(1) what steps he is taking to ensure that young people from strong faith and cultural backgrounds have access to the National Citizen Service;
The Cabinet Office is committed to ensuring that all 16 and 17-year-olds can participate in the National Citizen Service (NCS). Mixing NCS participants from different backgrounds remains one of the fundamental principles of the programme. To this end, the Cabinet Office and NCS providers have put in measures to facilitate access for young people from strong faith and cultural backgrounds. These include:
Running single gender programmes;
Delivering programmes that do not take place over weekends so as not to coincide with Jewish or Christian Sabbath;
Catering for different dietary requirements and providing prayer facilities; and
Adapting programmes which take place during Ramadan.'
In summer 2012 the Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade delivered an NCS pilot in the London borough of Redbridge. The Jewish Lads' and Girls' Brigade are not currently delivering NCS programmes as a local delivery partner in the area of Bury South. However, all 16 and 17-year-old members of the Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade have the opportunity to take part in NCS programmes in this area, including the autumn programme.