Belfast Telegraph

Make a difference in your community - apply for National Citizen Service

Stormont Executive press release - Department for Social Development

Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland is reminding all 15-17 year olds in Northern Ireland there are just two weeks left to register for National Citizen Service.

Registration for the autumn programme closes on 25 October 2013. Seven hundred places are available in total on the programmes which will run in autumn this year and in summer 2014.

National Citizen Service (NCS) is designed to give teenagers the chance to build skills for work and life. The programme focuses on personal and social development by providing opportunities for young people to mix and work with others from different backgrounds. NCS has a strong cross community focus with participants coming from both rural and urban areas across Northern Ireland. It also offers young people the chance to participate in an exciting team building residential outside of term time and to take part in a teamwork project that will help their local community.

Renewing his call for young people to sign up for National Citizen Service, Minister McCausland said: “NCS gives young people the chance to make a real difference in their local communities while learning valuable skills to improve their training and future job prospects. The programme offers a range of opportunities for 15-17 year olds to develop outside their comfort zone including a residential element, while making new friends at the same time.

“By taking part in team projects with other young people from different backgrounds, they can increase their self confidence and strengthen the bonds between different communities. Young people will also be able to apply their new skills to everyday life in their communities to the benefit of all and enrich the quality of life for not only their families and themselves but a range of worthy organisations in their local area.”

Minister McCausland concluded: “With a total of 700 places up for grabs the new programme offers a very exciting prospect for our young people and will run this autumn and in summer 2014. I have high expectations regarding the impact it could have upon the social and practical skill base of participants.

“I want to renew my call to anyone aged 15-17, who is keen to widen their horizons and make a positive contribution to their local community to seriously consider applying for National Citizen Service.”

Lucy-Jayne Moore, a successful participant from the Coleraine Team in last year’s pilot has described her experience as, “Every day was a challenging one but drew everyone closer. Definitely an experience of a lifetime. I would definitely recommend any young person to take part.” 

Young people aged 15-17 years can sign up to do National Citizen Service in Northern Ireland at More information is also available at

Notes to editors:

1. Participants in NCS will work in teams to find solutions to local problems or issues that matter to them and will then run a project in their local community with their teammates. Last year in Northern Ireland, NCS teams gave back to their communities through a range of innovative projects designed by the young people themselves, from a sponsored space hop for a local charity to a bullying awareness campaign. 

2. NCS will end with an exciting fundraising challenge, the marathon urban sports challenge, as well as a graduation ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the young people. The programme enables young people to develop important skills in teamwork, communication and planning, that they can take with them into the world of work. 

3. The preliminary feedback report by NatCen Social Research of the 2012 NCS pilot showed that the young people who took part felt strongly that:

· They got the chance to know people they wouldn’t normally mix with - 92%.
· They felt more positive towards people from different backgrounds to themselves - 81%.
· They got a chance to develop skills which will be useful in the future - 84%.
· They saw that there were more opportunities available than they had previously realised - 80%.
· They now were more likely to help out in local area - 77%.
· They felt proud of what they had achieved - 95%.

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