City Leaders

Delivering progressive social action and leadership opportunities to young people across London

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 and leadership programme. Between September 2017 and August 2018 over 250 young people from 30 member organisations take part in a progressive, four stage programme designed to develop and enhance the confidence, networks and leadership skills of participants.

City Leaders is an open access programme, encouraging and enabling young people to take part from backgrounds that would not normally do so. Projects delivered by participating groups are not restricted by 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. 

Funded by:


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?

To register your interest or to talk more about the opportunity, please contact Sophie Hewitt, Youth Action Delivery Manager –


You can read the evaluation of the pilot year of City Leaders here.

You can read the evaluation for 2017/18 here.