Bishop of Portsmouth speaks out over National Citizen Service funding plan

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POURING £1bn into a youth scheme must not be at the expense of other groups, the Bishop of Portsmouth said.

In a House of Lords debate on government funding of the National Citizen Service – which runs in Portsmouth– the Rt Rev Christopher Foster said a ‘competitive approach’ by the NCS was a risk.

He said: ‘What a pity it would be if NCS threatened other valued and good youth organisations, particularly when they sometimes now have reduced funding, fewer volunteer leaders and long waiting lists.’

His comments come as the government plans to earmark the cash for NCS, which is open to all 15 to 17-year-olds.

It aims to prepare teenagers for work through team-building activities and projects.

Summing up yesterday, Lord Thomas Ashton said: ‘We make no apologies for what NCS is. It’s unique and it requires investment of both money and effort, especially in hard to reach groups.’

The scheme is delivered by 200 organisations, he added.