City Leaders

London is a fantastic city full of opportunities but for young people growing up here it is not without its challenges. We believe that young people, when given the opportunity and support have the passion, talent and commitment to help us overcome these challenges.

Now in its second year, City Leaders is London Youth’s flagship social action programme. Between September 2017 and August 2018 around 250 young people from over 25 member organisations will take part in a four stage programme designed to develop and enhance the confidence, networks and leadership skills of participants.

City Leaders is an open access programme, enabling young people from groups beyond the ‘usual suspects’ to take part. Projects delivered by participating groups are not restricted in theme, but must display a tangible benefit to other young people and the community at large.

The programme brings together stakeholders from across London, strengthening the city’s voluntary sector by investing in the next generation of civil society leaders. You can read the evaluation of the pilot year of City Leaders here.

  • How does it work?

    We will take groups of young people through three progressive stages, starting from where they are at, and challenging them to further their skills at each stage. Examples below are taken from award winners from the inaugural year of City Leaders


    1. At Team stage, young people work together to run a group activity and learn about teamwork. In 2016/17 Kentish Town Community Centre proved their creativity by arranging a tour of Arsenal stadium, including a coaching session, free of charge, which helped them bond as a team and set a foundation for their future experiences.
    2. At Club stage, young people develop and lead a project to improve the youth organisation they attend. In 2016/17 Activities 4 U put together an inclusive basketball competition bringing young people, youth clubs, partner organisations and community volunteers together regardless of ability or disability. Through reaching out to local organisations the young people managed to get prizes in kind, qualified referees, discounts on healthy food and a DJ for the day. The project demonstrated the power of sport to build friendships and community relationships.
    3. At Community stage young people design their own project to have a positive impact on their local community. They pitch for the resources and support needed to deliver the project at a Dragon’s Den style ‘Community Challenge’ events with City of London partners. In 2016/17, Rathbone identified that there were a substantial number of people living on the streets in West Norwood. They decided to work with a local soup kitchen to research the need and agreed to create a homeless ‘kit bag’ containing a wide range of essential and potentially lifesaving items. The project benefitted 30 local young people experiencing homelessness.
    4. At the final stage, called ‘Futures’, we work directly with a group of 20-25 young people who’ve shown the greatest commitment through the Team, Club and Community Leaders stages of the programme. These aspiring leaders take part in a three month leadership programme tailored to their needs and designed to help them learn about power and influence in London, understand themselves and how to work with others better and develop project planning skills through running their own self-led projects.
  • I'm a London Youth member - how can I get involved?

    We are now at capacity for the 2017/18 programme. If you are interested in taking part in future years, or have any questions, please contact Sophie Hewitt on 0207 549 8817 or email

  • How does it look in action?

    City Leaders is London Youth’s flagship social action programme.

    To give an insight into how the programme works across our members we are following four teams and on their journey through City Leaders this year. With 30 organisations taking part in City Leaders in 2017-18 we hope this will illustrate some of the impressive range in terms of geography, organisation and young people and the exciting work happening across the network.

    We’ll be giving updates across the Team, Club and Community stages and into Future City Leaders to show how the programme works in practise.

    For more information on the programme and stages please visit our City Leaders webpage

    Without further ado…we are delighted to introduce the teams we’ll be following with a little information about the organisation and their take on being a part of City Leaders this year:

    CARAS … is a community outreach charity based in Tooting. They support people of refugee and asylum-seeking background who live in South West London.
    They joined City Leaders to build confidence in decision making among young people for themselves and also the wider community and encouraging them to take lead.
    At the Team Stage the group choose to have a meal at Nandos to get to know each other and talk how they will work together.

    Canaan … work collaboratively with girls and young women in Tower Hamlets, East London, to see them flourish, have broadened horizons and raised aspirations.
    At the Team Stage they went Bowling and had a meal together to help them grow as a team (and enjoy some nice food!)

    Tag Youth… aim to empower and optimise the potential of young people who have a disability between the ages of 15 and 25 who either live, learn or earn in the Royal Borough of Kingston or Richmond, West London.
    They joined City Leaders with the hope it will give young people new skills, build communication and improve confidence.
    At the Team Stage they had a bonding session, playing board games and having pizza.

    Central YMCA… mission is to provide inspiration, education and opportunities for total health in mind, body and spirit working with young people from their base at Tottenham Court Road, central London.
    At the Team Stage they went trampoling to boost team dynamics through physical activity.

    We’ll update you here and through Twitter @LondonYouth #CityLeaders and Instagram on Youth Action team page so keep an eye out for more

Join our mailing list

Join our mailing list to keep in touch and be the first to hear about events and news from London Youth