Hexham MP talks social action with community-minded teens
Guy Opperman, MP for Hexham, has praised local teenagers for improving their communities by taking part in National Citizen Service (NCS).
NCS is the country’s fastest growing youth movement. Running during the school holidays, NCS enables 16 and 17 year olds to improve their local communities, whilst building new skills and experiences.
This coming summer, over one hundred teenagers from Mr Opperman’s Hexham constituency will be taking part in NCS following their GCSE exams. Visiting Queen Elizabeth High School in Hexham, the MP met with four graduates of the scheme to find out how NCS had benefitted them.
Amelia Berg-Rust, 17 from Slaley, Rory Bryson, 17 from Hexham, Liam Robinson-Meikle, 17 from Riding Mill, and James Scott, 17 from Shotley Bridge took part in NCS during the summer of 2016.
James said: “This time last year I’d never even thought of volunteering. Since NCS I am now volunteering at a youth club in Hexham and at a local care home.“
Amelia added: “Before NCS I was quiet. Now I take on opportunities and am more outgoing.“
Guy said:* “NCS does what it says on the tin. You can see that the young people have returned from NCS with new skills and experiences that will help them in the future. Plus they’ve shown that they’re a real credit to the area by organising projects that have benefited local community groups and charities.
“I’m delighted to support National Citizen Service and it’s encouraging to see the take-up of the programme in the constituency. I’d certainly recommend teenagers to sign up.”*
Kim Smith, Contract Director of NCS North East, a partnership of V•Inspired, National Youth Agency (NYA) and thirteen local delivery partners from the voluntary and community sector across the region, including Northumberland County Council, Catch22 and Newcastle United Foundation in Northumberland, said:* “It has been fantastic to see Guy meeting NCS graduates from his local community and witness him finding out about the positive outcomes that the programme brings.
“I’m also thrilled that Queen Elizabeth High School were able to host meeting. The school has been a great advocate of NCS and we see lots of their students take on the summer of a lifetime each year.”*
Dave Todd, Assistant Headteacher at Queen Elizabeth High School said: “We encourage as many of our year 11 students as possible to take part in NCS during the summer holidays.
“We see a noticeable difference in those that take part in NCS on their return to sixth form. They are more confident, show leadership skills and are able to boost their university applications.“
Over 5,200 North East teenagers have signed up to take part in NCS this summer. NCS, for 16 and 17 year olds, includes a week of adventure at an outdoor centre in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales or Scottish borders where teens will meet new people and enjoy adventure, fun and freedom. Teens will then spend another week developing life skills like confidence, leadership and communication while staying in a uni-style environment.
They’ll then work with their NCS team to deliver their own community project - making a lasting impact on the local area.
NCS enables young people to expand their horizons whilst gaining essential skills. The programme will never cost any young person more than £50 including food, transport and accommodation for the time away. Young people eligible for free school meals qualify for a bursary and can take part for £10 or less.
If you’re a parent and wish to find out more about NCS for your teen, call 0191 247 4020.