Baroness Newlove hears from young people taking part in the National Citizen Service programme.
The government’s Champion for Active Safer Communities has visited The Bolton Lads and Girls Club - the country’s largest youth club and one of the 12 pilots for the government’s new National Citizen Service programme.
She was given a tour of the club and heard from recent graduates from the programme about their experiences and discussed their ideas for social action. In a lively interactive session the youngsters performed a role play to demonstrate an anti-bullying project designed by them as part of their summer work.
Baroness Newlove said:
“Too many of our young people have become disaffected from each other and from society. It’s especially sad because many of these same young people have so much to give back to their communities.
“Often the feeling is that volunteering and the chance to make a difference is just not for them, when in reality what these kids need is just a little bit of encouragement and some basic skills to ‘give it a go’. Listening to these young people today discussing the community projects in Bolton they feel most passionate about is genuinely inspiring.”
National Citizen Service involves schools, local authorities, businesses and other neighbourhood groups aiming to bring together thousands of 16-year-olds from different backgrounds and around the country to become community volunteers and learn new skills and attitudes to become better engaged with their communities.
Participants spend time away from home taking part in outdoor team-based challenges before returning home to work on community projects that they feel most strongly about.
Over the summer 270 young people from the club will take part in teamwork and leadership skills training over a week long residential programme before heading back to Bolton for a second residential week of team building and problem solving and learning about their community.
More photos of the visit are available from the DCLG Flickr channel