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National Citizen Service

Volume 521: debated on Wednesday 19 January 2011

10. What steps he is taking to ensure that young people from disadvantaged backgrounds participate in the national citizen service. (34290)

One of the main aims of the national citizen service is to create a more cohesive society by mixing participants from different social backgrounds. To ensure that that happens, organisations bidding to deliver national citizen service pilots this summer were scrutinised on their plans for supporting the broadest possible range of young people to participate. A number of the organisations that were successful in bidding to run the pilots have a strong track record in working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and we will closely monitor the success of the pilots in working with those young people.

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. Given that education maintenance allowance is being scrapped and that the Connexions service in my constituency faces huge cuts, how can disadvantaged young people in Houghton and Sunderland South be confident that they will benefit from the national citizen service?

The hon. Lady will be glad to know that a number of NCS pilots are taking place in and around her constituency. The Prince’s Trust is running a pilot in collaboration with local partners, including Sunderland football club, and Catch22 is running pilots in Sunderland and Washington. I hope that she will engage directly with those organisations to ensure that the widest possible range of participants is attracted to those pilots.