August 2016 Monthly Archives

NCS The Challenge Team from Harrow and Hillingdon visits Parliament

August 11, 2016

Students from Harrow and Hillingdon visited Parliament today!

My parliamentary team hosted a thoroughly enjoyable visit to Parliament today.

A team of enthusiastic NCS The Challenge participants from Harrow and Hillingdon made the journey to Parliament for a tour of the House of Commons and House of Lords, before delivering a presentation on the social action projects they have been developing.

NCS The Challenge is a three-week program, focusing on consolidating positive relationships between young people and their communities, across the country. The first week includes outdoor adventure activities, as well as citizenship debates, the second week includes the acquisition of new practical skills in a University setting, and the third week is a Social Action Project.

The visiting participants were in their third week, and as such, had been working hard, developing campaigning and volunteering day plans as part of their Social Action Projects. The campaigning day is intended to raise awareness, and donations, for their social action partner (which is usually a local charity). The volunteering day revolves around a trip to the Social Action Partner in order to undertake pre-planned activities with the service users.

The young people presented very well, taking my Parliamentary team through their plans. Their Social Action Partner is Whitby Dene Care Home, specialising in care for people with Dementia. The young people proposed excellent plans for their days, including a Mini-Olympics for the residents, and the production of creative pieces by members of the public to be gifted to the care home’s residents.

My team greatly enjoyed the young people’s visit, and I sincerely hope that they, and the other team’s across the country, continue to enjoy and learn from their experiences on NCS The Challenge!

Ministerial appointment in new Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy

August 3, 2016

BEIS Photo

I was delighted to receive news that I will become Minister of State for Climate Change and Industry, within the newly-formed Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

It is an honour to have been selected to work within this Department, having spent a successful and enjoyable period as Permanent Under Secretary of State to the Department for International Development.

Following the creation of the new Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the appointment of Rt Hon Greg Clark MP as Secretary of State, the full list of ministerial responsibilities within the department has now been confirmed.

The new ministerial portfolios reflect the key priorities for the department to develop a comprehensive industrial strategy; continuing to ensure the UK remains at the cutting-edge of science, research and innovation; tackling climate change; and ensuring affordable, clean and secure energy supply for the UK.

The work of the new department brings together responsibilities for industrial strategy, energy, business, consumers, employees, science, innovation, research, and climate change.

In particular, the department is responsible for:

  • developing and delivering a comprehensive industrial strategy and leading the government’s relationship with business
  • ensuring that the country has secure energy supplies that are reliable, affordable and clean
  • ensuring the UK remains at the leading edge of science, research and innovation
  • tackling climate change
  • promoting competitive markets and consumer interests


I look forward to continuing to work for progress in Ruislip, Northwood, and Pinner, alongside my new Ministerial responsibilities..


For further information on the new Department, please see the links below:



A visit to Hillingdon’s participants in NCS The Challenge!

August 1, 2016

I was delighted to be able to visit the young people who have said 'Yes!' to taking on The Challenge in Hillingdon.

As former Minister of State for Civil Society, helping to push The National Citizen’s Service forward remains one of my proudest achievements, and I am very pleased to see that the number of young people getting involved has been increasing annually.

Over 1200 young people from Hillingdon and Harrow have signed up to say ‘Yes!’ to taking on The Challenge. This is fantastic news!

I was delighted to be able to meet some of the participants of Hillingdon’s National Citizenship Service (NCS) The Challenge on Friday 29th July. I visited Uxbridge College, where the young people were working hard ahead of a volunteering day.


For those of you who are not yet sure of what NCS offers:

NCS offers a 3-week programme for young people aged between 15 and 18 years old, which encourages youngsters to step out of their comfort zones, and immerse themselves in Adventure, Skills, and Social Action activities. The young people spend a week on each section of the programme, traveling in the first week to an outdoor activity centre. They are placed into groups, which become their team for the duration of the programme. The outdoor activity phase effectively acts as a team-building period for the young people. Activities may include raft-building, kayaking, abseiling, rock-climbing, among many others.

The second week offers a more tailored experience. Prior to joining the programme, each participant is offered the opportunity to select an activity of interest. The skills students are able to pursue, or acquire, include photography, sports, drama, and entrepreneurship, among others. A week long period of learning the skills ensues, delivered by a professional in the given area. The product is a presentation of the skills acquired, to the young people’s peers.

The third week focuses on social action. Each team is partnered with a local community charity and pursues the cause for the remainder of the week. The young people design and create a campaign revolving around those aided by their given charity. The campaign idea provides a platform from which the young people pursue increased publicity for their chosen cause. This includes campaigning publically, raising awareness, and/or donations for the charity. The week culminates in a full day of volunteering. This was the point at which I met the young people at Uxbridge College.


For more information, or to get involved, please go to: