Justin Tomlinson, MP for North Swindon, gave a talk to NCS students today in the New College theatre.
The National Citizen Service is a UK Government voluntary personal and social development programme for 15–17 year olds in England and Northern Ireland, funded largely by government money. Justin supported the programme saying that it would be beneficial to put on job applications.
In their current phase of the NCS project, the students have to plan, co-ordinate and run an event to raise money and awareness for their chosen charities. Justin spoke to the different teams about their projects, the barriers they’ve faced and how they can try to overcome these problems. The students were very engaged with the talk, asking questions and actively listening to what Justin had to say.
One team have decided to do a sponsored 2 day trek and camp from Wooten Basset to Marlborough and back to Swindon. Their aim is to raise £500, having already raised over £200. Other activities undertaken by the students include; bake sales, raffles, face painting and a dog walk, among other things. Some of the students have also decided to sway more towards raising awareness e.g. by visiting and helping out in care homes. Chosen charities include; Threshold, Alzheimer’s Society, Brighter Futures and SN Dogs.
He also encouraged them to voice their opinions about issues they were worried would face them now or in the future. Tuition fees and lack of help for young people were some of the concerns raised. He explained the difficulties in finding money, deciding where to make cuts and showing that you can’t please everyone as he asked for a shower of hands for and against, with the room being split on the decision of where the money should come from.
The students encouraged Justin to get the government to put more focus on NCS type programmes in the future.