Penny Mordaunt says it is a 'myth' that strikes help anyone but …
A report backed by Penny Mordaunt has said a new “Great British National Service” should be created that automatically signs up every 16-year-old in the UK.
The scheme, proposed by the think tank Onward, would see teenagers spend a fortnight away on a civic exploration trip and be made to complete a certain amount of volunteering hours in a year.
The programme would not be mandatory but teenagers would have to opt out if they did not want to join.The project aims to encourage Brits from different backgrounds to mix, and undo the social and educational damage of Covid-19 lockdowns.
In an article for The Telegraph, Mordaunt wrote: “No one is more effective at helping others than a willing volunteer. Nothing is more rewarding than serving your community and nation.
“Many young people are struggling with their mental health, to find purpose and feel a sense of belonging.
“Stepping forward to help others could be part of the answer. Service can help build the resilience, skills and pride in their community and country that many need.
“National service is an old idea, but today, the centre-right think tank Onward has unveiled its proposal for a modern version. I can understand its motives for doing so.
"They hope to harness young people’s goodwill and community spirit, tap into the energy and imagination of the next generation, and promote good mental health and resilience. I applaud these objectives.”
It echoes a similar scheme set up by David Cameron in 2010, the National Citizen Service. But that system only had participants who opted in to the scheme, not out.
But reacting to it, people on social media thought it was a bad idea, with unwanted associations to post-war National Service in the UK in which young men were conscripted to the army for 18 months to deal with peacetime challenges.