Thursday, 6 August 2015

National Citizenship Service

Parliament has now dissolved for the summer recess which gives MPs the opportunity to take a break from the politics of Westminster and spend more time in their constituencies and in my case catch up on some of the good projects in Cornwall.

Last week I visited a group of young people taking part in the National Citizenship Service (NCS). Set up back in 2011 as a type of modern day, non-military National Service, NCS is open to all 16-17 year olds in England and aims to bring together young people from all sorts of different backgrounds, helping to break down social barriers and develop self-confidence.

As NCS is a residential course, it gives participants the opportunity to leave home behind for a couple of weeks and immerse themselves in a fresh environment and make new friends. This can be a great way to develop their confidence and independence as it means those taking part are all in the same boat. It doesn’t matter what school they go to or where their parents live and it’s a great way of breaking down social barriers.

The team I met had previously spent their first week of NCS enjoying water sports at Sibleyback Lake near Liskeard which was then followed by another week on a residential course at Tremough University where they took part in more team building exercises and began to plan their project to help the community. When I caught up with them, they were putting the finishing touches to a children’s play area at the BMX track at Parc Erissey, where they had spent the last two weeks helping to build sand pit slides, a tunnel and a scramble net. All of their hard work looked very impressive and those involved were celebrating the completion of the project with a well-deserved BBQ in the sun.

Speaking to those taking part, it was clear to me just how much they had learnt and benefited from NCS and I think they deserve a big congratulations for taking on the challenge.