A role model and mentoring programme that is backed by US president Barack Obama is rolling out to schools in Birmingham.
The City Year programme is already established in London after being brought to the UK from America in 2010.
The programme recruits young adults aged 18 to 25 and places them in mentoring roles in inner city schools for a year. This year, 112 volunteers were placed in schools in the capital, supporting more than 6,000 children.
The expansion to Birmingham will see 50 young adult mentors recruited to support 4,000 pupils, including intensive support for the most vulnerable 400. From September, City Year recruits will be working at Golden Hillock School and Parkfield Community School with up to three other school partnerships to be developed.
The ambition is to expand City Year to reach 50,000 children across five UK cities by 2020.
Each City Year volunteer is allocated a small group of pupils to mentor, for example to help them catch up on their studies or to improve their behaviour.
The programme was founded in America where it now has around 2,000 volunteers working across 24 cities. President Obama is among the supporters of City Year, famously wearing the red jacket uniform and volunteering alongside recruits at national service events.
City Year chief executive, Sophie Livingstone said: “Local voluntary, public and private sectors have been extremely supportive about our ambition to create a ‘City Year Birmingham’ base. The encouragement we have received from Birmingham’s education professionals, youth groups, councillors, MPs and business leaders has been amazing.”
Shabana Mahmood, MP for the Ladywood ward of Birmingham, said: “I have been very impressed by how City Year recruits idealistic young people to act like big brothers and sisters to support the children most at risk of underachieving. I think City Year can have a really big impact in Birmingham.”
The City Year national programme is to be supported by Credit Suisse. For details, visit www.cityyear.org.uk
CAPTION: Public service: City Year volunteers in London celebrate the start of their year at a special reception (left). A London City Year volunteer works with secondary students (right)