Teenagers urged to sign up for National Citizen Service

NCS ambassador Bear Grylls

NCS ambassador Bear Grylls

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Sixteen and 17-year-olds from Northamptonshire have a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in the National Citizen Service during the October half-term holiday.

Following the success of the scheme over the summer it is being made available to young people in the autumn for the first time from October 29.

Young people will have the chance to do activities such as abseiling, rock climbing or canoeing. To find out more information and sign up go to www.direct.gov.uk/ncs

The new autumn programme will give more young people a chance to get involved in NCS. Over half term they will spend time away from home doing outdoor activities and learning new skills. During the rest of the programme, taking place over the following six weekends, they will work with their teams to learn about their community and organise and run their own social action projects.

Tamlyn Potgieter, 17, from Kettering, said that NCS had helped her to develop an interest in volunteering and charity work, and she is keen to do more in future.

After taking part in outdoor activities and team-building tasks during the residential part of the course this summer, Tamlyn and her team chose to help their local community youth centre, Keystone Escape in Kettering, for their social action project. They organised a daytime family event featuring music, stalls and a barbecue, along with an evening concert aimed at local young people.

Tamlyn, who is studying for A-Levels at Tresham College, said: “I really enjoyed the whole experience – it taught me to be more confident and not live in a ‘bubble’. I learned a lot about myself, and it was great to work as a team with other people to put our ideas into action and make a real difference to our local community.

“It also helped me to realise that volunteering is fun, and this is definitely something I want to do more of.”

NCS ambassador Bear Grylls said: “National Citizen Service is an incredible programme which reaches out to young people in all communities around the country and offers them the chance to learn great life and outdoor skills. It gives them opportunities to develop skills such as teamwork, leadership, adventure, pride and responsibility. I would urge young people to sign up to the places available to take part in this brilliant scheme this autumn.”

Minister for Civil Society, Nick Hurd, said: “We want to offer every teenager the opportunity to take part in National Citizen Service.

“It’s an incredibly positive programme that brings young people from across the country together, stretching them with new experiences and with the chance to do something very positive in their community, while also developing skills that will make them more work ready.”

The autumn programme builds on the success of NCS, now in its second pilot year, which was so popular that in the independent evaluation from 2011, nine out of 10 young people who’d been involved said that they would recommend it to a friend.