Basingstoke MP Maria Miller met up with young people taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme in Basingstoke to learn about what they have been doing as part of the programme.  She was accompanied by NCS board member Flick Drummond.
Maria met the teenagers at BCOT, who as part of the programme were designing and planning a fundraising project. The teams had to “pitch” to a Dragon’s Den style panel to secure a loan to seed fund their project. Maria and Flick sat on the panel for two teams, one who were raising funds for Daisy’s Dream in Reading and the other for Mental Health charity MIND.
Maria said: “The National Citizen Service gives young people a fantastic opportunity to get involved in new and challenging activities, grow in confidence, get new skills for work and life, work together as a team to plan and deliver a project to benefit their community, and to meet new people. From talking to the participants today, it is also clear that they are having a great time and would thoroughly recommend the scheme to friends and family.”
“It is great news that the National Citizen Service is going from strength to strength in Basingstoke.” In the past five years, participation in Hampshire has grown by 22% on average each year, with around 1800 young people participating this summer.”
Flick Drummond commented; 'The young people who take part in NCS never cease to inspire me and it is great to see their confidence grow during the programme and beyond. Over 500,000 young people have taken part since its inception in 2011 and I would encourage every 16 year old to get involved in this experience which takes place after their GCSEs. Congratulations to the Basingstoke young people who were very clear about why they wanted to raise money for these important charities’. 
The NCS is a unique Government-backed programme for 16 and 17 years olds, that brings together young people from different backgrounds and through a full-time three or four week programme (followed by a 30 hour social action project) helps them to develop greater confidence, responsibility, resilience and skills, as well as giving them the experience of volunteering for their local communities.