What is Cities of Service?
In 2014 Barnsley became one of seven pioneering local authorities in the UK to work with the Cabinet Office and Nesta, the UK’s innovation charity, to develop a Cities of Service model.
The Cities of Service model is based on a coalition and its member cities aim to find new and innovative ways to harness the power of volunteers to solve strategic city issues. The coalition builds on the work of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who pioneered the approach, designating New York as a service city and creating opportunities for thousands of citizens to serve.
Many other cities have replicated the approach. Today in the United States, the Cities of Service coalition includes more than 170 mayors, and it is successfully mobilising thousands of volunteers to improve their city one task at a time. Volunteers give their time on high impact initiatives in the service of others and their local city, often co-ordinated by a Chief Service Officer. Cities in the coalition share successful strategies to ensure the most effective initiatives are copied by others.
Over the past three years, the movement has spread internationally to inspire Team London and “Count on Me” in Madrid.
The Barnsley Cities of service model.
Barnsley has received £30,000 of funding, as well as tools and training as part of the Cities of Service UK programme via NESTA and the Cabinet Office to support the delivery of the Barnsley programme over the next two years.
This funding will be utilised to support the delivery of our two service initiatives;
Love Where You Live – a programme of Pride in the Environment
Let’s Grow – a programme of Food and Growing schemes.
The Barnsley cities of service model provides us with a fantastic opportunity to work with our communities to mobilise volunteers to achieve impact on local challenges. Barnsley has a strong history of volunteering and social action. However we need to improve how we evidence the impact of volunteers and work collectively with public services to address local challenges around the environment and addressing health inequalities.
Through Cities of Service UK we are hoping to unlock the capacity in our communities and optimise one of the resources still in great supply: the willingness of people to help each other. We aim to mobilise citizens more effectively around locally agreed priorities and to achieve measurable impact through volunteering.