Headlines: March 15th, 2012

A call has gone out from the Cabinet Office to all 16-year-olds to get involved with the second year of National Citizen Service. Those who respond will gain valuable life experience and new skills, make friends from all walks of life and prepare themselves for their futures, as well as playing a part in making their communities better.

The National Citizen Service is a life-changing experience for 16-year-olds. It gives them an opportunity to help their communities to tackle the social problems that matter most to them under. They get the chance to do outdoor activities, meet new people and have the chance to put something back. By taking part they learn new skills and have a great experience they can put on their CVs or college applications. It takes place over three weeks full time and then 30 hours are spent making the local community a better place.

After a successful first year, National Citizen Service has been expanded so that up to 30,000 young people can take part. There will be 90,000 places by 2014. The scheme is available to people from all backgrounds and brings together those who might otherwise not have met. It gives 16-year-olds a positive shared experience while increasing their self-esteem, confidence and sense of the valuable role they can play in their communities.

Early findings from last year’s programme suggest it was a success. In a survey carried out by The Challenge Network – the largest provider of National Citizen Service – 96 per cent of their 2011 participants said they felt more confident and 86 per cent said they felt more responsible for making a difference in their local community.