National Citizen Service

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National Citizen Service (NCS)

National Citizen Service (NCS) is a voluntary personal and social development programme for 16 and 17-year olds in England.[1] It was piloted in 2011.

The scheme takes place in the spring, summer or autumn coinciding with school holidays. Groups of 60 teenagers undertake a residential visit to an activity centre for an Outward Bound–style course in the countryside involving hiking and team-building activities. This typically lasts for three weeks in the summer, or 4–5 days in the autumn and spring version. After this volunteers undertake a residential week of volunteering work. Finally participants undertake a series of day trips at home and create a community-based project to raise awareness of a particular issue. Those completing the course receive a certificate.

From 2013 volunteers paid £50 to take part in the scheme,[2] although there are bursaries for those from low-income homes. The expenditure on the scheme in 2012 was estimated at about £1,400 per individual and the scheme received almost half the Office for Civil Society’s total budget in 2013. The numbers who took part in the scheme were 26,000 (2012) and 30,000 (2013). Subsequent places available will be 90,000 (2014) and 150,000 (2015).[3]

When the scheme was launched it was initially criticised, with critics expecting it to be an unpopular and unsuccessful non-military version of national service. Subsequently, however, it achieved cross-party support in Parliament.[3]


  1. ^ "Evaluation of National Citizen Service Pilots". Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  2. ^ Jane Merrick (2013-09-01). "Teenage volunteers show true grit at the National Citizen Service". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-03-11. 
  3. ^ a b Theo Merz (30 Apr 2014). "National Citizen Service: training the citizens of tomorrow". The Telegraph. Retrieved 13 August 2014. 

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