A group of youngsters have been honoured at a graduation ceremony for taking part in a Northumberland initiative to increase their skills for the future.
The 28 graduates have taken part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme delivered in partnership by Northumberland County Council’s youth services team, which is designed to equip school leavers between the ages of 16 and 17 with skills in community leadership and organisation.
Participants on the programme work towards completing the ‘Northumberland Challenge’ which is made up of a series of missions including completing 20 hours of volunteering, taking part in an outdoor or sporting activity, organising an enterprise activity or fundraising event and visiting a historical or cultural attraction.
The programme also offers students the chance to deliver a ‘social action’ project to benefit their community as part of a number of phases which leads to graduation.
This year’s projects included visiting older members of the community to collect Christmas memories to produce a book; raising money to create care and gift packs for a homeless organisation and special school; and organising a sponsored 24 hour ‘stay awake’ raising over £510 for the Amble RNLI lifeboat appeal.
Coun Robert Arckless, cabinet member for children’s services at Northumberland County Council, said: “It is important that extra-curricular activities that young people undertake are celebrated, as it is essentially a long-term commitment to their personal development.
“I’d like to congratulate those graduating and I look forward to seeing the programme’s next cohort achieving the same success.”
This year’s students will now be able to begin working towards their V Inspired awards – a national award which recognises volunteering efforts that young people make in their community.
The NCS programme continues throughout the year with places available to start in February, July, August and October.
For more information about the programme and to register interest, email Participation@northumberland.gov.uk