Nick Hurd is the Minister for Civil Society and the MP for Ruislip Northwood Pinner
The contrast could not have been starker. This summer, my TV screen had been full of riots and looting. Like many I was shocked, not least by how disconnected the mostly young people seemed to feel from the wider community.
Yet at the same time over eight thousand 16 year olds were quietly giving almost a quarter of a million hours of community service. I have been lucky enough to visit a number of these groups across the country. In Harrow, for example, a team of young people had been educated about homelessness in the Borough. They slept rough to taste the reality and had then thrown themselves with fantastic energy into raising money for a local charity. The natural leader of the group confided to me that if it had not been for this programme, he would have been in trouble this summer. The programme is National Citizen Service (NCS). It was one of our big commitments at the last election and we are delivering on it.