New partnership offers life changing opportunties through NCS

Young people throughout the North East are being invited to take part in a project that promises to change their lives and improve communities.

There have been more than 100,000 teenage graduates from the National Citizen Service (NCS) since its national launch in 2011. They have spent more than 1.9 million hours raising money for local good causes and organising projects such as restoring overgrown war graves.

They have spent more than 1.9 million hours raising money for local good causes and organising projects such as restoring overgrown war graves. Team hiking on NCS

In the North East a new partnership of charities – vInspired and National Youth Agency – is now offering more than 21,000 volunteering opportunities for young people.

“NCS is already a major success story. It has seen 16 and 17-year-olds design and lead projects that will have a lasting and positive effect on their communities. They also have a great time, make close and lasting friends and develop skills which will help them throughout their lives,” said Kim Smith of vInspired. Sm

Programmes are held three times a year – in spring, summer and autumn. Any young person in the NE aged between 15 and 17 has until 20 October to sign up to the next programme happening later this month during the half-term school holiday. It only costs £50 to take part.

The week will start with three days at an outdoors centre. There participants will try their hand at activities such as archery, canoeing, hiking and rock climbing. Then, back home, they spend the next three days taking part in workshops about cookery, budgeting and independent living. They will also learn more about their local areas by meeting key people from the community.

They then apply all the skills they have acquired to choose and deliver a social action project.

Through her social action project Bethan Sproat, from Blyth, decided to raise money for the Northern Brainwave Appeal which had supported the family of one of the members of her NCS group whose father had died from a brain tumour.

“Our group arranged a sponsored walk to raise awareness and money for the charity and also organised a fun day with lots of sports, games and fundraising stalls,” she said. They collected £1200 which helped the charity buy an ultrasound scanner.

As well as potentially helping to save lives, Bethan – a former student at the Queen Alexandra Sixth Form College in Alnwick – believes NCS had made a positive impact on her own development. “I am definitely more confident and I have picked up lots of interpersonal skills such as communication, teamwork, planning, organisation and meeting deadlines. All of these skills will help me at university and beyond,” she said.

That self-assurance saw Bethan, now 19, become last year’s “face” of Newcastle Fashion Week. She is now a student at The University of London. “Without the confidence and skills I gained from the NCS programme I don’t think I would have achieved these three massive opportunities in my life,” she said.

“Bethan’s story is typical,” said Martin Thomson of vInspired. “Through NCS thousands of young people are supporting their local communities and at the same time helping themselves. In the long-term their experiences might be life changing. In the short term what better way to demonstrate to a university or a potential employer the sort of person you are and what you are capable of achieving?”

For more information and to sign up to the National Citizen Service visit