Press release

Communities to feel the force of 700,000 hours of youth power this summer

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

An army of dedicated young people will spend a massive three quarters of a million hours helping their communities tackle social problems.

An army of dedicated young people will spend a massive three quarters of a million hours helping their communities to tackle the social problems that matter most to them under National Citizen Service 2012, the Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude announced today.

Communities will feel the power of positive youth action this summer as up to 30,000 young people put their energy and enthusiasm into projects such as helping the homeless, teaching kids sport and refurbishing local youth centres. The new figures were unveiled as a team of passionate celebrity ambassadors signed up to support the scheme, including: Alex Zane, Johnson Beharry VC, Ben Collins (aka The Stig), Danny Crates, Marlon Devonish MBE, Alex Gregory, DJ Mistajam, Melissa Suffield and Chris Hunter.

Today a call is being made to all 16-year-olds to get involved with the second year of National Citizen Service. They will gain valuable life experience and new skills, make friends from all walks of life and prepare themselves for their futures - while playing a part in making their communities better.

The Prime Minister said:

National Citizen Service helps give young people the skills, values and confidence they will need as they move into adulthood. Meeting some of the participants last summer, I was struck by the real difference the programme was making to both the individuals and their communities.

This summer up to 30,000 16-year-olds will be able to have the life-changing experience that NCS offers. I want every 16-year-old in our country to be given this opportunity, making them feel more part of our country and helping to build the bigger, stronger society we all want.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said:

I saw for myself the resounding success of the first year of National Citizen Service. That’s why this is the moment for young people to step up and get involved in National Citizen Service 2012.

National Citizen Service unites participants from different backgrounds and challenges them to bring about positive change in their neighbourhoods. It has the power to create a generation of ‘work ready,’ well rounded young people with raised aspirations and greater opportunities in their future.

National Citizen Service is not just good for young people but it can change the whole country for the better.

Notes to editors

1. National Citizen Service (NCS) is a life-changing experience for 16-year-olds. They get the chance to do outdoor activities, meet new people and have the chance to put something back. By taking part they learn new skills and have a great experience they can put on their CVs or college applications. It takes place over three weeks full time and then 30 hours are spent making the local community a better place.

2. This year 30,000 places are available and the long-term aim is for NCS to be available to every 16-year-old. There will be 90,000 places by 2014.

3. After a successful first year, National Citizen Service has been expanded so that up to 30,000 young people can take part. The scheme is available to people from all backgrounds and brings together those who might otherwise not have met. It gives 16-year-olds a positive shared experience while increasing their self-esteem, confidence and sense of the valuable role they can play in their communities.

4. Early findings from last year’s programme suggest it was a success. In a survey carried out by The Challenge Network - the largest provider of National Citizen Service - 96 per cent of their 2011 participants said they felt more confident and 86 per cent said they felt more responsible for making a difference in their local community.

5. A new National Citizen Service website is now and up and running and providing information on the opportunities available this summer, and a competition has been launched for those who took part last year to submit a short film about their experiences - the winner will  get valuable work experience at top video and content production company Somethin’ Else.

6. NCS promotes:

  • a more cohesive society by mixing participants from different backgrounds;
  • a more responsible society by supporting young people’s transition into adulthood; and
  • a more engaged society by enabling young people to work together to create social action projects in their local communities.

It brings young people together from different backgrounds (e.g. religious, ethnic and socio-economic) to work together, and teaches them what it means to be responsible and serve their communities.

For more information about NCS and the film competition go to www.direct.gov.uk/ncs or facebook.com/ncs.

8. For a copy of The Challenge Network’s impact and results report from their summer 2011 programme, please contact The Challenge Network on 020 7921 4407 or 07908 944 335.

9. The following videos on the National Citizen Service are available to embed on your website: 

10. If you would like to interview one of our celebrity ambassadors - Alex Zane, Johnson Beharry VC, Ben Collins (aka The Stig), Danny Crates, Marlon Devonish MBE, Alex Gregory, DJ Mistajam, Melissa Suffield and Chris Hunter - please contact the Cabinet Office press office.