Young people involved with National Citizen Service have spoken out about their shock at the riots.
They have said they are worried about the image that will be portrayed of their generation as a result.
A group of young people from The Challenge Network, one of the charities running NCS programmes this summer, have set up a Facebook page called ‘We are part of the solution not the problem’, giving young people a place where they can share their views on the riot and talk about what they have been doing to support their communities.
Jodie Nash, age 17 said:
It’s just an excuse and it is mindless. I know a group of people in my area are organising a group to go to town and help with the clear up, I’d love to, but I’m scared it’s all going to flare up again and I don’t want to be caught in the middle of it. A lot of people I know were discussing the violence over Facebook and other social networking sites last night, the majority being young people. I fear now that the minority are going to spoil it for the majority who are disgusted to see the destruction of neighbourhoods in our city.
Richmond Amoah, 16, who is doing NCS with youth volunteering charity v said:
What people have been doing in the riots is making the public look down on us. We’re planning a social action project working with homeless people. By doing something good like that we hope we can change the way communities think of youth and build their good will.
Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society said:
Thousands of young people on National Citizen Service are doing great work in communities across England. These young people come from all walks of life and I’ve seen them working together full of enthusiasm to help others. We have a wonderfully engaged and socially responsible generation of young people who deserve more credit than they get. I’m pleased to back their statement of shock at the riots and will continue to ensure that they have opportunities to make a positive difference.
Many of the young people taking part in National Citizen Service today will be discussing what they can do to challenge people’s perception of young people as part of the social action projects they will all be developing.
NCS is a Big Society initiative which aims to help build a more cohesive, responsible and engaged society. It brings together 16-year-olds from different backgrounds to work together for the good of their communities while developing skills and confidence. Participants spend 2 weeks away from home taking part in outdoor team-based challenges before returning home to spend at least 30 hours working on community projects that they feel most strongly about. The scheme is being piloted this year with up to 10,000 places for young people across the country.