Lighting the Spark: introducing Young Citizens’ new five-year strategy

We are excited to launch a new five-year strategic plan that furthers our work empowering children and young people for a stronger society.

Lighting the Spark demonstrates how we will be working to create even-more accessible citizenship learning that starts in the classroom and is brought to life through skills, authentic experiences and links into the real-world.

It builds on our 30+  years of work to see that every child and young person is prepared to thrive as an active citizen as a part of our modern education system.

Sparking active citizenship

The new strategy comes as we mark the 20th anniversary of citizenship being made statutory on the curriculum, and ahead of our 35th birthday as a charity next year. Despite the progress made over the decades, there is a serious lack of equitable and quality provision of citizenship education.

The follow-up to the House of Lord’s Ties that Bind report on Citizenship and Civic Engagement in 2022 concluded that much more needs to be done to give citizenship a seat at the table in UK schools.

We believe there is a case that this learning, from our rights to how to engage with our local governments and be active in one’s community, is a vital pillar of any modern young person’s learning across their education. Our strategy is designed to help us amplify our role as a scaled, catalyst organisation that can reach between educators and institutions to offer expert, inspired citizenship education. We will continue to be a well-established voice in the education and youth sectors, working in partnership to help have more impact for children and young people.

“We believe citizenship education is the key that unlocks a kinder, more equitable society in which individuals, communities and nations are able to work together to solve problems and create a better future.”

– Ashley Hodges, CEO

Our Strategic Aims

In our strategy, we have identified four key aims over the next five years to create more impact for the sector and young people:

  • Accessible. We will increase the accessibility of citizenship education for under-served groups.
  • Connected. We will create opportunities that connect young people to communities and institutions and bring learning to life.
  • Relevant. We will ensure young people are included in shaping and value citizenship education.
  • Championed. We will drive investment into citizenship education through evidence, convening and advocating.

Our Impact

In the long term, we believe our vision will be realised when:

  • All children and young people are educated to be active citizens
  • Children and young people are active in shaping their community and world for the better
  • Children and young people feel belonging in their communities
  • Institutions represent the people they serve

Our updated Theory of Change explains how we work towards these long-term goals and see a thriving democracy that creates a better society for all.  

Read the full strategy here or see more about how you can get involved below.

Chief Executive, Ashley Hodges, said: “After many stimulating conversations with young people, trustees, staff and partners, we are thrilled to launch our ambitious new five-year strategy.

We believe citizenship education is the key that unlocks a kinder, more equitable society in which individuals, communities and nations are able to work together to solve problems and create a better future. As Chief Executive, it is my focus to ensure we are providing impact for more young people of all backgrounds and building on our legacy to shape what active citizenship education needs to look like today.”

Our Chair of Trustees, Ashley Wheaton, said: “I am delighted to be joining Young Citizens at such a critical point in its history. We have a rich legacy of helping define and establish citizenship education as a subject, but clearly has grown beyond this to see that it is brought to life and made accessible to more learners.

“We are looking forward to working with our funders, ambassadors and like-minded organisations also championing this work to take citizenship education even further as an invaluable set of knowledge and skills for the 21st century.”


Will you light the spark with us?