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Jan 05 2012

Award for scheme inviting 16-year-olds for ‘summer of a lifetime’

A trial project that gave a group of 16-year-olds from Harrow the summer of a lifetime has won a prestigious award. Organisers have greeted the news with a fresh reminder for anyone who is 16 this summer, including residents who will have just sat their GCSEs, to apply to take part in Harrow’s National Citizen Service (NCS).

NCS is a three to four week, full time scheme for 16-year-olds to make friends, try new activities, learn new skills and volunteer in their community.

Harrow was one of the first local authorities in the UK to run a trial scheme in 2011, and it has just been recognised as the best in London, winning a top award from the national young people’s volunteering service, V. The scheme is run in partnership by V, Harrow Council and the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust. Last summer 15 young people took part and enjoyed:

  • Two separate week-long residential trips filled with sports, activities and team building fun
  • Mentoring from Paralympic gold medallist Tim Prendergast
  • Fundraising activities for homeless charities including sponsored rough sleeping, visits to,homeless projects and charity fun days.

The scheme brought together teenagers from very different backgrounds. They all gained new skills and experience they need to equip them for life after school, whether they are going into further education or looking for jobs. For some it was also a first opportunity to try out volunteering.

Those who took part met double Olympic Champion Dame Kelly Holmes while one member of the group visited Downing Street to meet the Prime Minister.

Due to the scheme’s success, funding has already been secured for 2012 and the Harrow Service will be doubling in size, inviting 30 young people to take part.

To find out more please email youthinfo@harrow.gov.uk or visit www.vinspired.com.

Cllr Mitzi Green is portfolio holder for children’s services on Harrow Council. She said:

“Harrow’s National Citizen Service was an incredible success and is great news that we have secured funding to double the size of the scheme in 2012.

“The scheme gives young people the skills they need to make the transition to adulthood, but does it in a fun, engaging way. Every one of this year’s participants agreed that it was an unforgettable experience.

“I congratulate everyone at the Council, our partners and especially to the young people themselves for their achievements and making the scheme such a success.

“It’s hugely exciting that in Olympic year too we will be working with once again with the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust and V. It promises to be the summer of a lifetime in more ways than one so I urge anyone taking their GCSEs this summer to apply as soon as possible.”

Comments from two of the 2011 participants

Vivek Patel, 16, said:

“The whole experience has been amazing – it’s been a lot of fun and I’ve made a lot of new friends. It was the summer of a lifetime.

“I’d definitely recommend every 16-year-old does the National Citizen Service and I hope the scheme continues for many years.”

Daryl Moy, 16, started a public services course at West Herts College after taking part in the scheme last summer, and wants to become a fire-fighter. He said:

“The National Citizen Service has changed me, and made me realise that if you put the hard work in, you can achieve whatever you want. The course is the first thing I have ever put the work into and I got so much out of it.

“To anyone thinking of taking part in this course, I’d say do it, it’s brilliant, and will help you.”

Source: Harrow Council

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