The NCS debacle continues, Young people are set to lose out twice.  

I saw this in the locally printed county Durham news a few weeks ago. It’s an advert in a paper for adults to appeal to them to send their children on a life changing experience for a week. For ‘not more than £50’. Looks a bargain doesn’t it? Until that is the true cost of NCS is weighed up.

1. Young people in some of the most deprived areas are being ‘given’ a week of a programme that still costs £50. Has NCS got any idea of the level of food bank use in the north east, or school meals. £50 is alot of money for some families even.if is subsidised.

2. Recent reports have been that NCS has struggled to attract young people from the most disadvantaged or at risk. I’m sure advertising in Durham County tourism news will doubt part of its £72 million over 5 year advertising budget. What has also been suggested is that agencies who do work with young people at risk (who have to find non government funding to stay free at the point of access, such as detached work ) could be used to signpost young people to a service that has been government endorsed and bankrolled that will still cost £50 for the young person..where is the relational aspect in signposting in this, let alone the fairness for the agencies.

3. If effectively the government subsidy of NCS is money diverted away from open, weekly youth club provision, Why couldnt the government just fund the free provision in the first place.

4. I know of at least 5 young people who have done NCS, one who was badgered by 4 telephone calls from a London office to participate. None would have gone to a youth club, none needed it or used it for anything other than a gap week in their summer holidays. None described as disadvantaged. None needing advice on future choices. Therefore all well.behaved young people who could be made out to be NCS Success stories.  No their parents deserve the credit.  For stumping up £50 and for giving the young people all the support required to make decent life choices, NCS was a weeks activity holiday.

5. Instead of youth clubs open in the twilight,  in the evening, when young people want social spaces. NCS occupies daytimes for one week.  It is not there, not available. It is what it is.a tory government citizenship programme to educate/bribe in a week the importance to young people of pursuing economically active /contributing lifestyles. Not that this is wrong per se, but to have this as the replacement for the kind of youthwork in open clubs that would help to get young people to this point as one of many options in an environment of voluntary choice and participation.

6. The government’s idea for educating young people is a £50 activity week. Let that sink in.

It just feels like it beggars belief.

However, It now looks as though those inspecting NCS have discovered this too.

Here the Government accounts committee suggests that a radical rethink is required:

Oh, and when it is a commissioned and privately run project, with several millions of pounds being transferred, it is open to abuse and bad management, this is what has happened here:

Privatising working with young people away from the youth services – was this a good idea? – Now the truth is being found out, both financially and practically, and not only will young people lose out because of the demise of NCS and the limitations it can offer, but also lose out because the open youth club that had been subject to underinvestment has also closed down. either way young people lose out, and the burden of their care, and the potential of transformation lies elsewhere. But where..

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