Press release

City Year’s role models win Big Society Award

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

City Year, a group of 18-25 year-old volunteers working as role models, mentors and tutors in London schools have won a Big Society Award.

The organisation recently announced a strategic partnership with Credit Suisse that will help City Year expand to Birmingham – the first step towards expansion to other cities around the UK.

The ‘corps members’ that volunteer with City Year support disadvantaged children by running breakfast clubs, after-school activities and providing additional classroom support, to help them improve their academic performance and attendance.

Every corps member is allocated a small group of pupils to mentor, helping them to improve their grades at school and inspiring them to aim higher. They work primarily in schools within areas of deprivation, where a high percentage of pupils receive free school meals. The aim is to tackle inequalities in attainment between rich and poor children and to reduce the number of young people that are not in education, employment or training.

The initiative supported 6,000 children last year, and has also been successful in transforming the career chances of those volunteers that take part, with 95% of corps members going on to secure a job, or place in higher education after taking part.

Commenting on the award Prime Minister David Cameron said:

Not only does this scheme help thousands of children to achieve their aspirations; it also helps the volunteers taking part to get on in their careers.

I am delighted to award City Year with a Big Society Award in recognition of their achievements, and pleased too, to see that they will be able to expand their work across the UK through their strategic partnership with Credit Suisse.

City Year London CEO, Sophie Livingstone, said:

We are thrilled that the efforts of our young volunteers have been recognised with this Big Society Award.

There are currently 112 corps members in London dedicating huge amounts of time and energy in schools as mentors and role models to support some of the most disadvantaged children in the UK.

This award gives credit to their inspirational work and supports our belief that young people really can change the world. 2013 is another important year as we grow to Birmingham.

Notes to editors

For images see the City Year London Flickr photostream.

For more information contact:

Alex Lowen: Email: Phone: 020 7014 2697 Website:

Laura Piscaer - Big Society Awards Phone: 020 7845 5895

On the Big Society Awards

The Big Society Awards were set up by the Prime Minister in November 2010. The aim is to acknowledge individuals and organisations across the UK that demonstrates the Big Society in their work or activities. In so doing, the aim is also to galvanise others to follow.

The award focuses upon three specific areas:

Outstanding contribution to community

  • people, projects and organisations that enable communities to drive change themselves
  • projects and organisations that allow the community to identify solutions
  • people, projects and organisations that inspire others to contribute to their community

Improving lives and society through innovation, collaboration and new partnerships

  • people and organisations taking new approaches to public services
  • successful collaboration and partnerships between public, private and voluntary sector - working together to benefit communities

Engaging in social action

  • people, projects and organisations taking action in their community
  • working together for social change (eg through creating groups, campaigns, movements)
  • generosity of time, money, skills and other resources – in support of social action

Launching the awards, the Prime Minister said:

There are some amazing projects and remarkable voluntary work going on in towns and cities up and down the country, by all kinds of organisations from large enterprises to tiny grassroots schemes and inspirational individuals.

These awards are a chance to pay tribute to those making a valuable contribution to their community, the real champions of the Big Society, but perhaps more importantly, I hope they will motivate many others to take action, get involved and drive change in their area.

Nominations come in from the general public after which there follows a process of scoring and short-listing by civil servants and a further short-listing by a panel of ministers and independent external experts. This panel makes recommendations to the Prime Minister who makes the final decisions about who to make the award to. Twelve winners are decided each quarter meeting and then announced once a week throughout the year.

75 winners have been announced to date, including:

Lifeline Community Projects - LCP developed a new model providing public services that brings people in the community together and offers valuable volunteering opportunities.

Linklaters LLP ‘Learn for Work’ - an international scheme which Linklaters runs in 16 countries working with over 7,500 children in 80 schools. In Hackney the firm is now running its second 3-year scheme, with each scheme being backed by £1 million in funding. Every year over 400 staff give 3,500 hours of their time to support 2,500 young people in more than 50 schools.

Action Acton - helps disadvantaged individuals get education, training, self-employment and jobs. They help 3,000 people a year in west London.

For a full list of winners visit the Big Society Award website.

To nominate an organisation, group, project or an individual for an award complete the Big Society Awards nomination form.