national citizen service



Rory has thrown his weight behind Cumbria’s bid to pilot the government’s voluntary National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme. The scheme will allow 11 leavers from different backgrounds and locations to become community volunteers and participate in youth initiatives all over Cumbria. The project would be run by Connexions Cumbria and The Outward Bound Trust. Rory has held meetings with Ministers in the Department for Education and the Office for Civil Society, and civil servants in Whitehall in support of the bid. He has argued that Cumbria is an ideal place for the scheme, both because of its tradition of outdoors education and because of its position as the vanguard for the Prime Minister’s ‘Big Society’ project. The NCS pilot in Cumbria is thought to be one of only two rural areas on the shortlist. Young people will be invited to take part in a 6-8 week summer programme, to include residential courses at Cumbrian campuses such as Newton Rigg.


Rory said: “I am thrilled to hear the news that Connexions Cumbria and The Outward Bound Trust have been shortlisted, and I am doing everything in my power to support Cumbria’s aim to pilot this scheme. I can think of no better place for NCS to be piloted than here. Our county consists of both rural and urban areas, has incredible opportunities for youth volunteering, sites such as Newton Rigg that are perfectly suited to host young people on this scheme, and a wealth of local businesses willing to involve participants in apprenticeship and work placement schemes. Our aim is a more cohesive society; the transition to adulthood is important and often difficult, and NCS aims to support that by mixing participants from different backgrounds and encouraging youngsters to work together to create social action projects in their local communities.”


The Eden valley in Cumbria has already been selected as a vanguard area for the development of the coalition government’s vision for a ‘Big Society’ and the opportunity to have the NCS piloted in Cumbria would reinforce the county’s place at the core of this policy development. Cumbrian businesses have been quick to support Connexions Cumbria and The Outward Bound Trust in this attempt to bring NCS to Cumbria.


It is expected that the successful pilot schemes will be announced before Christmas 2010, with young people being recruited early in 2011 for pilot schemes in the Summer.


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