Young volunteers awarded for their citizenship

Picture caption: Cllr Judith Blake (centre) with some of the NCS participants.

Young people from across Leeds have been awarded for their part in a national citizenship scheme at a glitzy ceremony.

The group of 16 and 17 year olds attended the awards ceremony at the Met hotel where they received certificates for completing the National Citizen Awards programme from Cllr Blake, the deputy leader of Leeds City Council.

As part of this voluntarily attended scheme, staffed by Leeds City Council’s youth service, the young people worked over the autumn leading on delivering a variety of well-deserved local community projects, including organising a Mental Health Awareness event, running a football tournament for 50 young people in Kippax, organising a health and fitness sessions for young people, and sharing experiences through discussions with older people in care homes in Rothwell. Their hard work amounted to around £16,000 worth of time devoted to community projects.

Councillor Judith Blake, deputy leader of Leeds City Council and executive member for children’s services said:
“These young people are setting an excellent example to us all and demonstrating that hard work really does pay off. Communities across the city have benefited enormously from the commitment these young people have shown.

“It was great to have the opportunity to meet with the youngsters and hear about their projects and how successful they all were. Hearing them describe taking part in the scheme as a ‘life changing experience’ was fantastic.

“By taking part in this scheme the young people have taken on some big challenges, but have come away with new skills and experiences, which will undoubtedly help them in their future careers.”

At the event, the young people were also joined by councillors, parents and BBC Look North presenter Harry Gration.

A total of 221 young people completed the scheme this year with a 176 young people graduating at a Town Hall event, just before Christmas for the summer programme, and 45 more at this month’s ceremony.

As part of the programme the young people challenged themselves in a huge variety of ways, for example, by meeting new people from different areas of Leeds and making new friends; for some going away on their own for the first time; developing and improving communication skills; learning a variety of new practical and life skills; and building self-confidence.

One participant, Catherine Jackson said: ‘the NCS project has been a life changing experience’. ‘We all worked together to encourage them to look past their fears and enjoy themselves’.

Rosie Fields, another NCS volunteer said: ‘We have all become more confident. We’ve done things that we would never have dreamed of doing in the past’.

The participants also developed a range of other skills for life including: project planning; leadership; negotiation skills; marketing; and meeting visitors such as councillors and representatives from community organisations.

All the young people went away on a residential experience either at Herd Farm or Lineham Farm. A range of activities were undertaken included team and personal challenges such as archery, assault course, giant swing, high ropes, BMX-ing, and night walk. Plans and roles for NCS social action planning started to take place.

The NCS is a nationwide initiative, funded by central government, offering residential experiences and leading on local social action projects to engage young people aged 16-17 to build their confidence, improve teamwork and develop other skills to enable them to work together successfully.

The council’s youth service is now recruiting 16-17 year olds for the summer and autumn NCS groups.

Young people should apply by calling 0800 027 9111 and quoting Leeds City Council as their local provider, or visit the website: www.ncsyes.co.uk or like the Facebook page: NCS.

The cost of the programme is currently £35 per young person. Bursaries are available and each young person will be considered for eligibility at the time of sign up.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713

Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk