Young Citizens is an education charity working in primary and secondary schools to help educate, inspire and motivate the active citizens of tomorrow.

The need for our work has never been greater

A strong, cohesive society can only continue to thrive if each new generation of citizens is equipped and determined to make it happen. But our society faces serious challenges. Faith in the way our democracy operates has been shaken, and healthy scepticism towards elected politicians has turned into contempt and even hatred.

Cynicism and mistrust have been directed towards other institutions, too, including the law and the media.

Communities have become more polarised as robust, informed debate gives way to name-calling and abuse. The echo chambers of social media reinforce entrenched positions, leaving little room to consider other honestly held views. ‘Fake news’ erodes trust, and feeds prejudices.

Shaping schools and influencing policy

The future health of our democratic society is dependent on young people learning to navigate their way through these difficult times and to become active, engaged and motivated citizens. And that’s why we’re here.

We believe passionately in democracy, as the best means to create a fair, just, and equal society. Since 1989 our parent charity, the Citizenship Foundation, has helped young people understand society’s democratic structures, and the rights and responsibilities of its citizens. But we do much more than that.

'We believe every young person has a fundamental right to the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to play their part as full citizens of this country and of the world.'
Martin Bostock, Young Citizens Chair

So we help them engage in the debates and in the decision-making processes that affect their futures – from the ramifications of Brexit and global economics, to our national and local electoral systems and beyond.

We help them see how the rule of law is central to democratic society, and how it works to protect as well as to prosecute, and to hold even our political leaders to account. We bring to life the impacts of seismic changes in the global and national economies and show young people how these affect their own lives and communities.

'We help young people learn how our democratic institutions work, and how to take action for change in their own lives and communities.'
Tom Franklin, CEO

Each year we work with thousands of volunteers from many different walks of life to give young people practical, exciting experiences of citizenship in action. These range from teenagers taking part in ‘Mock Trials’ in real courts, in front of real judges, to primary school children learning how to campaign for causes that matter to them in our ‘Make a Difference Challenge’.

Society reflects what we put into our education system

We believe that all elements of active citizenship should be essential parts of young people’s education. Without citizenship education, they will miss out on opportunities and vital life skills, and our democratic society will fail to benefit.

We’ve challenged ourselves over the coming decade to help more young people than ever gain the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to become active citizens and make a positive contribution to their communities. So we’ve introduced the Young Citizens brand to pull together and promote all our programmes for young people – particularly in primary and secondary schools.

It’s an exciting time and we have some very big goals. Have a look at our 10-year Strategic Plan to find out more.