New beginnings in Glasgow

2019 has been a huge year at Citywise. Not only have we celebrated our 25th anniversary, we have also introduced an entirely new way of working with children, their families and communities. And not content with this, we’ve also taken the opportunity to completely re-launch our work in Glasgow!

If this is all news to you, then read on! We want to share with you why we’re making so much noise about our 25th year and what exciting things are unfolding in Glasgow. 

Since our beginnings in 1994, Citywise volunteers have been helping transform young lives through the power of character mentoring. In recent years, this has primarily been taking place in structured school-based mentoring programmes. But we increasingly see the need for other forms of engagement with children and their families outside of the formal education context, and have been developing a new model of work.

We have been working in and around our partner schools this year to see this plan unfold! We have piloted family engagement in schools by running a coffee morning for parents on raising caring, confident children. After a successful community summer camp in Manchester in 2018 we ran a community based Heroes Academy summer project which was open to 44 children who learnt about what it takes to become an everyday hero!

We see this as just the beginning with the hope that more families will be supported to raise caring and confident children, and that we will have a deep and long-lasting impact on children’s futures! 

Our Friends and supporters have been an important part of this journey. Many have come to our dinners, fundraising events, met us for coffee and given their time, expertise, and money to help us see more young lives transformed through the work of Citywise.

More specifically in Glasgow our plans have been to release staff time to build research partnerships that will improve the evidence base for our approach, inform our curriculum and make our evaluation processes more robust. In line with this, our wonderful Hana Bútorová has moved from the Manchester office to build up a team and lead our Glasgow programmes as the Glasgow Director.

Over the years Hana has curated our curriculum, drawing on her Psychology Degree and the most up to date research and practice in character development and mentoring. Within the wider team we have been embedding family engagement into our schools programme with the support and funding partnership of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley.

After a successful pilot programme in a Manchester primary school this is set to become a core aspect of our schools programme, impacting over 100 children and families each year! Hana has also recently enrolled on a PhD programme at the University of Glasgow, exploring and researching children’s character growth journeys through our school-based mentoring programmes.

We have also set out our plans to find a centre in Glasgow where we could begin working with children and families in a new way. In Manchester the Citywise Centre is a space where we hold after school clubs, holiday camps and parent’s groups. We would love to be able to do the same in Glasgow. If you know of people or places that could help make this a reality, please get in touch with Hana:

In November we hosted a fundraising dinner for supporters, volunteers, and Friends in Glasgow, sharing stories of the impact of our work with children and families and why we need more support to help this grow and thrive. Check out some pics from the evening below:

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Even just looking back over the last few years we’ve been humbled by the transformation taking place in young people’s lives thanks to our hard-working volunteers.

Hana shared a few of these stories during her speech. One was of an 11-year-old boy in one of our school programmes who had struggled with violent outbursts for as long as he could remember.

He and his mentor grew a relationship that helped him reflect on his emotions in a safe and nurturing environment.

He felt safe enough to say to his mentor “please help me with my anger.” We saw him take our curriculum to heart as he learned to understand and manage that anger with mechanisms that worked for him, a skill that he will carry for the rest of his life.

We are working with hundreds of children across Glasgow and Manchester throughout 2019-20 and your support would go a long way! Just £20 a month helps to support one young person in their mentoring journey. Even if you couldn’t make it to our dinner, we would love to give you the opportunity to consider supporting young people as they unlock their potential, and lead flourishing lives.