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All young people expected and supported to help their communities

24 Aprill 2009

Department for Children, Schools and Families logoNew plans to help get every young person in the country contributing to their communities were set out by the Prime Minister, the Minister for the Cabinet Office Liam Byrne and the Schools Minister Jim Knight.

It is the Government’s ambition that, in time, all young people will contribute at least 50 hours of community service by the age of 19.  The Government will be exploring how best to achieve this goal, including how to build on the platform provided by citizenship education, which all young people study through the national curriculum.

Today Ministers announced a £146 million funding package to deliver immediate steps to help achieve this goal of community service for all.

A new programme for 16 to 19 year olds starting this September will see 20,000 school leavers a year undertake full time community service alongside training, as part of an Entry to Employment course. This will help develop young people’s skills and employability, help them into work, and improve their role in their local community by giving them a voice, sense of personal responsibility and independence.

A set of intensive pilots will also be launched to test ways of significantly increasing the proportions of young people within a given area participating in community service, involving over 14,000 14-16 years olds in the next two years. And new funding will be invested in helping all schools provide more service opportunities for their pupils, including by enabling volunteering agencies to help broker placements and a new scheme for accrediting the community service young people undertake so they get the recognition they deserve.

Announcing the initiative the Prime Minister said:

” It is my ambition to create a country in which there is a clear expectation that all young people will undertake some service to their community, and where community service will become a normal part of growing up. What we are doing today is taking immediate steps in the next school year to boost national youth community service, giving thousands more pupils the opportunity to take part and paving the way for every young person in Our country to do more to play their part in their communities.

Martin Luther King once said that everyone could be great because everyone can serve – and with our younger generations more involved in their communities, I believe that we will build a stronger, more united nation.”

Schools Minister Jim Knight said:

“We know that around half of young people already do great work in their communities by volunteering during their teenage years, helping out in places such as sports clubs, community centres and old peoples’ homes. The funding we are providing today will help to ensure that thousands more young people who care passionately about their communities have the opportunity to spend more time volunteering for the people in their area.

“Five local authorities will help us find out what works in attracting teenagers to volunteering and finding creative ways building on their enthusiasm as well as looking at ways of matching the right placements with the right child. Schools have a role to play too and this funding will help them look at what opportunities are in their local areas and how their children can make a positive contribution.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Liam Byrne said:

“The ideas, passion and energy of our youngsters are among our nation’s greatest treasures.

“Now we want to make it easier for every young person to give a little back to make their community a better place to live.

“That's not only good for our country today, it's the best way of building the country we want to see tomorrow.

“We're inspiring today the habits of giving something back which we hope will last a lifetime.”

The Office of the Third Sector will work with the Department for Children Schools and Families on taking forward these proposals, building on the work that V, the national youth volunteering organisation is already doing to promote volunteering among young people.

Notes to editors

  1. The £146m two year funding programme for this initiative, as announced on 22 April as part of the Budget settlement for education, consists of: 
    • £64m in 2009/10 and again in 2010/11 to support 20,000 community service E2E places
    • £2m in 2009/2010 and £5m in 2010/2011 for pilots in 5 areas to establish how we can achieve high levels of participation in community service among 14-16 year olds
    • £2m in 2009/2010 and £9m in 2010/2011 for all schools to deliver and promote community service opportunities for 14-16 year olds, including support from V the national youth volunteering organisation and other partner organisations
  2. The Education and Skills Act (2008) places a new requirement on all young people (from 2013) to participate in education or training until their 18th birthday - but this does not necessarily mean staying in school. Young people will be able to choose how they participate, which could be in: Full-time education, such as in school or in college; work-based learning, such as an Apprenticeship; or Part-time education or training, if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours a week. "These courses provide new opportunities for young people to develop valuable skills and make a worthwhile contribution to their communities. This will mean there are an even wider range of opportunities that young people can choose from as we move towards a time when all young people will participate in learning until they are 18".
    Regional case studies (for further information on these, or to speak to someone about the Office of the Third Sector, please speak to Cabinet press office)

    Chloe Bailey, 19, volunteer Victim Support outreach worker
    Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire

    Chloe battled through a classroom bullying, her parents divorce, drink, drugs and homelessness before she took on a challenging course training to be a Victim Support volunteer at the age of 19.

    The help and support of staff at Kings Ripton Court resettlement hostel has helped Chloe to rebuild her previously destroyed self confidence.  Chloe said:

    “Kings Ripton told me about becoming a volunteer for Victim Support.  I’d never thought I would have it in me to do something like that but the idea of actually helping other people and being useful was a turning point in my life. 
    Deciding to do the volunteering was probably one of the most positive things I’ve ever done.  It’s been intense, but I’m half-way through the training and in about a month I’m going to be a fully-fledged Victim Support volunteer”

    Mechak Blake, 19, full-time volunteer youth worker
    Krunch, Oldbury, West Midlands

    Avoiding a possible future of drugs and the dole, Mechak Blake has chosen a different life. During a chance visit to his local youth club in Oldbury he discovered a programme that was starting called “Sound it Out” and started working for them as a volunteer project worker, running DJ/MC workshops for some of the younger kids who were on the verge of dropping out of school. 

    Mechak said:

    “I’m now a full-time volunteer, paid by Krunch for 10 hours a week and giving another 10 hours for free.  I helped apply for a grant for some new music equipment and now I’m teaching local teenagers some basic music production skills.  A couple of the kids I’ve been training might now have a record contract, so you can see the difference something like this can make.” 

    Groundwork Future Footprints: Up and Running

    Zayna, aged 17, had an unsettled start to her life, as her family moved from place to place. The instability of this lifestyle was exacerbated by her experiences of racism, and the trouble she found herself in both at school and at home.

    Getting involved with environmental regeneration charity Groundwork proved to be the new beginning she needed, and helped her to establish a positive belief in herself.  Now Zayna is an environmental advisor with the Future Footprints project, Groundwork’s new programme aimed at helping young people to become advocates for personal action on climate change. Currently studying for her ‘A’ levels, Zayna plans to build her career within the environmental field, and feels her volunteer work has helped put her on the right path. 

    Zayna said, ‘volunteering has made me feel part of my community, something I never experienced before.’

    Point Blank Theatre Company

    Without exams to prepare for this term, 21-year-old third-year Kent University students Emma Waslin and Stephanie Walls had some free time on their hands. After heading home to Yorkshire, the drama students became involved in two projects run by Sheffield-based theatre company Point Blank. Working first with two young women on voluntary overseas placements, Emma and Stephanie undertook three days of workshop development training as part of Point Blank’s Cultural Education Project (CEP).  Under the direction of a drama facilitator, their undergraduate training was complemented and they were able to share their skills with Shayna, from Bahrain, and Sam, from India. ‘I’ve volunteered before’, said Emma, ‘and it’s always great to meet new people and see how you work with them. 

    With v’s funding, Point Blank has been able to expand its provision of services to and volunteering opportunities for young people to cover short-term, part-time and full-time placements, four of which are in the form of thirteen-week internships, giving advanced training in the operation of an arts organisation.

    One of the most important features of this volunteering experience was, for Stephanie, the great sense of personal satisfaction she acquired.  ‘Being able to give our time and not expecting anything back from it is a really nice feeling,” and, “It’s great for your CV.”
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