Young people in Sunderland are being offered life-changing opportunities thanks to the National Citizen Service -; and I would urge them to seize this chance of a brighter future.
Last week I met with Kim Smith, who represents a partnership of national youth charities VInspired and National Youth Agency -; which delivers the programme in the North East.
Nearly 6,000 young people aged 16 and 17 have taken part in NCS since September 2015 -; 670 from Sunderland -; enjoying activity-filled trips to Yorkshire or the Lake District.
But that isn’t where NCS ends. There are also sessions to build confidence, leadership and communication skills, as well as help with learning to live independently and involvement in local projects.
I was told about many fantastic examples of our young members of NCS making a positive difference to the city during my meeting with Kim, including working with Bethany City Church to provide homeless people with food.
Those involved with NCS have also transformed the garden at Grace House respite centre, as well as looked after abandoned animals with Happier Days for Strays.
I’m very proud ofall those teenagers who have already grabbed their future with both hands through NCS, and of those who will set off on their own life-changing experience this summer and beyond.
* A place on NCS costs £50 (£10 for those eligible for free school meals) -; covering travel, accommodation, food, activities, training and more.
Summer departure dates for Sunderland are July 20, July 24, July 31 and Aug 5. To sign up, visit NCSNORTHEAST.CO.UK or call 0191 247 4020.