The problem

The overwhelming majority of teenagers (81%) felt that they were negatively presented in the media, which made them less active in their communities (58%) and less willing to reach outside their peer group (62%).

Young people are Britain’s biggest untapped resource when it comes to tackling the great social challenges facing the UK. When young people choose to employ their energy and idealism to take action on these issues they can make a significant impact.

The solution

200,000 young people are engaged and emboldened by NCS but don’t know where to go next.

With Big Change, NCS has developed an online hub that connects its graduates with volunteering and employment opportunities once the programme has finished.

As a result, a projected 1 million young people will have access to ongoing work and volunteering opportunities by 2020.

“Our vision for NCS is to engage a generation of young people all over the country to transform their communities. Big Change is helping us put that vision into action with a new online platform for NCS graduates – and by introducing us to a range of amazing people in their network.”

Michael Lynas

Work in action

In 2014, Big Change granted £143k to support the development and roll out of the online platform that:

  • Builds graduate profiles of each participant;
  • Develops targeted communications to deliver more effective opportunities;
  • Secures ongoing engagement by establishing a go-to location for social action

National Citizen Service (NCS) is founded on the belief that young people can change the world around them if given the right tools, opportunities and respect.

They run an intense three part programme for 15 to 17 year olds to take on new challenges, learn new skills, connect to their community and others from different backgrounds.

The Big Changers

Michael Lynas

Michael Lynas is the CEO of NCS Trust. He first started working on National Citizen Service (NCS) as a consultant at Bain & Company in 2009 when it was just an idea – to give every teenager the chance to connect with people from different backgrounds, learn new skills for work and life, and make their mark in their community. Since then, he has worked with an amazing – and growing – team of people to help turn this idea into a reality, including by championing NCS during his time as a civil servant at No10 Downing Street. In February 2013, Michael joined NCS Trust, an independent social enterprise dedicated to shaping, supporting and leading a thriving National Citizen Service.

“The Oli that went into NCS was shy, anxious, worried. I left an improved oli… I developed a strong sense of teamwork, social skills and other life skills. I have been truly blessed by ncs – it’s changed me for the better.”

NCS Graduate


We’re proud to have backed NCS to launch a collaboration platform for NCS alumni. NCS has grown to be an organisation impacting 600,000 participants, with demonstrable impact on social cohesion, social mobility and social engagement. In 2021 NCS reported that: 

  • NCS participants have now given over 15 million hours in social action
  • Seventy-eight per cent of participants felt more positive about people from different backgrounds to themselves after attending NCS
  • NCS increased university intake by 12% and access to higher education by 50% among disadvantaged young people

While the data speaks for itself, young people themselves have also confirmed the transformative impact of NCS’ work:

“After exploring the new opportunity hub I feel positive, excited and motivated to volunteer as well as to continuing to work on my own project”  - Eve 

“My first thoughts were that it was easy to use, very simple and very quick to do. I have done several surveys and I can get very bored after a while and having these so easy and quick to fill out was great” – George