So far, nearly half a million young people have taken part in NCS. For almost a decade, we’ve been working with local businesses, youth centres, football clubs and grassroots initiatives. Together, we’re aiming to make the world a fairer, kinder, more compassionate place. You can see a brief history of NCS below as well as some of the key impacts we’ve been making.
NCS was initially founded to help young people achieve their potential and build bridges between communities. First piloted as National Citizen Service with 158 participants, it has always been our mission to empower young people to change the world around them, making sure they have the right tools, opportunities and respect to do so.
After just a year, the newly-elected coalition government formally announced its commitment to establishing NCS. It said that:
“The initial flagship project will provide a programme for 16 year olds to give them a chance to develop the skills needed to be active and responsible citizens, mix with people from different backgrounds and start getting involved in their communities.”
Growing in popularity, the early NCS pilots reached around 8,000 young people. Our different programmes were run across the country by an increasing number of partner organisations and managed by the Cabinet Office.
Getting even bigger, around 26,000 young people took part in NCS. The government announced that a new, independent social enterprise would be set up to manage it. Stephen Greene, CEO of RockCorps, became our first Chair, bringing with him his incredible knowledge and experience from the charitable music platform for teenagers.
NCS Trust was founded as a not-for-profit social enterprise to shape and support our network of providers, helping them to deliver the best experience possible for young people. With growing demand, the Trust focused on building long-term support. This year we saw almost 40,000 young people head out on NCS.
As NCS grew to welcome 58,000 young people onto the programme, the Trust looked to find more partners to support and expand our work. Contracts were put in place until autumn 2018 with a range of organisations from different sectors.
NCS started the year with a special visit from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. We also gained cross-party support and featured in both the Conservative and Labour general election manifestos.
In the Spending Review, NCS was granted funding to support our significant expansion over the next five years. More than 75,000 young people took part in NCS.
At the State Opening of Parliament, the Queen announced that NCS would be put on a ‘permanent statutory footing’, demonstrating the government’s commitment to helping us become a national institution for all young people.
By the end of the year, over 300,000 young people had taken part in NCS since it was founded, making it the fastest-growing national youth movement in a century.
With cross-party support, NCS became enshrined in law with the National Citizen Service Act, receiving Royal Assent to transition to Royal Charter. This meant that whatever happened in the country politically, NCS would remain in place for the nation’s young people.
Nearly 100,000 young people went out on NCS this year, the highest yearly cohort so far.
In autumn, we started a recommissioning process for NCS provider contracts to commence from summer 2020 onwards.
In December, NCS transitioned from a not-for-profit Community Interest Company to a Royal Charter body, achieving security as a national institution. Again, nearly 100,000 young people took part this year and almost half a million since the first programme was launched.
With our new status as a Royal Charter body, NCS continues to grow and gain support. Our aim is to build a celebrated rite of passage that will serve and inspire the young people of this country for generations to come.