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ICS programme update

The UK Government and the ICS consortium are immensely proud of everything ICS has achieved to date.

Since 2011, VSO and our partners have supported over 40,000 ICS volunteers to contribute to sustainable change, working alongside community members in some of the poorest regions of the world. ICS volunteers have challenged the status quo, inspired young people to participate in development and ensured that the benefits of development are inclusive for all, especially those who are most marginalised in society.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, placements have not been operational since the spring.

Bringing young people from all walks of life together to volunteer on placement and back in their home communities brings about positive changes beyond just the 12-week placement. This has been truer than ever during the pandemic response, with volunteers like Molly supporting vulnerable members of her home community in the UK, and volunteers in Nepal promoting home schooling, encouraging families to pull together to support their children’s distance learning while schools have been closed for most of the year.

The current contract for ICS, delivered by VSO in partnership with Restless Development and Raleigh International, came to its planned end in December 2020. This means that we cannot accept further applications for the scheme at this time.

Conversations are ongoing in the UK's new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) about what a new phase of the scheme might look like and how we can operate this safely in a post-COVID world. The exact timing and structure of any future placements is unconfirmed.

If a significant time period elapses between an applicant starting their volunteer journey, and that individual departing on placement, it is likely volunteers may have to redo the application process. This includes any training they have undertaken to make sure they are equipped for a placement. We understand the time and commitment volunteers have put into the scheme, and the FCDO is working to implement a fair system for current applicants and volunteers. This will set out to ensure young people who have already started their ICS journey, including those who returned before their mid-phase review due to COVID-19, receive priority places for any future scheme.

We will share further details on the ICS website in due course, and you can find more information in these frequently asked questions.

In the meantime, young people can continue to join our National Youth Engagement Networks and find out more about the positive achievements of the ICS scheme to date.

Thank you for your interest in ICS.

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Funded by the UK Government.

ICS is funded by the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), which projects the UK as a force for good in the world, including reducing poverty and tackling global challenges.

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