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National Youth Community Service

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families with reference to the Prime Minister's speech at Britain's Everyday Heroes Book Launch of 24 July 2007, what progress has been made on the launch of the National Youth Community Service for Britain since July 2007. (318354)

The 44-week volunteering programme vTalent Year was launched in January 2009 involving young people aged 16 to 25 volunteering for approximately 30 hours per week. The first cohort of 358 young people is working across 32 local authority children and young people's services and the second cohort will start in March 2010.

Volunteers are undertaking a range of placements from nurseries, children and youth centres to youth crime prevention, asylum seekers and substance misuse teams. Nearly 60 per cent. of the volunteers were not in education, employment or training prior to starting the programme.

In April 2009 the Prime Minister alongside Ministers for the Cabinet Office and the Department for Children, Schools and Families also announced a package of measures to support our ambition that, in time, all young people should give at least 50 hours of their time between the ages of 14 and 19 to serve their communities.

The measures include:

incorporating community action into learning programmes for 20,000 16 to 18-year-olds as part of Entry to Employment programmes in 2009/10 and again as part of Foundation Learning in 2010/11;

the creation of five intensive local authority pilots to test approaches to achieving near-universal participation among 14 to 16-year-olds;

new ways of recognising participation in community action; and

more support for schools to engage their pupils in this activity, to complement existing local support teams for 16 to 25-year-olds.