Young people learn to be good citizens

Sasha Forrest, of Corby, who is taking part in the National Citizen Service programme
Sasha Forrest, of Corby, who is taking part in the National Citizen Service programme
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Hundreds of Northamptonshire teenagers are making friends, building skills and giving back to the community as part of a nationwide voluntary programme for young people.

The National Citizen Service is a flagship Government initiative which provides 16 and 17-year-olds with a chance to take part in new challenges.

Phil Everett, communications officer for the scheme in Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and Rutland, said: “All the young people taking part in the summer programme are having an amazing time and making the most of their National Citizen Service experience. Not only are they building skills for the future and giving back to their local communities, but they’re also all having fun and making friends at the same time.”

Sasha Forrest, 16, from Corby, who is taking part in the programme, said: “My favourite part has been meeting loads of new people I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

“Not only has my confidence and ability to talk to new people grown, but I’ve also picked up loads of business-oriented communication skills.”

The first week of the programme, which started in July, saw young people from across the county bonding and building teamwork skills and confidence while experiencing the thrills of rock-climbing, raft-building, archery and other activities at adventure centres in West Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

The second week, called A Taste of Student Life, offered the opportunity to take part in CV-building workshops and presentations from businesses, including Coca-Cola, while building employability skills and living at the University of Northampton.

The final stage is the social action project, a chance for participants to give back to their local community by developing a project to benefit people in the area.

Sasha’s group spent time at Shire Lodge Nursing Home in Corby on Thursday and Friday (August 8 and August 9).

She said: “Our group decided to spend time with the elderly, so we put on a Cinderella pantomime for the home, as well as gardening and setting up Skype accounts for the residents so they can talk to relatives.

“If I hadn’t taken part in the programme I would probably have spent my summer at home, watching television. It’s been brilliant.”

Young people can sign up now to take part in the autumn programme which takes place during the schools’ half-term break in October.

It costs £35 and will include a five-day stay at an outdoor adventure centre with activities such as wall-climbing and archery, two days working with businesses to improve participants’ employability skills and a social action project.

Food and five nights accommodation are included in the cost.

For more information or to sign up, contact Phil Everett on 01522 574152, email phil.everett@eblo.org.uk or visit www.facebook.com/NCSEM1 and www.ncsem1.org.uk.