UK Politics

Cameron to promote volunteering plan on Facebook

David Cameron is to urge school leavers to sign up to a volunteering scheme this summer as part of his much-criticised Big Society agenda.

Youngsters will be urged to register for the new National Citizen Service via social networking site Facebook.

Pilot schemes will be launched in 12 areas of the country focused on building teamwork, leadership skills and assisting community projects.

Critics of the Big Society have said it is too vague and is a cover for cuts.

Labour say community and voluntary groups cannot take on more responsibility if their central funding is being cut and councils are being asked to make huge savings without alternative support in place.

The National Citizen Service, launched during the election campaign, is a central plank of the prime minister's "mission" to empower communities and encourage volunteering.

Launching the Facebook recruitment page, Mr Cameron will say the scheme can "inspire" people and help them to understand what they are capable of achieving.

"This summer you will be able to spend two months mixing with other young people, learning new skills, and putting something back into your community," he will say.

Mr Cameron wants to dramatically increase the number of places on the scheme, with 30,000 available in 2012 and ultimately giving all 16-year-olds the opportunity to take part.

So far 1,000 people have signed up and another 8,000 have expressed an interest.

The pilot programmes will start in July after the end of GCSE examinations and will end in National Citizen Service graduation ceremonies attended by family and friends.

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