HC Deb 19 July 1961 vol 644 cc1227-8
28. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Defence, in view of the termination of National Service, what contribution is now being made by the Ser- vices towards the training given to the youth of this country.

The Minister of Defence (Mr. Harold Watkinson)

The cadet forces are at present the main instrument through which the contribution of the Services to youth work is made. We are considering the extent to which we can provide better facilities and new equipment.

The Services also take part or assist each year in many activities in conjunction with youth clubs and similar bodies; the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, Outward Bound Trust Courses, and the Ten Tors Expedition are examples. This year, as an experiment, facilities are being afforded by the Royal Navy to the National Association of Boys' Clubs for a camp to be held at Portland, and some thirty volunteer members of the three Services are going as group leaders at other camps and courses run by the National Association of Boys' Clubs and the National Association of Mixed Clubs. If these ventures are successful, I hope that it may be possible to expand them in succeeding years.

Mr. Digby

Can my right hon. Friend say in what kind of way he may be able to expand these voluntary activities?

Mr. Watkinson

Yes. I hope that hon. Members will take an interest in this matter in their own constituencies. The Services have a great part to play in the Youth Service, in offering leaders and instructors and men who are willing to help to teach the youth of the country new and exciting things to do. I hope that we can greatly develop this over the next few years.