National Citizen Service Bill [Lords]

Part of Bill Presented – in the House of Commons at 3:43 pm on 16th January 2017.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 3:43 pm, 16th January 2017

My hon. Friend is absolutely right. This is why we want to grow the NCS as quickly as possible, in a way that is sustainable and that continues to be successful.

We have all seen the sense of self-worth and confidence that working in a team can give to young people, and I have seen them achieving some really stretching targets. That is a fantastic testament to the scheme, and we want to see more people taking part in it. The NCS can break down barriers just at the time when they could become entrenched, and 95% of participants said that the NCS had allowed them to get to know people whom they would not normally expect to meet. My hon. Friend Jake Berry made that point a moment ago.

Although the programme is for young people, it is not only the young who benefit from it. For example, NCS participants have prepared and distributed care packages to the parents of premature babies in east Durham, raised funds for the Huntington’s Disease Association on Merseyside, and built a sensory garden for the residents of a Weymouth care home. Moreover, volunteering can become a lasting habit. The NCS Trust estimates that in the 16 months following the summer programmes, the 2013 and 2014 graduates did an additional 8 million hours of volunteering in their communities. The Government are determined that the NCS should become even more popular and successful, but adventure and inspiration need to be underpinned by nuts and bolts, which is what the Bill puts in place.