City Leaders

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

Young leader at training sessionNow in it’s fifth year, our flagship social action programme takes teams of young people and provides the support and structure for them to build their team work skills, create opportunities in their youth organisations and pitch for funding for community projects on issues important to them.

City Leaders is an open access programme, encouraging and enabling young people to design and deliver a project or campaign on a issue that is important to them and within their community.

“…allowing young people to lead and take full ownership of something in a way that may be difficult to do with other projects.”

Youth worker, City Leaders group 2019/20 

“…on the programme I discovered what I want to do in the future”

Young person, City Leaders group 2019/20

Funded by:       


How does it work?

We will train member organisations to  take groups of young people through three progressive stages, starting from where they are at, and challenging them to further develop their skills at each stage. The stages are outlined here. Examples of projects below are taken from the previous year of City Leaders.

  1. At Team Stage, young people work together to run a group activity and learn about teamwork. This year most of the group started their projects through lockdown.   TAG Youth Club used some of their Team Stage budget toward a video conferencing package to allow young people to meet up online and bond by playing games and socialising together.
  2. At Club Stage, young people develop and lead a project to improve the youth organisation they attend.  The young people from Redbridge Youth Services began promoting their ‘Stay Safe at Home’ message with online questionnaires for their peers and posting  videos on their YouTube channel.
  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 an event hosted at a range of exciting venues across London.  This year pitches were held online but Community Stage projects have continued to have a great impact under Covid-safe restrictions. Young people at Barnet Refugee Service recognised it would be very different celebrating Eid and Easter in lockdown for a lot of the young people at their organisation so with the support  of a local food bank who offered them the space to pack and distribute, they created gift bags with Eid treats, toys and hand painted Easter eggs each with a handwritten message and gave them to vulnerable children.

After the Community Stage, youth workers will be able to nominate young people to join our summer leadership programme, called ‘Futures’. We work directly with a group of 20-25 young people who’ve shown the greatest commitment and leadership potential through the Team, Club and Community stages of the programme. These aspiring leaders take part in leadership programme, over the Summer, 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 their own idea with the opportunity to lead on their own project or campaign.

As the sector is getting to grips with the context created in response to the Corona virus, London Youth is adapting and flexing wherever possible. This includes continuing programmes, although in different ways.  We will be as flexible as possible and work with you to adapt projects where you can to allow you to complete the programme whilst supporting the needs of your organisation and young people.

I’m a London Youth member – how can I get involved?

We are now recruiting for City Leaders 2020/21. To register your interest or to talk more about the opportunity, please contact Shaz Mert, Youth Action Delivery Officer –


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