Recently I was delighted to meet several constituents who are part of the International Citizen Service - a UK Government programme which brings together young people from the UK to volunteer in partnership with young people from developing countries in some of the poorest communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

ICS is funded by the UK government and led by VSO in partnership with respected development organisations who work to agreed quality principles and standards. ICS empowers young people from developing countries and from the UK, to fight poverty and become active citizens. All UK ICS volunteers live and work in partnership with young people from the countries where ICS works and contribute to wider development programmes. This does not stop when the volunteering placement ends: every ICS volunteer from the UK and from developing countries carries out an Action at Home project, which marks the beginning of a life of active citizenship.

Since it started in 2011, ICS has enabled over 15,000 young people from the UK to volunteer in projects around the world, and by 2018 will have created a global community of more than 35,000 active citizens – a real lasting legacy.

The recent group from Bedfordshire includes Adam & Jianvario who volunteered in Ghana working to help disabled people with trade skills and education; Izzy who went to El Salvador, working with young people and drama; Joshua worked in Kenya working with local entrepreneurs; Katie was in Lesotho working with young people through sport; Poppy was in India supporting health initiatives; and Verity volunteered in Nepal, for women’s health education.

Impressed? You bet I am. Excellent work from dedicated volunteers. Well done all.