Young People (Community Service)

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 20th April 1967.

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Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West 12:00 am, 20th April 1967

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many separate voluntary societies at national and local level and how many schools in various categories are organising programmes of practical community service by young people.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

In addition to a number of bodies concerned almost solely with this topic, there are many local youth organisations as well as schools which include practical service of this kind among their activities. No record is kept of their numbers.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

Would my hon. Friend agree that this exciting development, as he called it in the debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill last month, needs very careful and detailed analysis by the Department so that we can discuss how we can best give Governmental support to the development of this work?

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

It was because of that that I asked Mr. Bessey to chair a working party which has reported to me. On the basis of that report, I formulated a scheme about which I am engaged in consulting local authorities and youth organisations.

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will now make a statement on future Governmental support for voluntary community service by young people.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave him on the 13th March last.—[Vol. 743; c. 9.]

Photo of Mr Frank Judd Mr Frank Judd , Portsmouth West

Does my hon. Friend recognise that many people welcome his personal close interest in the development of this work, but hope that those carrying the main burden of what is now happening throughout the country will have the opportunity of full consultation before any irrevocable decisions are made?

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

That is in fact happening. I specifically consulted the youth organisations which I thought to be very much involved in this type of work, and at this moment I am consulting S.C.O.N.V.Y.O., which collectively represents those youth organisations.

Photo of Mr Benjamin Whitaker Mr Benjamin Whitaker , Hampstead

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will seek to establish a scheme for young people to give a period of 12 months' community service.

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

There are already opportunities for young people to give long-term community service, both at home and abroad, and I am holding consultations to encourage further opportunities for all kinds of community service in England and Wales.

Photo of Mr Benjamin Whitaker Mr Benjamin Whitaker , Hampstead

Would the Minister agree that a considerable amount of frustrated energy and idealism exists among our young people nowadays? Will he not consider an imaginative voluntary scheme of national social service?

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

This phrase "a national voluntary service" is a contradiction in terms. There are opportunities for people to give long-term service of six and twelve months if they wish to. I want to encourage that. Much more to the point I wish to encourage the hundreds of thousands of youngsters to take part in short-term voluntary service in evenings, weekends and holidays. It is to that end that I am directing most of my energies.

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

Would not the Minister agree that there are a number of organisations already existing through which young people can give service? Would it not help if the attention of young persons was drawn to the existence of these organisations?

Photo of Mr Denis Howell Mr Denis Howell , Birmingham Small Heath

This is very much in the forefront of Government thinking at the moment, and I hope that an announcement that I am making shortly will give emphasis to these organisations.