, watch the short animation here

City Year was first established in Boston, Massachusetts in 1988 and operates in 27 cities across America, as well as Johannesburg in South Africa.


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