Welsh government 'has no plans' to introduce National Citizen Service

Welsh assembly declines UK government offer to fund a pilot because it has already announced funding for other youth volunteering schemes

The Welsh Assembly
The Welsh Assembly

The Welsh government has rejected the opportunity to introduce the National Citizen Service in the country.

The government had offered to fund a NCS pilot in Wales, but the Welsh assembly responded by saying it had already announced £2m of funding for similar schemes to encourage young people to volunteer.

The NCS programme involves 16-year-olds taking part in projects that include community work, a physical challenge and a residential placement. Up to 90,000 places will be available on the scheme by 2014.

Speaking during a visit to Wales earlier this week to meet young Londoners taking part in the NCS programme, the Prime Minister, David Cameron said: "We have made funding available for the Welsh assembly government and I hope they’ll take up this opportunity."

But a spokeswoman for the Welsh government said: "We have no plans to introduce the NCS in Wales.

"The Welsh government has always recognised that volunteers have a key role in supporting their communities and has invested accordingly. 

The spokeswoman said the minister for local government and communities, Carl Sargeant, last year announced £2m funding for 2012/13, split equally between the Volunteering in Wales Fund and for GwirVol, an initiative supporting and promoting youth volunteering.

The Volunteering in Wales Fund supports volunteers of all ages, including under-25-year-olds. Both are managed by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

The Cabinet Office announced earlier this week that the NCS would run in Northern Ireland for the first time from this autumn as part of new initiative to offer the programme throughout the school year.

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said it was up to the Welsh government to decide whether to run the NCS programme: "Youth policy is a matter for the devolved governments, so they can make decisions for their own areas on how best to engage young people," she said.

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