Thursday, 8 September 2016

National Citizenship Service

During the Summer Recess, I have enjoyed spending time in the constituency. A particular highlight was a visit to a group of young people taking part in the National Citizenship Service (NCS). NCS was set up in 2011, and is open to all 16-17 year olds in England. It aims to bring together young people from all sorts of different backgrounds, helping to break down social barriers and develop self-confidence. 

Programmes like this have a crucial role to play in giving opportunities to young people when they are on the cusp of adulthood but will be finding their feet socially and emotionally. 

This year, the group I visited were taking part in a variety of community projects: contributing to the development of a sensory area at BF Adventure, participating in a project at the Dreadnought Centre (which provides a range of support programmes for children and young people who are facing emotional and behavioural problems) and a beach litter clean.

NCS is a residential course, so 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.

I have met groups participating in NCS previously, and it has always been clear to me just how beneficial the scheme is. I was working for David Cameron when he first came up with the idea over a decade ago and it is good to see the scheme growing. Huge congratulations to all those young people who took on the challenge and for delivering something in their community.  It was clear from speaking to them that they enjoyed it and made new friends.

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