National project for teenagers

A group of teenagers from Rushden Community college will be taking part in a citizenship project to make a difference in their community.

A group of teenagers from Rushden Community college will be taking part in a citizenship project to make a difference in their community.

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A group of teenagers are using their school summer holidays to become better citizens by taking part in a community project.

The National Citizen Service provides young people in Years 11 and 12 from all backgrounds and with varying abilities with the opportunity and support to take on new challenges, learn new skills and make a difference.

A group of 15 teenagers from Rushden, all aged 16 and 17, are taking part in the project this summer.

The programme is shaped by young people for young people and is designed to develop leadership skills.

As well as visiting old people’s homes to perform a murder mystery play which they have written, the teenagers will also be helping to welcome this year’s new starters to their school at a transition summer school.

Project leader Jo Holmes said: “We have got a group of 16 and 17-year-olds from Rushden taking part in the National Citizen Service, which is a Government-led project.

“It involves four weeks of two residential, one week of training to look at community-based issues, and a week of social action projects, including a murder mystery which they are taking to two old people’s homes in Rushden.

“The murder mystery is really original and they worked really hard on it.

“Through the project they will also participate in a transition summer camp for Year 6 and 7 pupils. And they are also going to paint a bus shelter in Rushden town centre, which will include the journey they have been on through the project. They are also going to paint a mural for the new Rushden Mind headquarters in Rushden town centre.

“They are all teenagers who have come together because they want to make a difference in their community.

“They have demonstrated lots of leadership skills – it has been a great experience running the project.

“I have been able to step back and let them lead.”

When he announced the NCS project during the General Election in 2010, Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I want to see a programme which engages young people and gives them a sense of purpose, optimism and belonging.

“Something like national service, but not military, not compulsory but universal.

“And in the same spirit, mixing up people from different backgrounds. A residential programme, so young people have time to live together, work together, play together.”