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Lord Ashton of Hyde steps into the Dragons’ Den

10 August 2017

Gloucestershire College welcomed Lord Ashton of Hyde, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to its Gloucester Campus for a Dragons’ Den-style event in which local pupils pitch their ideas for improving the community – as part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) summer programme. 

The Lord Ashton of Hyde was a key figure in putting the NCS through a government bill, which was then made an Act of Parliament in April 2017; making the scheme permanent and accessible to all, with a statutory framework and government investment of £1.26 billion. 

GC has been driving force for NCS in Gloucestershire for several years now, and this year delivered the scheme to 330 young people, aged 15 to 17 years old, from 13 local schools over the course of four weeks.

Week one was a residential in Devon, followed by a community week learning about healthy and responsible living at local venues Cranham Scout Centre, Tom Roberts Adventure Centre, Oakraven Field Centre, Wild Goose Lodge and The Wilderness Centre.

The final week saw four teams of 15 pupils from All Saints Academy, Balcarras, Barnwood Park, Chosen Hill, Cleeve, Crypt, GC, High School for Girls, Lakers, Newent Community, Ribston Hall, Severn Vale and St Peter’s devise social action projects for a range of local charities, including the James Hopkins Trust, Hollie Gazzard Trust, Pied Piper Appeal, Gloucestershire Young Carers, the Superhero Foundation and more.

Image representing Lord Ashton of Hyde steps into the Dragons’ Den
Lord Ashton of Hyde with one of the presenting NCS teams.

Each team pitched their idea to dragons Luke Thrussell from the NHS, Lewis Dangerfield from Osprey Shipping, Ismael Rhyman from Gloucester City Council, Josh Foye from Nationwide Building Society and honorary dragon, Lord Ashton of Hyde; before the dragons offered advice and guidance on the viability of their social action projects. The scheme will then culminate in a NCS graduation ceremony later this summer.

NCS Manager, Caroline Davies, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Lord Ashton of Hyde this week and know he will be suitably impressed by this year’s NCS students; they’ve worked so hard over the past few weeks .The NCS really does provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for young people to discover their potential, build skills for their future and make their mark on their community.”

When supporting the NCS bill, Lord Ashton of Hyde said: “The real strength of the programme is that it appeals to people from all backgrounds and brings them together. They learn together, live together and form one team.

“NCS is one opportunity in a broader social action journey. Up and down the country, many excellent charities and organisations offer a broad range of programmes for people before, after and alongside it. We also believe in the value of a single, unifying rite of passage for young people, and that is NCS.”

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