National Citizen Service [NCS] will pilot two new sport and arts themed programmes over the next year as the organisation moves to reach an even greater diversity of young people. The country’s flagship extracurricular programme for 16 and 17-year-olds wants to attract teenagers who do not necessarily enjoy outdoor activities, but who will still benefit from the challenge and social development that NCS is proven to deliver.

StreetGames and East London Arts and Music (ELAM) have joined with NCS to help design and deliver the £180,000 pilots for Autumn 2019 and Summer 2020. These will test new ways to access NCS, offering the choice to experience Arts and Sports based versions of the programme, rather than the traditional week one outward bound experience.

East London-based ELAM is a world-class music, games, design, film and television academy for young people in one of the most deprived areas of the UK. StreetGames is an award winning national charity offering fun and informal sport clubs for disadvantaged young people - 70% of whom are not involved in structured activity elsewhere.

“We’re delighted to have two great organisations with such impressive track records in their field on board to help design and deliver these sports and arts-themed versions of our programme,” said Michael Lynas, Chief Executive of NCS Trust.

“NCS Trust is always seeking better ways of broadening the appeal of NCS to attract young people who don't currently sign up and to benefit from what we offer. […] We recently undertook research to improve our understanding of what motivates teens to take part in NCS, and the barriers preventing some young people from connecting with NCS. Although our residential week of outdoor adventure challenges is a key draw for many young people, there will be others who are looking for a different type of challenge. […] This is an opportunity to see if we can successfully reach and interest even more young people through these pilots, with a view to rolling them out nationally in the future.”

Charlie Kennard Founder and Principal of ELAM said: “We strongly believe that an arts themed variant of NCS has the potential to appeal to a different group of young people with diverse interests and skills sets and we’re very proud to be involved. The arts are an amazing vehicle for promoting social cohesion, social mobility and civic engagement - the fundamental mission of the NCS programme. We look forward to delivering this programme.”#

StreetGames CEO Jane Ashworth said: “StreetGames and NCS have the same shared goal of empowering young people to positively change their lives and benefit their wider communities. We are eager to work together on this exciting expansion of NCS’s core programme. The focus on sport will not only attract different teens to NCS, but will help teach key skills such as teamwork, understanding and self-discipline.”


Notes to editors:

  • The first pilot will involve 150 young people in Autumn 2019.
  • Wider pilots in the NCS’s three new direct delivery areas - London, South West and North East – will take place in summer 2020.
  • Recruitment and marketing for these pilots will start soon. ELAM and StreetGames StreetGames in conjunction with Active Partnerships demonstrated, through a robust and highly competitive procurement process, their expertise in developing attractive and high quality learning experiences for young people and experience in tailoring resources to a broad range of local contexts.
  • The pilots will still incorporate all NCS core elements while broadening its appeal to underrepresented groups of young people through diversifying venues and staff.

 About NCS

 NCS is a government-backed programme established in 2011 to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society. By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens. NCS is open to 16 and 17 year-olds across England and Northern Ireland. The two to four week programme, which takes place in school holidays, includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event.

To date:

  • Almost 500,000 young people have taken part
  • Over twelve million hours of community action have been completed
  • For every £1 spent, NCS’ 2016 summer programme delivered between £1.15 and £2.42 of benefits back to society
  • It costs participants just £50 or less to take part in NCS and bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is provided for young people with additional needs.


To find out more visit


For further information, images or requests for interview please contact NCS Comms

team: Charlotte Speedy

07801 215001

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