Charity’s biggest summer to date

Youngters enjoying a campfire.
Youngters enjoying a campfire.

A local charity has been encouraging leadership skills and opportunity with over 100 young people as part of its summer programme.

Whilst most in the education sector have stopped to enjoy a summer break, staff from Bedlington-based Leading Link have spent the last four weeks working with 112 young people as part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme.

The NCS is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that helps young people aged between 15-17 to build their skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and meeting new friends.

Leading Link has been a major delivery partner in Northumberland, delivering the NCS to over 500 places since 2011, including seven cohorts this summer.

Participants are involved in a two week residential programme, with outward bound activities including rock climbing and raft building followed by skill building including Emergency First Aid, followed by delivering their own Social Action project in their local community.

Lyn Horton, manager of Leading Link, said: “The National Citizen Service (NCS) has been an amazing programme to be involved with – and it always brings out the very best in the young people that we work with.”

Projects this year have included raising money for charity through a five-a-side football tournament, BBQ and entertainment in the bandstand at Carlisle Park in Morpeth, a basketball tournament and a hugely successful band night at Bedlington Community Centre, which saw £240 raise for the Newman Holiday Trust.

Young people have also been running art workshops in local care homes, raising money for West End Refuge in Newcastle and helping Leading Link to run their Children’s University and Year 6 transition workshops for local schoolchildren.

Lyn added: “The fact that over 100 young people have been through a two week residential programme and gone on to plan and deliver some amazing projects in their local communities speaks volumes.

“Before July of this year we had over 75 active NCS Graduates still involved in our activities – I have a feeling that may increase after the Summer Graduation.”