Yardley MP Jess Phillips visited Yardley Primary School with the youth social action charity City Year UK to see how the organisation’s full-time volunteers help to tackle educational inequality in the local area.
Jess, whose mother attended Yardley Primary, met with Deputy Headteacher Melisa Louca to hear about City Year UK’s impact in the school before taking a tour to see the eight 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.
Jess Phillips MP said:
"It was great to see the amazing work that the full-time volunteers at City Year UK have been doing in Yardley Primary School for the past two years. The charity’s commitment to helping our community and to developing the skills of local kids to make the most of their talents is brilliant."
"However despite the hours they have devoted to helping local kids at Yardley, and others like them across the West Midlands, they aren't even receiving the most basic support they deserve from the Government. I look forward to working with City Year UK to put this right."
Mariyam Bibi, volunteer mentor, said:
“It has been a privilege to volunteer with City Year UK. I’ve been able to my practical skills and provide the next generation with a better chance to fulfill their potential, which is an incredible feeling."
“The only negative is that I feel the type of volunteering we do is ignored by the Government. To be classed as a NEET and having no legal status is demoralising and has a practical impact on my life. It means I lose a year of my pensions eligibility and can’t receive expenses when I’m ill - which is an obvious consequence of serving in a school. Surely the Government should be doing everything they can do support young people who want to volunteer full-time to improve their community?”
Melisa Louca, Deputy Headteacher, said:
"This is the second year City Year UK has worked with Yardley Primary and we are extremely proud of what we've been able to achieve together."
"The City Year UK volunteers have played an integral part in the social, emotional and academic progress of our pupils and at the same time have grown and developed enormously while they’ve been in the school. We look forward to welcoming the charity back into our school again next year."