The National Citizen Service Trust (NCS) is planning a “brand refresh” and has budgeted up to £10m for the project.
A spokesperson from the charity said it is investing money into branding changes by welcoming bids from a creative services tender, to make changes which include “a brand refresh and ongoing creative and marketing services”.
The project aims to save money and to increase participation in NCS programmes. A spokesperson said: “Investing in our brand in the short term is crucial to ensure that we can continue to reduce our marketing spend and make even greater savings in the future.”
They also said that they hoped that it would help the charity reach young people. “We need to remain relevant, resonate and cut through the clutter of communications to young people,” they added.
NCS is a residential youth activity programme funded by the government. It was launched in 2010 by then Prime Minister, David Cameron as part of the ‘Big Society’ initiative and it aims to improve social cohesion, mobility and engagement among young people.
It has been the subject of some criticism of overfunding and undersubscription. In July, the Local Government Association claimed that only 12% of eligible young people took part in NCS schemes in 2016.
However, the charity refutes these claims. The spokesperson said that in 2018 they had the highest annual participation number to date and said that it is “the fastest growing youth organisation in our country for a century”.
Earlier this month, Labour MPs criticised NCS at a parliamentary debate. Rushanara Ali MP criticised the scheme for diverting funding from other areas.
She said: “Although the interventions to support the National Citizen Service have been welcomed in many areas, the reality is that the £1bn or so that has been spent in that arena has not been matched by support in other areas.” - See more at:
However, Conservative MPs disagreed with the criticisms. Rachel Maclean MP said that the NCS has a “fantastic” impact in her constituency, Redditch. She said: “The NCS scheme enables [young people] to get out from behind the technology and screens that so often dominate the lives of young people today. It puts them in situations outside their comfort zone, and they have to work together in groups with young people they would not normally meet in their neighbourhoods or school classrooms. They are learning vital life skills at a really early age”
The brand change will be commissioned to external agencies who will bid for the account. The contract will initially last for two years, with the possibility of extending it for two more. It comes from its marketing budget, and will be worth between £4m and £10m over four years.