Reacting to the PM’s statement, Chief Executive of City Year UK, Sophie Livingstone, said:
“David Cameron’s announcement of a review to look at how Britain can provide more opportunities for young people to engage in service to their communities is really welcome.
“We hope this review will result in a new recognition of the powerful benefits of full time volunteering between education and work – the culmination of ‘ten years of service’.
“We believe that a year of voluntary citizen service at the end of compulsory education should become something expected of young people, and made as easy to access as further education, apprenticeships and other routes into successful adult life.
“Civic service encapsulates the idea that there is an expectation that citizens contribute something back to their communities throughout their lives or at several points in their lives.
“Our experience at City Year is that young people are transformed through the experience of service. Young people aged 18 – 25 volunteering with City Year UK serve every day from 8am–6pm as tutors, mentors and role models in schools, having an impact on children’s attendance, behaviour and performance in maths and English, as well as providing them with role models to whom they can aspire.
“Our evaluation points to a range of benefits for the young volunteers – from increased confidence and other emotional development, to the acquisition of new skills ready for careers.
“I hope this review creates a menu of meaningful opportunities that starts at a young age, but crucially continues throughout someone's life. And that those options are high quality, evidence based programmes that deploy young volunteers to have a genuine benefit.
“National service is not a panacea to society’s problems but it can be part of the solution for tackling pressing problems in the UK.
“A review is a step in the right direction, building on the work of the National Citizen Service programme for 16 year olds. We hope it’s the catalyst to the culture shift so badly needed in Britain.
“I look forward to working with the review and feeding in lessons from City Year’s model and impact in both the UK and in the US.”
Read the Cabinet Office's full press release here.