By Tony Dewhurst
MP Tim Loughton has reserved special praise for The Football League Trust in helping inspire thousands of young people to learn new skills and put something back into their communities via the National Citizen Service.
Loughton worked closely with Prime Minister David Cameron in launching the National Citizen Service scheme last year and said: "The Football League Trust is at the vanguard of this project, helping youngsters and showing how a project like this can work and do great good in society.
"The Prime Minister is passionate about the National Citizen Service, and is very, very proud of what all the youngsters have achieved."
Launched in 2011, NCS gives 16 and 17-year-olds the chance to learn new skills - and nearly 30,000 participated this summer.
This year, The Football League Trust worked with 15 of their community trusts - from Rotherham United to Plymouth Argyle - to deliver NCS within their local communities.
Mr Loughton added: "I was thrilled to be at the National Citizen Service graduation ceremony at the O2 Arena, listening to these incredible young people, many saying that this was the best thing they'd ever done.
"The number of them who got up on stage and said that it had had given them the confidence to go out and do something so worthwhile in their communities was very uplifting.
"I heard many inspiring stories, but the common theme that shone through was team work, how they helped each other with a togetherness that had given them the belief and offered them a different perspective on life.
"When David Cameron devised the idea of the National Citizen Service, he wanted a project that could really make a difference to young people, who often get a very bad press.
"Time and time again, though, we've seen that when young adults are given a chance then they can produce fantastic things and they've shown that on the NCS and with the great help of The Football League Trust."
The Football League Trust chairman John Nixon said: "It is all about forging that link, like The Football League Trust do every day in the community.
"The National Citizen Service is proving a fantastic stage for the youngsters, bringing out the best in them.
"The teenagers who took part in the National Citizen Service this year will benefit enormously, but their experience will also feed through into society and we'll see the results in the future.