The National Citizen Service has said it expects to achieve its participation target for 2017, with a record number of young people already signed up.
Participation in the NCS has grown annually since being piloted in 2011, with the number of young people signed up exceeding 100,000 for the first time this year.
However, it has so far failed to hit its annual targets, which a National Audit Office report warned could threaten the programme’s sustainability due to its higher than expected costs.
But in an announcement of new appointments to its “patrons board” today, the NCS said it had surpassed 100,000 participants for the first time and a spokesperson for the programme told Civil Society News it expects to meet this year’s target, which stands at 101,000.
'Record breaking year'
The spokesman said: “NCS is facing a record breaking year, with more than 100,000 young people signed up for this summer meaning we are on track to meet our planned participation figures.
“As the year is still ongoing, we aren’t able to confirm exact participation rates as yet – but this will be covered by our end of year evaluation.”
The programme originally aimed to reach 360,000 participants by 2020 but this was revised down to 247,000 earlier this year.
See in Charity Finance
The board’s 18 patrons include peers from all three main political parties in the UK as well as professionals from a range of sectors including charity, education, cultural industries, media and business.
These include Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan, United Learning director of academies south Dame Sally Coates, and UK Community Foundations chair David Sheepshanks.
Former Prime Minister David Cameron, who chairs the board, welcomed the new members.
“These people already make a huge contribution to our country in media, education, business, sport, music, politics and the armed forces.
“By investing in our young people - helping them, through NCS, to become confident, resilient, tolerant and happy adults - they will be make an even bigger contribution still. I can’t wait to start working together."
The full list of board members is:
- Labour peer Lord Alli
- Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Floella Benjamin
- Conservative peer Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge
- Entrepreneur Jamal Edwards
- Dame Louise Casey
- General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the general staff of the British Army
- Jude Kelly, artistic director of the Southbank Centre
- Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI director general
- Robert Peston, ITV journalist and founder of Speakers for Schools
- Sarah Sands, editor of Radio 4’s Today programme
- Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s
- Tim Allan, founder of Portland PR
- Nicola Dandridge, Universities UK chief executive
- David Sheepshanks, chair of UK Community Foundations
- Justine Roberts, founder and chief executive of Mumsnet
- David Joseph, chairman and CEO of Universal Music UK
- James Harding, BBC director of news and current affairs
- Dame Sally Coates, director of academies south for United Learning