Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, today visited the community trusts of Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley and Rotherham United Football Clubs, to meet participants taking part in a groundbreaking new scheme, National Citizen Service (NCS).
The NCS teams are taking part in a diverse range of activities through The Football League Trust this summer, including running and promoting local sports coaching sessions and organising a ‘Paralympic Sports Day’ in Barnsley. Whilst other groups in Rotherham held healthy eating sessions as part of their ‘Fit For Football’ concept, bringing to life the education element of the scheme. In the meantime some of the young people participating in NCS Sheffield helped with community gardening and clear-up projects.
NCS is a Big Society initiative which aims to help build a more cohesive, responsible and engaged society. It brings together 16-year-olds from different backgrounds to work together for the good of their communities while developing skills and confidence. Participants spend two weeks away from home taking part in outdoor team-based challenges before returning home to work on community projects that they feel most strongly about.
The young people are among the first 10,000 pioneering the scheme which the Government hopes to make available to all 16-year-olds in England. The Minister for the Cabinet Office got to hear about the experiences of young people involved in NCS across South Yorkshire and the impact their social action projects are having on their local communities.
Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, said:
I’ve had a fantastic day meeting teenagers from Sheffield, Rotherham and Barnsley who are so enthusiastic about making a difference in their communities. We all want a bigger, stronger society, these young people taking part in National Citizen Service are leading the whole country, their families and communities should be very proud of their achievements.
"I want National Citizen Service to become a rite of passage and an experience that young people, across England, can share. It will help build community spirit and cohesion, bringing together young people from different backgrounds and encourage them to get more involved in their local area.
"This wouldn’t be possible without the support of organisations like The Football League Trust, creating a life changing experience for these teenagers. I thank them for their drive and commitment and look forward to hearing more about their success.