Citywise started in Castlemilk, in Glasgow in 1994. It was the idea of Xavier Bosch who at the time was combining his chartered accountancy work with teaching at university. He thought there was a lot to gain by bringing university students out of their relatively cosseted world to the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Glasgow. Both parties gained from the experience, the mentors and the mentees. They enriched each others’ lives.
From the beginning, Citywise wanted to help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their true potential. It was not just a recreational programme ensuring a safe play environment or even a remedial programme to offer therapy to children who have lost their way.
Xavier will be the first one to admit that the inspiration and energy to come up with Citywise was the result of his Catholic faith, though he never saw Citywise as a Catholic outfit: from the beginning it was open to everyone regardless of their religious allegiance.
Shortly after he started Gerry McCarthy joined as a volunteer and he took over the reins of the small organisation when Xavier moved to Manchester for professional reasons. There he started a similar organisation with a few friends which they called ReachOut. Soon Glasgow also changed the name to ReachOut.
Glasgow was entirely staffed by volunteers. This limited its growth. In 2012 it was decided that in order to expand we had to bring in paid professionals to capitalise on a good idea and grow it. Recently in a further effort to grow but also to improve the service, Xavier has come back. ReachOut changed its name back to Citywise and is now ready to expand further not just in Glasgow but also in Manchester.