WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up once you've had a response. 2. Keep your question brief 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. See full guidelines here.

Live webchat with Big Society Minister Nick Hurd MP

(115 Posts)
KatieMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-Mar-12 15:59:48

Hi

We're pleased to welcome Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society, for a webchat on the government's National Citizen Service on Thursday 8th March from 1pm- 2pm. Also joining us will be 16-year-old Kiran Dhingra-Smith from Stratford, London, who recently completed the programme with National Citizen Service Provider the Football League Trust.

The National Citizen Service aims to aims to encourage integration of young people from diverse backgrounds helping them learn new life skills - and both our guests are looking forward to answering your questions on the programme.

Do post your question live on Thursday, but as ever, if you're not able to join us - please do post away below.

Best

MNHQ

MrsMicawber Wed 07-Mar-12 16:19:14

Thursday is Purim all the joosh posters will be guzzling busy.

Shame.

Anyway, I'd like to hear about the program.

NormaStanleyFletcher Wed 07-Mar-12 17:09:31

How is this scheme funded? tbh, it looks like a good thing. shock

Petunia12 Wed 07-Mar-12 19:30:39

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

bananaistheanswer Wed 07-Mar-12 20:37:40

Sounds like a rip-off of the Princes' Trust.

Petunia12 Wed 07-Mar-12 20:51:06

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 07-Mar-12 21:06:31

Hi Petunia12: please note that the webchat guidelines ask posters to be civil and polite. We've deleted your posts.

senua Wed 07-Mar-12 22:05:42

I don't understand the timing of the scheme. It seems to happen in the summer after the end of Year 11, after GCSEs. At this stage, children have already decided their next step and applied for sixth form, college or work.
Wouldn't it make more sense to have the scheme at the end of Year 10, to inspire them to make choices (that they might not have made otherwise) during the upcoming Year 11?

Crumblemum Wed 07-Mar-12 22:25:14

I'd like to ask Kiran a question. Was it difficult deciding to join the scheme or were you always keen? On projects I've been involved with (which weren't of the same scale) it was really difficult persuading people to get involved.

OPIorange Wed 07-Mar-12 22:47:32

Hello

Could you please provide a quick rundown of exactly what the National Citizens Service is for those of us too lazy busy to read the bumph? blush

FranciscanTrip Wed 07-Mar-12 23:05:06

I represent a community group that has been forced to give our time to a local library after the local council withdrew most of its funding. The library, which is in a very deprived area (top 5% most deprived in the UK) would otherwise have closed, and is well used by young people locally. We are struggling to get as many volunteers as we need from the local community, despite the fact that the library is well used and appreciated in the local area (this is largely because the people who live nearby are too busy simply getting by to give any time to 'volunteer') and so something like NCS could be useful to us in getting young, local people engaged in a genuinely local project. How do we get involved in this? Could NCS help us to get longer term young volunteers (not just one week)? Thanks.

senua Wed 07-Mar-12 23:27:53

FT youngsters doing the Duke of Edinburgh have to do long term volunteering as part of the Award - would they be of any use to you?

madwomanintheattic Thu 08-Mar-12 01:05:43

The website is lovely, v glossy and appealing to young people. It doesn't really give much information though... Just a 'send this form for info' tab...

What percentage of young people who apply will be accepted for the scheme and how is the selection done? It would be a huge shame if the kids who are motivated and actively taking part in d of e etc were to miss out just because they are already motivated, but by the same token, I can see that more disenfranchised youth might be a preferable target... And I can't imagine there are anywhere near enough slots for all yr 11s...

FranciscanTrip Thu 08-Mar-12 09:18:43

Will look into DoE thanks!

VenetiaLanyon Thu 08-Mar-12 10:08:53

Hi Nick,

What do you specifically feel is lacking at the moment in society that this programme is aiming to address?

Is it the lack of involvement of people of all ages in community projects, is it a lack of specific skills and confidence to tackle new ventures, or do you feel that people from different backgrounds don't mingle enought to understand each other's issues?

In other words, how are you expecting this programme to benefit society as a whole?

Thanks smile

TheBlackShiksa Thu 08-Mar-12 10:50:40

Do you think 2 weeks is really enough time for kids to learn life skills? How are we paying for this? And what about disadvantaged or troubled youngsters? Don't you think by 16 they're often 'too far gone' to be reached or respond to authority?

TheBlackShiksa Thu 08-Mar-12 10:53:47

What do you think about the work experience programme? And the Labour Force Survey's figures that 44% of young black people (18-24) are unemployed as opposed to 20% of white youngsters? What are you doing about this and how will the NCS help?

Crumblemum Thu 08-Mar-12 11:02:25

Can I ask another question? What was it like growing up with a politician as a parent? Do you have kids and worry about what it's like for them - or was it a good experience?

fiftieshousewife Thu 08-Mar-12 11:05:10

Hello Kiran,

Can you tell us what you did on your programme, and how you think it will be useful to you? Are you going back into full-time education, or are you going to go into employment now?

poppyseeds99 Thu 08-Mar-12 11:15:00

Nick Hurd, did you do this kind of scheme, Duke of Edinburgh or equivalent, when you were younger? Shouldn't we be focussing on the improvement of our schools and the standard of education, rather than sending children off to two week Citizen Service placements?

BoffinMum Thu 08-Mar-12 11:42:36

Hello Nick,

Over here in Boffinland, some of us are at present trying to write an academic paper on certain aspects of the Big Society, but I must confess there has been a collective realisation amongst myself and colleagues that we are not actually sure what it is, as messages seem a bit confused at the moment. We think we know what you mean by this term, from manifestos and policy documents and media reports and so on, but we are not entirely sure. Could you point us towards an exact definition, please? If there is one? Or would you say defining it is a work in progress?

Many thanks,
BoffinMum and team

BoffinMum Thu 08-Mar-12 11:47:52

Gosh, here already, very keen ...

LineRunner Thu 08-Mar-12 11:58:01

May I ask, what on earth is going on on this thread?

FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 08-Mar-12 12:00:22

Sorry Boffin Mum just testing here and accidentally deleted your message! Sorry!

LineRunner Thu 08-Mar-12 12:03:09

Oh, you were testing! It looked like Nick Hurd was posting filth and you were having to delete it.

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 12:05:53

TEST

LineRunner Thu 08-Mar-12 12:07:07

Dear Nick Hurd MP,

Many of your Liberal Democrat colleagues in Government are hugely sceptical of the 'Big Society' agenda, seeing it as a Cameronian concept with which you are all now lumbered. Do you agree that there are real communication problems with the Big Society, and that these are an artefact of the concept's incoherence?

Yours,

LineRunner (Mother To Two Teenagers)

LineRunner Thu 08-Mar-12 12:10:48

Dear Kiran,

What's it like being a teenager living in Stratford; and did you feel stereotyped doing a football related programme? What if you had wanted to get involved in, say, the financial or legal sectors - would that have been possible?

Good luck and all best wishes for the future; and thank you for coming onto this web chat on MN.

LR

FrancesMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 08-Mar-12 12:13:12

FrancesMumsnet

Sorry Boffin Mum just testing here and accidentally deleted your message! Sorry!

smile

Dear Mr Hurd
Do you think the National Citizen Service idea is, at best, a drop in the ocean, when compared to the Government's current policies that create a two-tier society, with particular reference to the scrapping of ESA for young people from families on low incomes therefore seemingly restricting access to further education to those who can afford it rather than those who deserve it and what are now incredibly high levels of youth unemployment with no real attempt by the Government to provide a solution (and unpaid labour that does not lead to either a job or a qualification is not a solution, despite what some Coalition spokespeople have said)?
Best regards

Jenski Thu 08-Mar-12 12:44:19

For Mr Hurd,
How much does this cost? How financially effective is this? Would it not be better money into secondary school to provide EVERY child with this opportunity, using already skilled teachers, and boosting the moral of communities in deprevied areas, and improving the image of younger people locally?

Oh, and please do define 'The Big Society' as asked earlier. My opinion is that local community is of more importance.
Thanks.

Jenski Thu 08-Mar-12 12:45:43

Sorry 'placing money into secondary schools'

LineRunner Thu 08-Mar-12 12:49:29

Just general comment, really, to pass the time...

Margaret Thatcher famously said there is no such thing as society, only individuals and their families. I wonder if this is an embarrassment now?

Personally I'd rather my 16 year old daughter, in an urban state school, had two weeks' quality maths teaching than anything else right now. What does that tell you? (And Michael Gove hasn't got a gnat's clue abaout education if he doesn't get it that allowing poor teaching is at the heart of everything.)

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 12:58:35

Hi everybody, very pleased to be here and thank you to Mumsnet for inviting me, I hope to cover all your questions, we're just waiting for Kiran but we'll make a start

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:04:53

OPIorange

Hello

Could you please provide a quick rundown of exactly what the National Citizens Service is for those of us too lazy busy to read the bumph? blush

Hello OPIorange, NCS is a programme for 16 yr olds, after they've taken their GCSE's we throw together young people from very different backgrounds so they get a chance to meet people they wouldn't otherwise meet. They leave their community to go and live together for 2 weeks, the first week is spent teambuilding doing outward bound stuff like canoeing, rock climbing , abseiling all of which is brilliant for building confidence. The 2nd week is spent learning about their community and at the end they are challenged to lead their own community action project. Its all designed to make them more work ready and connected with their power to make a positive difference in their own communities.

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 13:08:02

Hi I'm here now, sorry for the delay you know how trains and buses are
If anyone has any questions for me , fire away smile

rampart Thu 08-Mar-12 13:09:01

Hi
I live in a very rural area. We have lost practically ALL services since this government came into power. All youth provision has been scrapped - for a while the youth workers continued, unpaid, but this wasn't realistic long term. Transport has been stopped so now they can't travel to the nearest towns (both an hour away) to go to college or find work. The number of NEETS is growing. What chance do young people have if there is no investment in them?

LineRunner Thu 08-Mar-12 13:09:40

"at the end they are challenged to lead their own community action project."

How does this happen, in practice?

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:11:10

VenetiaLanyon

Hi Nick,

What do you specifically feel is lacking at the moment in society that this programme is aiming to address?

Is it the lack of involvement of people of all ages in community projects, is it a lack of specific skills and confidence to tackle new ventures, or do you feel that people from different backgrounds don't mingle enought to understand each other's issues?

In other words, how are you expecting this programme to benefit society as a whole?

Thanks smile

Hi VenetiaLanyon,

Let me answer this by what young people who have been on the programme say. They like the chance to make friends with people from different schools and different backgrounds. They like the opportunity to do things that they never thought they would or could do. That helps build their confidence and self esteem. And they like the chance to do something very positive in their communities. Most of them are sick of how young people are portrayed. Over three quarters of them will go on to do more community work. So I think the programme helps build social cohesion ;helps young people build their skills and confidence and engage with the area they live in.

LineRunner Thu 08-Mar-12 13:11:35

Hello Kiran, yes the buses in my area are awful!

I asked you a question back up the thread. Nice to 'meet' you. smile

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 13:13:07

LineRunner

Dear Kiran,

What's it like being a teenager living in Stratford; and did you feel stereotyped doing a football related programme? What if you had wanted to get involved in, say, the financial or legal sectors - would that have been possible?

Good luck and all best wishes for the future; and thank you for coming onto this web chat on MN.

LR

To be honest I dont really know how to answer, its normal for me growing up around stratford and forest gate. I think if you know your area you'll be okay and it aint to bad, but thats just me.
Well even though it was done by a football club they made it clear to us that it werent actually them running it and itwerent neccesasrily to do with football. But for me that wasnt a problem as im into sports.
Also I think if you do want to get involved in that you could still do ncs , it just opens your eyes to different sides of things as one of my friends from it now does more about journalism because of ncs.

Thank you for the questions

Al0uise Thu 08-Mar-12 13:14:26

How is this programme being funded while we're in such dire straits financially?

Gleek Thu 08-Mar-12 13:14:36

Whilst I think the idea of NCS is an ok one, would long term mentor schemes not be as/even more effective? Were these considered as part of the policy making?

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:15:38

senua

I don't understand the timing of the scheme. It seems to happen in the summer after the end of Year 11, after GCSEs. At this stage, children have already decided their next step and applied for sixth form, college or work.
Wouldn't it make more sense to have the scheme at the end of Year 10, to inspire them to make choices (that they might not have made otherwise) during the upcoming Year 11?

Hi senua,

We are still piloting it and may test how it works with different ages. However, we chose the end of year 11 for two reasons. 1) kids have more 'down time' post their GCSE's and 2) 16 is a complicated age and we think this challenging programme will help them make the difficult transition to adulthood.

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 13:15:57

fiftieshousewife

Hello Kiran,

Can you tell us what you did on your programme, and how you think it will be useful to you? Are you going back into full-time education, or are you going to go into employment now?

I did a two week residential in both sheffield and chigwell and then did 30hours working in my local youth centre, to help with coaching and running it.
I am in full time education, studying 4alevels but i also do volunteering work for leyton orient, which i got through the ncs programme.

PostBellumBugsy Thu 08-Mar-12 13:16:32

I would like to ask the Minister, what advantage NCS has over a long tried and tested programmes like The Duke of Edinburgh's Awards or other youth programmes run by the Scouts, Guides etc? Could the Government not be accused of re-inventing the wheel (at great expense), when a programme like the DofE already delivers to 300,000 plus young people a year in the UK at virtually no expense to the tax payer?

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:20:33

BoffinMum

Hello Nick,

Over here in Boffinland, some of us are at present trying to write an academic paper on certain aspects of the Big Society, but I must confess there has been a collective realisation amongst myself and colleagues that we are not actually sure what it is, as messages seem a bit confused at the moment. We think we know what you mean by this term, from manifestos and policy documents and media reports and so on, but we are not entirely sure. Could you point us towards an exact definition, please? If there is one? Or would you say defining it is a work in progress?

Many thanks,
BoffinMum and team

Hi Boffin Mum and all residents of Boffinland

I am very relaxed about definitions of Big Society. For me it is about encouraging more people to work together for the common good. We face so many challenges as a country : it makes no sense to delegate all responsibility to Government. Government has an incredibly important role to play but I think we all have responsibilities beyond paying our taxes and I think there are so many people out there with talent, experiences and ideas that we do not make enough use of. So we should be encouraging and supporting more people to get involved in their communities. Thats what we are trying to do.

BeanAboutTown Thu 08-Mar-12 13:20:43

Mr Hurd: hope you don't mind me asking this (and it's not really on-topic), but how did you feel, as you were growing up, about your dad's depiction in the press and on telly? I'm thinking in particular about the 'ice-cream hair' on Spitting Image. Did it secretly upset you or were you pretty robust about the whole thing?

Bellstar Thu 08-Mar-12 13:22:01

I would like to ask the minister-why are you wasting money on schemes like this when so many children are leaving school unable to read or write properly?

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:23:44

LineRunner

"at the end they are challenged to lead their own community action project."

How does this happen, in practice?

Let me give you an example. Last year a group learnt about homelessness in Harrow ( which many of them were unaware of) .They were introduced to a local charity that was trying to do something about it. They slept rough to get a taste and they were so inspired by the whole experience that they decided their community project was to raise money for that charity and raise awareness of homelessness among their peer group.

fiftieshousewife Thu 08-Mar-12 13:24:36

Thanks Kiran. Do you think it's going to make a big difference to your future career/choices? (Although with four A-Levels, it doesn't sound as though you're going to be having too muych dificulty grin)

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 13:24:39

LineRunner

Just general comment, really, to pass the time...

Margaret Thatcher famously said there is no such thing as society, only individuals and their families. I wonder if this is an embarrassment now?

Personally I'd rather my 16 year old daughter, in an urban state school, had two weeks' quality maths teaching than anything else right now. What does that tell you? (And Michael Gove hasn't got a gnat's clue abaout education if he doesn't get it that allowing poor teaching is at the heart of everything.)

Hi, i'm 16 myself and I did this programme at 16 and i've definetly benefited from this experience. I understand what you mean about doing something else, but personally i really think this is a good way to spend your holidays after just finishing gcse exmas, which are stressful, as you need time to relax and spend some time with friends and let loose really. For the record I'm doing maths and three alevels at the moment in college and I think we have great teaching.

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:26:01

Crumblemum

Can I ask another question? What was it like growing up with a politician as a parent? Do you have kids and worry about what it's like for them - or was it a good experience?

Hi Crumblemum
It made me promise myself not to become an MP. My wife is the daughter of an MP. She promised herself that she would never marry an MP. Go figure!

LineRunner Thu 08-Mar-12 13:26:27

BeanAboutTown, I think that's good question. One of the careers I would specifically advise my daughter (16) not to pursue is politics, because of the loss of privacy, the party expectations, the detriment to family life and constant denigrations (e.g. unevidenced accusations of being on the gravy train / in thrall to Big Money). It must be particularly horrible being a decent Minister in today's politics.

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 13:26:56

fiftieshousewife

Thanks Kiran. Do you think it's going to make a big difference to your future career/choices? (Although with four A-Levels, it doesn't sound as though you're going to be having too muych dificulty grin)

Well NCS has definetly made a difference to my future career choices already! Its giving me a chance to see if I like doing the coaching side of sports and right now to be honest I don't actually know what I want to do future wise, but all in good time.

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:27:35

BeanAboutTown

Mr Hurd: hope you don't mind me asking this (and it's not really on-topic), but how did you feel, as you were growing up, about your dad's depiction in the press and on telly? I'm thinking in particular about the 'ice-cream hair' on Spitting Image. Did it secretly upset you or were you pretty robust about the whole thing?

Hi BeanAboutTown

I am very proud of my Dad and I tried to buy his Spitting image on Ebay. Its his birthday today !

NarkedPuffin Thu 08-Mar-12 13:29:44

That sounds like a good programme.

Sir Stuart Etherington's (chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations) recently commented that Public spending cuts are "knocking out the voluntary sector capacity" needed to support the government’s big society agenda.

On International Women's Day perhaps you could address the impact of cuts on charitable organisations like The Stratford Advice Arcade which aims to help those suffering from domestic violence. Shelters for women and children fleeing domestic violence are having to turn people away every day thanks to funding cuts.

You're quoted as saying We know that government can't solve all the problems so why not give us all more power and responsibility to improve our own lives, the communities we share and the public services we use?

Willpower alone can't provide beds, counselling and legal advice. How can 'Big Society' help the victims of domestic violence when the Government is cutting funding and forcing Local Authorities to do the same?

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:31:00

TheBlackShiksa

What do you think about the work experience programme? And the Labour Force Survey's figures that 44% of young black people (18-24) are unemployed as opposed to 20% of white youngsters? What are you doing about this and how will the NCS help?

Hi TheBlackShiksa

What I care about is young people getting jobs. I am told that 50% of those going through the Work Experience programme end up with jobs and that sounds good to me. The figures you quote are worrying. In my experience NCS can help a young person become more " workready" because it helps build the so called " social skills" that employers keep telling us are missing from too many young people.

Jenski Thu 08-Mar-12 13:31:16

Great delegation of responsibility above to Boffinmum!

Unfortunately, the government has the overall responsibility and are 'in the know' long before the tax payer. The average tax payer faces many challenges caused by decisions made by the government. There is much talk of 'different' backgrounds, but surely that is because there are so many rich public school Tories who haven't got a clue what life is like for a large percentage of the population.

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 13:31:36

Crumblemum

I'd like to ask Kiran a question. Was it difficult deciding to join the scheme or were you always keen? On projects I've been involved with (which weren't of the same scale) it was really difficult persuading people to get involved.

It wasn't really difficult for me to decide as I didn't have much else to do in that time period, and also i was the only person who joined from my school. So when i went i didnt actually know anybody. I agree with you it is difficult to persuade people and this was also the case in my school but I think if you have people who have already experienced it (like myself) it brings in more people as now my friends do wish thay did it instead of stay at home !

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:33:00

bananaistheanswer

Sounds like a rip-off of the Princes' Trust.

Hi bananaistheanswer

I am a big fan of Princes Trust and would not waste taxpayers money replicating what they do . NCS is different and very complementary

Jenski Thu 08-Mar-12 13:34:59

Surestart Centres - so few now, how does that help the 'Big Society'? These helped people in deprived areas and beyond!

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:36:49

Al0uise

How is this programme being funded while we're in such dire straits financially?

Hi AlOuise

The programme is mostly funded by the taxpayer at the moment. We think that is justified because it is an investment in young people and the early results of this programme are very positive. 9 out of 10 young people would recommend it to their friends. 9 out of 10 parents would recommend it to other parents. Schools like it because it seems to increase the engagement of young people when back in school. But you make a good point about tough times and other spending priorities. That is why we are piloting it to make sure that it works for the taxpayer as well as the young people.

Voidka Thu 08-Mar-12 13:38:58

Are you aiming to help more than 1700 people, the number of disabled people who will be left without jobs when the Remploy factories close?

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 13:39:07

TheBlackShiksa

Do you think 2 weeks is really enough time for kids to learn life skills? How are we paying for this? And what about disadvantaged or troubled youngsters? Don't you think by 16 they're often 'too far gone' to be reached or respond to authority?

Hi, its kiran and I'd like to answer your question

2weeks does sound like a short time but thats not all of the programme, thats only half, you still have the community side of it which also counts as time to learn skill. All throughout the scheme i was learning things. I learnt things from the army when they came in on our residential and also when we was doing our community side, interacting with younger kids then ourselves and confidence. But you also got that when you went away, those two weeks build up team work skills and social.

Also i dont think anyone can be 'too far gone', everyone is at a different stage in life and you cant assume that because of their age that they are further 'gone' then others. Everyone deserves another chance to be helped.

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:39:11

Gleek

Whilst I think the idea of NCS is an ok one, would long term mentor schemes not be as/even more effective? Were these considered as part of the policy making?

Hi Gleek

I am a strong believer in good mentorship schemes particularly at key transition points in a young persons life. I think they complement NCS which in my experience can change a young persons view of him/herself and what they can achieve.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 08-Mar-12 13:42:21

As it's International Women's Day today (and this is a web-chat on Mumsnet) can you tell us how the scheme specifically helps young women ?

Jenski Thu 08-Mar-12 13:43:00

How many children could actually be part of this scheme, should interest be great? and how are they chosen if numbers exceed expectation?

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:43:26

Bellstar

I would like to ask the minister-why are you wasting money on schemes like this when so many children are leaving school unable to read or write properly?

Hi Bellstar

Understand the point but there is a huge amount of effort and investment going into reforming education and improving standards. This is a tiny investment compared to that and so far has definitely not been a waste of money. I have emails from people who have been working in the youth sector for many years and say it is the best programme they have ever come across. And I don't think that any programme that helps brings kids together ; gives them the skills they need ; and connects them with their community can be dismissed in that way !

thebestisyettocome Thu 08-Mar-12 13:45:07

Hi Nick and Kiran.

I wonder what you both think of the idea of National Service for young people? What if there was a compulsary programme for young people to do things they were interested in whether it's military training or community work. Is this something that's been mooted at Government level Nick?

Good luck with your A levels Kiran smile

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:45:11

Jenski

How many children could actually be part of this scheme, should interest be great? and how are they chosen if numbers exceed expectation?

Hi Jenski

30,000 places piloted this year. 90,000 places in 2014. PM has said that ultimately we want to make it available to all 16 year olds if it proves its value.

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 13:46:38

JugglingWithTangentialOranges

As it's International Women's Day today (and this is a web-chat on Mumsnet) can you tell us how the scheme specifically helps young women ?

Hi, its kiran
And I guess i'm classed as a young women, I don't think it targets specifically young women but everyone. Everyone when i was there was given an equal chance and if you didnt want to do something you were nver pressured so that you felt uncomfortable. It opens your eyes to whats around you and what you can do to help your community. Also when you're away, there's female group leaders so that you can always go to them if you dont feel comfortable going to a male.

Merrylegs Thu 08-Mar-12 13:47:05

Yikes, hope I am not too late to this and have only skimmed thread but ..

My son did this NCS last summer after his GCSEs. Or rather - he tried to. Here in Norfolk it was called One Big Summer and it sounded really good. A bit of fun, some community work, a graduation - something structured yet useful in the downtime after GCSEs and before the holdays 'proper' started.

In reality it was a massive letdown.

Because it wasn't delivered properly.

Here the Youth Service has been cut, there are no Youth Workers, so the very people who had the infrastucture, the peer group contacts, the understanding of young people weren't around to deliver it.

It was handed over to a football club who are great at summer schools and fun but were beyond useless at recruiting and engaging with the very group they were trying to reach. My 16 year old was really up for the volunteering side of things and not so interested in the PGL adventure camp (kind of too old now) but all the time the emphasis was on the fun and they really played down the community side as a 'boring' add on. It was woeful actually. It seemed as if they just didn't believe in the whole thing and as a concsequence found it really hard to recruit any young people.

My point is, you can't have the 'big ideas' and the 'big society' without an understanding of who is actually going to facilitate and deliver these ideas.

Jenski Thu 08-Mar-12 13:47:23

Where will jobs be advertised for specialists wishing to work on the program?

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 08-Mar-12 13:48:59

Thanks Kiran,
I'm glad you had such a good experience on the programme and felt well supported, including by female group leaders smile All the best for your future !

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:49:42

thebestisyettocome

Hi Nick and Kiran.

I wonder what you both think of the idea of National Service for young people? What if there was a compulsary programme for young people to do things they were interested in whether it's military training or community work. Is this something that's been mooted at Government level Nick?

Good luck with your A levels Kiran smile

Hi thebestisyettocome

This whole thing started from a challenge that David Cameron posed back in 2005. He said ( and I paraphrase) " We are not very good in this country at helping young people make the transition to adulthood . Can we design a modern version of national service that has no military aspect but which invites young people from very different backgrounds to share a common experience that stretches and challenges them and helps them develop skills they will need? " That is what we are trying to do. No plans to make it compulsory. We want to make it so good that everyone wants to do it.

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:52:02

thebestisyettocome

Hi Nick and Kiran.

I wonder what you both think of the idea of National Service for young people? What if there was a compulsary programme for young people to do things they were interested in whether it's military training or community work. Is this something that's been mooted at Government level Nick?

Good luck with your A levels Kiran smile

Hi thebestisyettocome

This whole thing started from a challenge that David Cameron posed back in 2005. He said ( and I paraphrase) " We are not very good in this country at helping young people make the transition to adulthood . Can we design a modern version of national service that has no military aspect but which invites young people from very different backgrounds to share a common experience that stretches and challenges them and helps them develop skills they will need? " That is what we are trying to do. No plans to make it compulsory. We want to make it so good that everyone wants to do it.

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 13:52:55

thebestisyettocome

Hi Nick and Kiran.

I wonder what you both think of the idea of National Service for young people? What if there was a compulsary programme for young people to do things they were interested in whether it's military training or community work. Is this something that's been mooted at Government level Nick?

Good luck with your A levels Kiran smile

Personally I loved NCS , I've made friends from the summer who i still keep in touch with now and are actually some of my good friends. It gives you oppurtunities that you would never think were there. E.g one of my friends now does journalism thanks to NCS.
Thanks for wishing me good luck blush

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 08-Mar-12 13:53:43

Will you be supporting other similar programmes, such as the Guide and Scout movements, the DofE scheme etc. ?

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:55:00

JugglingWithTangentialOranges

As it's International Women's Day today (and this is a web-chat on Mumsnet) can you tell us how the scheme specifically helps young women ?

Hi JugglingwithTangentialOranges

Happy International Women's day to all. Kiran , sitting next to me, is well placed to give you a personal answer. All I will say is some of the most positive voices I have heard have come from young women who took part last year.

dollymixtures Thu 08-Mar-12 13:55:45

This all sounds lovely and great for the young people involved, I'm all for boosting confidence BUT at a time when more young people are volunteering than ever before what is the real worth of this scheme? How do you plan to engage those kids who have no motivation or desire to be part of their community?

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 08-Mar-12 13:56:43

Hi - Yes, she did give me a great personal answer, thanks !

thebestisyettocome Thu 08-Mar-12 13:56:56

Thanks for the answers. I was wondering if this was some sort of way of the Government wanting to head towards compulsary National Service...

It's lovely to hear your enthusiasm Kiran.

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 13:59:30

Merrylegs

Yikes, hope I am not too late to this and have only skimmed thread but ..

My son did this NCS last summer after his GCSEs. Or rather - he tried to. Here in Norfolk it was called One Big Summer and it sounded really good. A bit of fun, some community work, a graduation - something structured yet useful in the downtime after GCSEs and before the holdays 'proper' started.

In reality it was a massive letdown.

Because it wasn't delivered properly.

Here the Youth Service has been cut, there are no Youth Workers, so the very people who had the infrastucture, the peer group contacts, the understanding of young people weren't around to deliver it.

It was handed over to a football club who are great at summer schools and fun but were beyond useless at recruiting and engaging with the very group they were trying to reach. My 16 year old was really up for the volunteering side of things and not so interested in the PGL adventure camp (kind of too old now) but all the time the emphasis was on the fun and they really played down the community side as a 'boring' add on. It was woeful actually. It seemed as if they just didn't believe in the whole thing and as a concsequence found it really hard to recruit any young people.

My point is, you can't have the 'big ideas' and the 'big society' without an understanding of who is actually going to facilitate and deliver these ideas.

Hi Merrylegs

That is really interesting feedback and i will take it up with that particular provider. The honest truth is that last year we were piloting it and predictably some providers and some experiences were better than others. Overall we are delighted with the positive feedback we had , but we know that we have to berelentless in quality standards. The point you make about people delivering it is crucial: it is always people that make the difference.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 08-Mar-12 14:00:13

I think it's more of a positive alternative to bringing back National Service - as many older people suggest that would be a good idea, but younger people have misgivings about the military aspect (as would I)

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 14:01:55

dollymixtures

This all sounds lovely and great for the young people involved, I'm all for boosting confidence BUT at a time when more young people are volunteering than ever before what is the real worth of this scheme? How do you plan to engage those kids who have no motivation or desire to be part of their community?

Speaking from a kids view and seeing people I know have no motivation I'd say to get them engaged do something they actually want to do!
Your group decides on what they want to do for the community side and if the kids choose it all they're in charge of their own doings, but ofcourse being overseen to it aswell. Also there's more sides to the community then people imagine and guranteed they won't know every part. So if some things were to be chucked at them (verbally) and they brainstorm it, they'd hopefully be able to find something they may enjoy doing.

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 14:03:52

Jenski

Great delegation of responsibility above to Boffinmum!

Unfortunately, the government has the overall responsibility and are 'in the know' long before the tax payer. The average tax payer faces many challenges caused by decisions made by the government. There is much talk of 'different' backgrounds, but surely that is because there are so many rich public school Tories who haven't got a clue what life is like for a large percentage of the population.

Hi Jenski

Yes Government has a big responsibility but we should not delegate all responsibility to them . Everyone has the power to make a difference.

In my experience , the ' rich public school' kids get as much out of NCS as anyone. They need to see the wider world and be connected with their social responsibility. It's for everyone

Jenski Thu 08-Mar-12 14:04:20

Do you think the money for this project would be better handed to schools, who know their pupils and therefore can provide opportunities for all?

dollymixtures Thu 08-Mar-12 14:05:51

Thanks Kiran, I have to say you sound very motivated already and I suspect would be doing great things regardless of this opportunity smile

I'm wondering how you get people even interested in applying - you said you were the only one from your school to get involved. How do you think that could be changed?

thebestisyettocome Thu 08-Mar-12 14:06:08

Juggling.
See my last post. I too would also have problems with the military aspect which is why I wanted to know if this was going to be some sort of forerunner to NS...

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 14:07:18

JugglingWithTangentialOranges

Will you be supporting other similar programmes, such as the Guide and Scout movements, the DofE scheme etc. ?

Hi JugglingWithTangentialOranges

Good point. Interestingly very few of the young people who took part last year had got involved with any of the other programmes. So I think there is an opportunity here. NCS can light a spark in a young person which then needs nurturing. I am very keen that we connect NCS graduates with the opportunity to get involved in other programmes. So for example there are 30,000 kids waiting to get onto Scouts : they cant because there are not enough leaders. I hope that some NCS graduates will be motivated to become young Scout leaders

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 14:08:22

By the way if anyone wants more information on NCS , the new website is www.nationalcitizenservice.direct.gov.uk

Merrylegs Thu 08-Mar-12 14:08:40

Please do take it up! Norfolk was divided into four areas -(North, South, East and West actually!) Only one area was half way interested - the rest were useless. There were meant to be four different schemes - in the end they were amalgamated into one, and most of the kids came from one particular high school - they obviously had a good liason person.

Interestingly enough, when I dropped my son off for the first week of the scheme, the organiser said they had just had a phone call from a NCS in East London asking if they could send a group of their young people to Norfolk for the week as their scheme had collapsed somehow. They were going to put these kids on a train to Norwich that day! It was a real mess tbh.

(I am glad you had a good experience, Kiran. That's exactly the kind of thing my 16 year old was looking for but it didn't happen here.)

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 14:09:01

Jenski

Do you think the money for this project would be better handed to schools, who know their pupils and therefore can provide opportunities for all?

Personally I dont think so, as you want to get away from school!
And if you've just finished your GCSE exams there's nothing keeping you there anymore , the summer holidays are yours! Because until college you can't really do anything that much, thats why i think this is good because it gives you different oppurtunities which frankly a secondary school wouldnt be able to give you and definitly wouldn't give the same impact as from a new place.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 08-Mar-12 14:10:21

I'm sure it's a similar situation within the Guide movement - my daughter's group is currently looking for new leaders in order to continue for example.

LineRunner Thu 08-Mar-12 14:11:30

I definitely agree with Kiran on that one. My daughter's school is not a place she's want to spend a summer at age 16.

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 08-Mar-12 14:11:37

We need Kate Middleton to champion the Guides and not just the Scouts !!

dollymixtures Thu 08-Mar-12 14:11:52

I've got to admit to not being wild about my tax being used to enable 'rich public school kids' to see the wider world hmm. I might be wrong but I would think they have enough access to opportunity without being handed more at a time when libraries are being shut, elderly people are choosing between heat and food, etc, etc

KiranDhingraSmith Thu 08-Mar-12 14:12:05

Hi again guys,
I'm actually writing this here now to say bye, its been really fun being on mumsnet and well thank you for having me and giving me questions to answer grin

Take care

NickHurdMP Thu 08-Mar-12 14:12:35

I have run out of time!. Very conscious that I have not answered all the questions which is partly down to my slow typing. I will do my best to answer the other questions later on and Mumsnet have kindly offered to post them.

Thanks for having me and for your interest in NCS: it is still at pilot stage but we are very excited about it , and the vast majority of the young people and parents I spoke to said it was a great use of time post GCSEs.

Signing off

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 08-Mar-12 14:13:03

Or should that be The duchess of Cambridge !

Jenski Thu 08-Mar-12 14:13:57

I was thinking more that this could be part of the curriculum. There are many children in school who would benefit from this within their whole time at secondary school (so not just two weeks) where they could link with local community projects in a more formal way and be rewarded for their efforts.

Jenski Thu 08-Mar-12 14:16:02

Thanks for the reply to my previous question too.

In response, I am a big believer in 'People' power, but know that there are many people who are very unhappy at the moment, due to loss of earnings, high energy prices, watching the news, banker bonuses etc... this causes a feeling of powerlessness that can cause lethargy and apathy. Many of these people are parents/grandparents and they feel they have seen it all before!

JugglingWithTangentialOranges Thu 08-Mar-12 14:16:44

Thanks for telling us about the programme - I hadn't heard about it before.

Am now hoping my two DCs smile will be able to take part in it in a few years time !

dollymixtures Thu 08-Mar-12 14:36:19

Absolutely Jenski. Our secondary school has extensive links with local charities and organisations and virtually every pupil gets involved, partly because its given time within the curriculum. For example, A-level PE students run sports clubs for our primary school as part of their lesson time.

FWIW a lot of the team building stuff is already offered by public schools, what a shame our state schools don't have the funding to offer it too.

What I don't see is how this programme offers anything new. Motivated and able people like Kiran will always find opportunities for themselves whether its DOE, operation Raleigh, scout leading, etc. But let's be honest they aren't the ones we need to worry about are they?

as an ex secondary school teacher i'd say no this couldn't be successfully done in school by teachers. i agree with what kiran said and the wanting to get away from school but it's also more than that.

the majority of teachers i've worked with would just not have the kind of skills set and relationship with young people to do this let alone the time and energy. kids need fresh eyes for this - people without already fixed ideas about them as individuals and as a group and who are very 'real life' based rather than institutionalised as many teachers kind of are.

you don't need the roles and dynamics of student/teacher and the dynamics and assumptions of those roles in something like this. it has to be fresh and introduce kids to new people from very different backgrounds than they are used to seeing in order to broaden their horizons and give them a bit of a boost that there is more out there than school and more diverse directions adults can go in than those which have been modeled to them in school. they also need to feel like they're being judged on what they do there and then without pre-conceptions and 'history' - re a fresh start. school can't give that.

i'm surprised to say that this scheme sounds good and it would be great to offer this to all kids at this stage of their lives. for those continuing with education it gives them some sense of what they're studying for and what they might want to do later and therefore hopefully makes their future studies and the work they need to do to get to where they want to be. the boost in maturity and confidence would aid their studies. for those who aren't going on to study more it can be a way in to gaining some skills and involvement so they don't just drift off from society at that point and for some of those it will lead to work or to going back to studies to get skills they need for something they've decided they want to do.

it would definitely need to continue to mix kids up though - as in from all over the place rather than their usual peer group which is another good reason it couldn't be done by schools. meeting and having to 'work' in a new group under different circumstances than you are used to (school) has massive developmental benefits - it is challenging and makes you grow rather than just rely on old dynamics.

this is actually something i'd like to get involved with. i want to be involved with mental health education - as in a kind of immunisation programme where you learn about self esteem, personal development, problem solving, self care, positive relationships and give them the basic skills of cbt, relaxation, self awareness etc. would love to see that incorporated.

give us a job someone!!

Jenski Fri 09-Mar-12 09:09:35

Swallowfly - there is a vacancy section on the National Citizen website - very poorly paid though (compared to teaching anyway).

I too see that this can be a beneficial program, as long as the opportunities are equal across the country. From what I can see from the participating organisations, there are very few in certain parts of the country (particularly these further from London). Without the backup of the community to which they return to, there is not going to be any follow up to the 2 weeks.

I don't really agree with you when it comes to teachers. I know many that have extremely positive relationships with their pupils, and that they can and do provide pupils with the 'tools' required to go forward in their lives in an informed, confident way. I think schools should be at the core of communities, and therefore links with charities and the voluntary sector should be happening as a matter of course.

Public schools often do this, in the form of a 'community service' where pupils visit and support elderly vulnerable people, by visiting and doing basic chores for them. The idea that young people are unable to make good decisions without a government program shows that there is something lacking in the secondary school curriculum. I think motivational specialists should be in secondary schools (either as visitors or teachers).

My worry is that the type of pupils who would apply for this program, would be the tye of pupil that would not necessarily need it, although it would look good on a CV. I'm not sure that it would reach the ones that are suffering through deprivation and poverty in some of the more needy areas of the country (although if it did it may well inspire them). Presumably it would need parental support too, which may not always be easy.

i think those pupils are more likely to do it if it is not connected to the school and their history with it.

if it is a positive experience then it will get a great reputation and people will want to do it - as kiran said people she knew regretted not doing it when they heard how much she enjoyed and saw what others got out of it.

dollymixtures Fri 09-Mar-12 10:42:20

Jenski - you've articulated what I've been thinking perfectly, thanks very much grin.

SAF - I do see what you're saying however I didn't envisage teachers providing this but facilitating the programme much as public schools do. I think the fact that some kids are so turned off school and the experience of learning there is terribly sad and not something that should be exacerbated by saying "yeah we know school is boring and pointless, here try this new exciting thing that is nothing to do with it." Why can't we make schooling an exciting thing?

Jenski Fri 09-Mar-12 12:29:43

Thanks Dollymixtures smile - I'm not usually good at explaining how I'm thinking. And, I agree with you, if the image of school is 'dull/boring', the image of school needs to change. Opportunities need to be available at school, which is much more accessible than the possibility of an application being accepted for a 2 week program (which may or may not be good depending on your geographical location).

dollymixtures Fri 09-Mar-12 13:45:39

It just sounds like a reinvention of the wheel, and at a time when we're told there's no money for luxuries like DV support or legal aid, one has to question why there is funding available for this, or why they aren't using established knowledge bases like schools to deliver it. I suspect it's because this govt don't actually trust teachers

<thinks about who the education minister is>

<shoots self in head>

PostBellumBugsy Fri 09-Mar-12 14:05:11

I don't have a problem with the NCS, but it is a very short programme & it is hard to see quite what difference it will make to the long-term outcomes of a 16 year old. I also can't quite understand why the Government think they need to develop their own programme when well proven schemes already exist.
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award charity runs a far more comprehensive programme up & down the country for over 300,000 young people every year. It is delivered entirely by volunteers and costs the tax payer nothing. It has been running since 1956 and has a proven benefit to those who take part.
How about the Scouts with over 400,000 taking part and Girl Guides with about half a million participants?
Three huge charities delivering amazing youth work programmes with a proven benefit. Why couldn't the Government have supported those, put some money behind recruiting & training more volunteers to increase delivery, rather than a completely different scheme?

dollymixtures Fri 09-Mar-12 14:20:16

Exactly PBB. There's also some irony in NH's response at 14.03, saying that society shouldn't hand responsibility to govt when this appears to be a prime example of govt taking on a responsibilty that it doesnt need to whilst ignoring those areas that absolutely are within its remit.

but it's not about saying school is boring and pointless or dull - who has said that? but at 16 it's good to something genuinely new and unblemished and have a chance to develop new and unblemished, by your past, relationships.

i do agree that this can seem a bit like playing with the icing when the cake is burning in the over - in the sense of increased fees, scrapping of the ema, screwing surestart etc.

i still like the idea of giving young people the chance to have an experience that they wouldn't otherwise, to meet people and get involved with a group of equals to work together and learn about themselves, group dynamics, problem solving etc. it's a way to make kids see a bigger world of more options and possibilities that many don't get the chance for (i'm thinking those who don't get to go to university).

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