The NCS Trust announces new chair

Following a selection process led by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), the Privy Council has announced the appointment of Harris Bokhari OBE as the new chair of the NCS Trust (National Citizen Service). Harris will help lead the trust as it delivers its new strategy, providing greater choice and opportunity for young people and drives the government’s youth guarantee.

NCS is designed to support young people to overcome and combat the challenges they face. It enables young people to become world ready and work ready, have greater confidence, resilience and wellbeing, and to have a greater impact on the world. 

Harris joins NCS Trust as an internationally acclaimed youth leader, having founded Patchwork Foundation in 2010. 

He is a social entrepreneur, public engagement advisor and chartered accountant. His wide range of roles include serving on the Board of the Natural History Museum (Chairing the Audit and Risk Committee), The Royal Parks, the Prince’s Trust Mosaic Initiative and is an elected council member of the National Trust. 

Harris was awarded an OBE in Her Majesty’s 2015 Birthday Honours List for services to young people and interfaith relations and is an independent member of the King’s Award for Voluntary Service Committee, and the Community and Voluntary Service honours Committee. 

From a very young age Harris has been committed to supporting young people.  This commitment saw him personally mentor over 200 young change makers from disadvantaged and marginalised communities,  many of who are now working at the heart of Whitehall including Downing Street. 

Since being awarded his OBE, he has raised an additional £2m for various charities which has in turn benefited thousands of young people across the world. He has gone on to become one of the country’s most influential and impactful youth leaders within government to grassroots organisations. 

He has been appointed as chair of NCS Trust for a three-year term. 

Harris Bokhari OBE said: “I am honoured and excited to assume the role of chair at NCS Trust. To date, NCS has been a catalyst for profound change in the lives of countless young people. 

“I am eager to contribute my efforts in enabling many more teenagers to unlock their full potential, irrespective of their background. There has never been a more important time for NCS to give young people confidence and skills.

“Alongside Mark, I embrace the opportunity of guiding NCS Trust on its path of empowering young people and realising their ambitious vision and mission.”

Current NCS chair Brett Wigdortz, who has been in the role since 2018, will complete his term on the 11th July 2023.

Mark Gifford, CEO of NCS Trust, said: “We are delighted to have the honour of welcoming such a prominent figure in the fields of education, social justice and community activism to NCS. As the new chair of NCS Trust, Harris brings an extensive range of expertise derived from his accomplished professional and philanthropic journey.

“Harris’ dedication to promoting the inclusion of underprivileged and underserved communities within civil society aligns perfectly with our vision of fostering a country of connected citizens benefiting from transformative experiences that bridge social divides. 

“With Harris’ invaluable support, I am confident that we will achieve this vision and work diligently towards equipping young people with the inspiration and skills needed to thrive as they become work ready and world ready.

“As an organisation we eagerly anticipate the opportunity to learn and grow from Harris’ wealth of experience.”

Lucy Frazer MP, secretary of state for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: “Supporting young people, particularly those at risk, is a key priority of mine and I am looking forward to working with Harris Bokhari to make our joint vision come to life. 

“Harris’ experience of social enterprise and championing young people’s engagement in their communities will serve him well as the new chair, leading the NCS Trust in its continued transformation and its new strategy.

“I would also like to thank Brett Wigdortz for his dedication and service as NCS Trust’s chair since 2018. I am very grateful to Brett for his leadership during a particularly challenging period.”

Over 800,000 young people have now taken part in NCS. Last year NCS announced a new strategy that would see them deliver a brand new suite of experiences for young people with a new network of local and youth sector partners to ensure that its services are even more relevant and accessible for young people, whilst delivering better value for money to taxpayers.

NCS participants will benefit from a new residential experience from 2023, which will consist of a five day stay away from home where they will take part in activities that centre around employability, independent living or social action. Young people will have access to digital experiences and will be able to take part in NCS closer to home with regular or one-off activities where they can gain new skills, learn more about their local community, and how they can help to improve it.

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