Ben Howlett, the MP for Bath, recently championed the National Citizenship Service (NCS) program that Joining Forces provides to 15-17 year olds in Bath, while in Parliament.
Speaking in the second reading of the National Citizenship Service Bill, he praised the positive impact the NCS brings to young people and welcomed the extension of it to more young people.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Ben said: “One example from the graduation ceremony that I attended early last year really sticks in my mind and shows how great the NCS is: a young man stood up to make a speech and said that if it was not for Joining Forces and the NCS programme, he would not be able to speak in front of the 200-strong audience of parents and his peers—a difficult thing for any young person to do.
“He had previously struggled in conversations with two or three people and could not imagine speaking to such a large audience. The NCS programme gave him the confidence to push boundaries that he had never expected to exceed.
“I am pleased that this Bill will give even more young people the chance to develop skills that will help them later in life. Where else do 15 to 17-year-olds, whatever their background, get the opportunity to develop key life skills in a safe environment away from their parents?”
Ed Hodges, the Director of Joining Forces who delivers the NCS programme in Bath, commented: “In Bath, Joining Forces is dedicated to inspiring the next generation and NCS is a fantastic programme for challenging and developing young people individually, as well as building greater social cohesion by social mixing teams and getting them to think about their local community.
“One of the most rewarding aspects of the programme is the response you get from parents, teachers and most importantly the young people who take part.
“To see them grow in confidence, whether cliff jumping or standing in front of their peers and pitching an idea, and to see them grow as a team to plan and deliver some outstanding projects is great to be a part of.”
Ben will now join Members of Parliament from across the House of Commons on the National Citizen Service Bill Committee where they will scrutinise the legislation to ensure that the NCS provision works for all young people across the country.