Rushanara Ali MP called on the government to ensure that young people who receive help from the National Citizens Service will be able to continue their progress in ambitious plans for a new mentoring scheme, during the second reading of the National Citizens Service Bill.
The National Citizen Service facilitates 15 – 17 year olds from all background to come together for between three to four weeks, mainly in the summer holidays after GCSE exams. Working together to deliver a project to make a difference in their community these young people learn important life skills, increasing their levels of civic engagements and social action.
It has already delivered 8 million hours of youth volunteering since its inception in 2009 with more than 300,000 teenagers taking part in NCS programs across the UK.
Speaking in the chamber, Rushanara highlighted the important work that NCS does with the charity Uprising, which she co-founded and chairs, as it has recently delivered the NCS program from its regional office in Birmingham to young people from the West Midlands.
But Rushanara called on the government to back a new program which she is establishing called One Million Mentors that aims to ensure that the progress that is made out of the NCS program is continued.
Speaking in the Chamber, she said:
“The NCS represents an impressive cross-party effort. Its precursor came under the previous Labour Government in the form of the “Be Inspired” programme in which Lord Blunkett and Gordon Brown, among others, were involved.”
“How much work will be done on successor programmes for the hundreds of thousands of young people who will be going through the NCS?”
Speaking after the debate she said:
“Mentoring can widen horizons, opportunities and networks for young people. 1MM will build a national online platform to recruit, train and deploy mentors to organisations working with young people.”