Under Secretary of State for Wales Baroness Randerson and Welsh government Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty Jeff Cuthbert travelled to the Communities First scheme at Butetown Community Centre, Cardiff to launch the ground-breaking National Citizen Service (NCS) in Wales, which has already seen nearly 80,000 young people involved in England and Northern Ireland since 2011.
The NCS will give Welsh teenagers the opportunity to take part in a residential course as well as activities near home, before designing and carrying out their own social action project, such as putting on a sports day for local people or renovating a community garden.
The ministers, together with Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns, also announced the successful bidder for the pilot of the scheme in Wales, Swansea-based organisation Engage 4 Life.
This autumn more than 200 16 and 17 year olds will take part, and can apply to join between July and October.
Young people can apply online for the NCS in Wales or by telephone on 08456 804 348.
The pilot is being funded with £300,000 from the UK government.
In Wales it is expected that one of the NCS aims will be to forge links with Welsh government programmes including Communities First, the GwirVol Youth Volunteering Programme and the Welsh Baccalaureate. The active involvement of a number of Communities First Clusters in the development and delivery of NCS in Wales is considered particularly important.
The Butetown, Riverside and Grangetown Communities First cluster provides support, help and training to promote skills, prosperity, learning and health to the people in the area, which has the highest level of cultural diversity in Wales.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
NCS is an incredibly special opportunity. It brings young people together from different backgrounds who wouldn’t otherwise mix, it gives them the skills and confidence they need to fulfil their potential and it inspires them to give back to their local communities.
Nearly 80,000 young people have already taken part in England and Northern Ireland. They have given around 2 million hours in service to their communities with over 50,000 social action projects, raising an incredible £750,000 for charities around the country.
I’m delighted National Citizen Service is launching in Wales today.
Baroness Randerson said:
I am pleased that I have been given the opportunity to announce this great programme coming to Wales. Through NCS, young Welsh people are being given the opportunity to make the changes they want in their communities.
Under the programme, they will develop the skills that employers look for and counter the negative stereotypes of young people that all too often persist in parts of today’s media.
They will also have the opportunity to work together with other young people from all backgrounds to do something great in their community.
Welsh government Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty Jeff Cuthbert said:
Young people are being given the opportunity to try something a bit different. We are looking to teenagers to challenge them to help create change in their communities.
The scheme will provide the training, help and support that will enable teenagers to decide what they want to change about your communities, and how they can go about helping to make that change for themselves.
They can do this through helping other young people to take part in a sport they enjoy, a music event to bring people together, or helping older people in the community to engage with and understand the technology that they may take for granted.
Brooks Newmark, Minister for Civil Society, said:
I’m thrilled that the National Citizen Service has now extended to Wales.
Since the scheme started in England since 2011, NCS participants have given over 2 million hours in community action and I’m sure the scheme will be equally successful here.
The National Citizen Service will help to enable young people to feel that they can, and should affect positive change in their local communities.
Notes to editors
What is National Citizen Service?
NCS is a UK government programme designed to encourage a culture of giving by introducing young people aged 16 to 17 to the concept of civic responsibility as they make the transition into adulthood.
The programme aims to promote:
- a more cohesive society by mixing participants of different backgrounds
- a more responsible society by supporting the transition into adulthood for young people
- a more engaged society by enabling young people to work together to create social action projects in their local communities
How does it work?
NCS is organised in 5 phases which include a series of activities in participants’ local communities and 2 weeks in residential settings away from home. The main programme culminates in a graduation event, and there is also considerable follow-on work in the young people’s own communities.