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Kate visits Stretford High with City Year UK

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Kate visited Stretford High on Monday 3 July with youth social action charity City Year UK, to see how the organisation’s full-time volunteers help to tackle educational inequality in her constituency.

Kate Green MP visited Stretford High on Monday 3 July with youth social action charity City Year UK, to see how the organisation’s full-time volunteers help to tackle educational inequality in her constituency.

Kate met with Headteacher Nicola Doward to hear about City Year UK’s impact in the school before taking a tour to see the five full-time volunteers in action. She also met with pupils to hear from them how they benefit from the City Year mentors, and closed the visit with a roundtable with the volunteers to learn how the experience was building their professional skills.

Kate said: “I was delighted to visit Stretford High school to see the City Year UK volunteers in action. I was very impressed by the positive impact they make on students’ wellbeing and attainment. This imaginative project benefits schools, pupils and the volunteers themselves, and I hope many more schools will be able to take advantage of it. I will be asking government ministers what more they can do to support the programme.”

As well as sharing the positive aspects of their experiences volunteering full-time at the school, the volunteer mentors also told Ms Green of some of the difficulties they face, namely the fact that they are classified as NEET (not in education employment or training) by the government and lack a legal status. The MP heard about City Year UK’s political campaign which aims to create a legal status for full-time volunteers to ensure they are fully celebrated and supported to carry out their role.

Volunteer mentor Molly Ryan, 19, said: “Volunteering with City Year UK is an excellent opportunity and has completely transformed my confidence and employability. Full-time volunteering allows you to feel like you’re making a difference every single day, to people who really need that difference in their lives. I'd struggle to think of a reason why people wouldn't want to do that.

“Yet I could easily list a few things that could make doing this easier. More support from the Government to support such as helping with housing, leisure and travel cost could make this fantastic experience more affordable and accessible. With increased promotion and the added benefits of legal status, we could continue to change the lives of the children and young people in our communities in bigger and better ways, for many years to come."

Nicola Doward, Headteacher said: ““The extra resource the City Year team bring allows us target vulnerable pupils who would have otherwise slipped through the net. The pupils they worked with dramatically improved behaviour, progress, attendance and punctuality. However, they didn't just impact on those pupils, they had an impact on the school. One of my pupils told me, in all sincerity, 'Miss, City Year has saved my life!'-I look forward to welcoming another team in September.”

City Year UK challenges 18 to 25-year-olds to tackle educational inequality through a year of full-time voluntary service, supporting pupils in some of the most disadvantaged communities in the UK through mentoring and tutoring. The charity works in London, Greater Manchester and the West Midlands.

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