Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, on Saturday 15 July gave an opening address to local young people, entrepreneurs and business owners taking part in a National Citizen Service Dragons’ Den event.
Mr Sharma watched and listened to local young people pitching their ideas for community campaigns and volunteering projects. The event was part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme in Reading.
NCS is a scheme which brings together 16 and 17 year olds from different backgrounds to complete a series of personal and team challenges and make a difference in their community. Following an action-packed stay at an outdoor centre, participants spend a week learning a new skill in a university style setting. In the final week of the programme, the young people complete projects for local charities, which allows them to use their newly acquired skills in a practical setting.
Over 250 young people have taken part in NCS in Reading West since 2015. During this time they have built relationships with important local organisations and charities.
During his visit, Alok Sharma MP met young people from across Berkshire and discussed their thoughts on their ‘Dragons’ Den’ pitches and the NCS programme.
Alok Sharma MP said: “Taking part in the National Citizen Service is a brilliant opportunity for young people from across Reading and from all backgrounds to come together and address the issues they care about head on. The programme also equips local teenagers with the skills they need to get on in life, whilst meeting new people and experiencing new challenges.”
Christine Christensen, Associate Programme Manager, NCS The Challenge said: "We're incredibly grateful to Mr Sharma for coming along to meet the fantastic young people taking part in National Citizen Service with us this summer. He heard about the great local causes they're working with and provided invaluable advice to one of the teams on how to make their social action project - centred on tackling homelessness in the region - even better.”