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Do you want national service for British youth?

14th - 21st June 2024

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Total votes


5-11 votes


11-16+ votes

For this VoteTopic, voters took a closer look at national service and whether it's something young people would be interested in doing once they turn 18. VotesforSchools also provided an assembly explaining the voting process.

Secondary, 16+ & College voters were asked: “Do you want national service for British youth?”, while Primary 7-11 voters discussed: “Should compulsory volunteering be introduced for 18-year olds?” and Primary 5-7 voters considered: “Should adults choose whether you join in with activities?”

38,043 young people in the UK have taken part in this vote.

Age 5-11 voter

I think compulsory volunteering would be a good thing because it would help people to not be so shy.

Age 11-16 voter

No - young people should be able to enjoy their youth rather than be pressured to take part in national service/volunteering Some young people have their plans and dreams and may not want to join NS.

Age 16+ voter

As young people, we feel this would be a disservice to our generation. We already have enough struggles as it is, particularly for those with SEND, that are not supported enough. We do not feel we owe the country our service, as the country does not provide us with enough support [...].

Thank you to The Big Help Out for responding to young people's voices on this VoteTopic!

"At #TheBigHelpOut, we want to encourage everyone to try volunteering in a way that they enjoy!

Your vote, we learned that many of you are okay with adults helping you choose activities now, but you also understand that as you grow older, you'll want to make your own choices. This vote shows us how important it is for you to have control over your decisions. That's why we’ll continue to work hard to make sure that when you turn 18, the Big Help Out will make it easy and help you to try out volunteering, choose your own volunteering roles and decide how and when you want to help out!"

Response from Olivia, Campaign Manager for The Big Help Out

  • 5-7-year olds were discussing the question, "Should adults choose whether you join in with activities?" Over half, at 55%, voted 'Yes'.
  • Conversely, 70% of 7-11-year olds voted 'No' to the question, "Should compulsory volunteering be introduced for 18-year olds?"

  • Secondary, College and 16+ voters were discussing the question, "Do you want national service for British youth?"
  • 80% of Secondary students and 79% of College & 16+ students voted 'No'.

  • Many found issue with the term 'compulsory volunteering', arguing that by definition, volunteering shouldn't be enforced.
  • Some 'Yes' voters said that national service could have a positive effect on young people, as it could help them decide on a career path and improve their confidence.
  • However, many critiqued this view, stating that there could be negative consequences, particularly for those with additional needs or who struggle with their mental health.