National Citizen Service will be launched today

Scheme to run volunteer placements for 16-year-olds will be announced by Prime Minister David Cameron

Prime Minister David Cameron will today launch the government’s National Citizen Service scheme, through which charities, voluntary groups and businesses will organise summer volunteering placements for 16-year-olds.

In an announcement this afternoon, Cameron will outline a series of pilot projects that will begin next year.

A Cabinet Office spokesman said 10,000 16-year-olds would take part in the pilot projects, which will last six or seven weeks and take place during the school summer holidays. The schemes will involve outdoor challenges, residential volunteering programmes and a ‘community action challenge’, the spokesman said.

He said the pilot projects would be organised by charities and voluntary groups, working in partnership with private sector firms.

Cameron is expected to say that the National Citizen Service will not be compulsory for young people, but that he hopes it will become universal.

A Conservative Party policy document on the scheme, published shortly before the general election, estimated that it would cost £13m in 2011 and £37m in 2012. It said it would be funded by a £50m sum redirected from the Communities and Local Government department’s contribution to the Prevent programme, set up to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting violent extremists. Money will also be provided by sponsorship and by local fundraising work, it says.

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