Adventure and Youth Activities

Julian has fought hard to promote outdoor adventure, especially for young people to have the opportunities to learn about risk management, self-discipline and teamwork. He thinks that if young people aren’t afforded opportunities for structured risk taking, then they will go out and find excitement themselves. At best, this will be more dangerous than properly structured activities. At worst, it can mean recklessly endangering their lives or severely anti-social activity, particularly through gangs.

Julian has been active in promoting legislation in this field. Under the previous Government, Julian endorsed a Private Members Bill to defend organisations providing adventure training from the Compensation Culture. Although the government blocked the bill, it responded with the Compensation Act 2006 which went some way to address the threat to adventure and recreation amongst young people, caused by a series of bad court rulings. Two major surveys in the last twelve years have found that fear of being sued if an accident occurred was the largest single barrier to volunteering in sporting and adventure training organisations.

Julian has been a long supporter of youth adventure groups. He is President of Canterbury Sea Cadets and a link to this part of his work can be found here:

During a banned Cub Scout lobby of Parliament in 2009, he joined calls with fellow MPs for the ban to be lifted. The Scouts had planned a trip to Parliament and a room had been booked for them off Westminster Hall in order that they could lobby MPs to oppose a rise in water charges for voluntary groups. The Commons authorities had cancelled the room booking on the grounds that the scouts were “not yet eligible to vote” so could not meet their MPs. He then wrote to the Speaker seeking his intervention to overturn the “unacceptable” decision on the grounds that “all constituents, regardless of age, should be free to lobby their MPs”, and the ban was successfully lifted.

Julian has also been a strong supporter of “Challenger Troop” in Kent. Challenger Troop aims to provide a military style curriculum in partnership with the Department for Education to motivate disaffected young people improve their confidence, ability to learn, teamwork, communication and leadership skills, and attitudes towards others, whilst achieving nationally recognised qualifications.

On the 17th July 2014, Julian attended the Canterbury Challenger Troop evening award ceremony and handed out certificates and medals to 40 young graduates who completed a challenging 12 week programme. With 88% of young men and 74% of young women in young offenders’ institutions having been excluded from school, Challenger Troop offers these young people a chance to stay in school and positively turn their life around. It has thus far helped over 400 young people across England, 80% of whom said that the course positively changed them.

Julian subsequently strongly supported the Coalition government’s Social Action, Responsibility, and Heroism Bill in 2014, which aims to close the remaining loopholes. He will be keeping a close eye on developments in this field.