NCS Trust has dropped its summer programme for teenagers and is now developing a digital version.
It is in discussions with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport about its future funding, but is not expected to be asked to repay any funds.
Young people who have paid £50 for a place on this summer’s programme will be refunded.
Delivery partners are not expected to be asked to repay any funding and will be involved in designing this summer’s online offer.
NCS Trust is “urgently” designing a new programme for this summer, which will involve using its online channels to help young people develop skills and mobilising volunteers for when social distancing measures begin to be lifted.
It expects to run the full NCS programme in summer 2021.
Uncertainty about how long social distancing will be in place
The NCS programme involves 16 and 17-year-olds taking part in residential activities before returning to their communities to deliver social action projects.
NCS Trust said that because it is unclear how long social distancing measures will be in place “it is sadly not possible for the 2020 summer programme to take place in its traditional format”.
Mark Gifford, chief executive of NCS Trust, said: “We completely understand the disappointment this will cause to teenagers, parents and schools throughout the country. But we’re absolutely committed to our vision of bringing young people together and supporting them to thrive as connected, confident and caring citizens.
“We believe in the power of young people to help themselves and others in times of crisis, and so through our Staying Connected digital content we’ll be equipping them with the necessary skills, advice and guidance to be both active in their local communities and a leading force in our nation’s recovery from Covid-19.
“We have the opportunity to engage with young people in a different way, creating the chance for them to still have a summer that turns ‘No You Can’t’ into ‘No We Can’. Never has that can-do attitude been more needed by our country than it is today.”
Baroness Barran, minister for civil society, said: “It is vital we continue to support young people, particularly in these unprecedented times. I am pleased that the NCS will play its part but it is right that it makes changes to its summer programme as keeping people healthy is our absolute priority.
"I hope the young people affected will understand why this decision has been made. I encourage them and others to take part in the exciting, alternative options from the NCS in the coming months."
‘Revised budget under discussion’
When asked if this means that NCS Trust would get less funding from the government, a spokesperson for NCS Trust said: “A revised budget is under discussion for the Trust to deliver a repurposed summer programme, and autumn as originally planned.
“All the spend goes through robust contracts, and the Trust is set up, and committed, to manage public money with value to the taxpayer in everything we do.”
They added that delivery partners would be involved in the new version of the summer programme.
“Last year the Trust signed over £700m worth of contracts, extending up to 2024, with its programme suppliers. We’re committed to working with those organisations for the long term, so we will obviously be doing everything we can to support them. In financial terms, our support cannot extend beyond the terms of our contracts and duties in Managing Public Money.
“It is essential that work continues on developing our autumn and 2021 programmes so that we are able to deliver a transformational experience for those young people who have missed out on NCS this summer and those who are expecting to take part next year.”
They said that neither NCS Trust nor its delivery partners are currently being expected to repay any funds, and that partners had “already had a significant portion of payment for the 2020 programme”.