Half a million pounds granted to train volunteers

More than half a million pounds has been awarded in Norfolk to help fund a volunteer training programme supporting local communities.

The grant will fund 490 16-year-olds on a seven to eight week programme to prepare them to do volunteer work in their local communities.

Norwich City Community Sports Foundation, formerly Football in the Community, is leading the consortium.

Jackie Thornton, the funding and development manager, said: 'Take this as an opportunity because not many places across the country are going to get it. We're very lucky in Norfolk that we've got the money. I think people should take every opportunity to progress themselves.'

Participants will also have the opportunity to attend a two-week residential camp away from home to get them ready to do volunteer work. Local communities can then nominate their community for support through volunteering for things such as re-developing a play area, painting a youth club or clearing paths.

Mrs Thornton said: 'I think it will be a fantastic experience for them. It will look fantastic on their CV. It's a nationally recognised thing now and volunteering is a really important part of giving back.'

The programme aims to mix participants from a wide range of backgrounds.

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Francis Maude, minister for the Cabinet Office, said that nationally over 11,000 will benefit from the scheme next summer and eventually the Government wants every 16-year-old to have the chance to take part.

The Norfolk National Citizen Service (NCS) consortium was one of the 12 organisations chosen from over 250 applicants and was awarded the �572,537 grant following the Department for Education announcement of the 2011 NCS plans.

The other Norfolk charities and organisations involved are Norfolk County Council, The Benjamin Foundation, Momentum, YMCA, The Open Trust, Mancroft Advice Project (MAP) and All Trades Training.

For more information on the Norfolk NCS please email jackie.thornton@ncfc-canaries.co.uk