Teenagers learn life lessons during citizenship scheme

Young people from across the county were reunited at a special event at Newbiggin Sports Centre to receive their citizenship awards.
Young people from across the county were reunited at a special event at Newbiggin Sports Centre to receive their citizenship awards.

Teens in Northumberland, who took part in the National Citizen Service this autumn, were reunited at a special event this month to receive their citizenship awards.

The Government-backed scheme, available across the country, is open to 15 to 17-year-olds and includes participation in a string of activities during the holidays.

In Northumberland, one of the scheme organisers is Northumberland County Council’s Youth Service which worked with local youth clubs and projects to give participants an amazing experience.

The programme is designed to encourage young people to step out of their comfort zone and learn new skills while away from home. The young people are also responsible for planning and running community social-action projects.

Participants spend three nights at an outdoor centre, carrying out physical challenges such as mountain adventure, caving and team challenges.

During the second phase, the youngsters live away from home, spending two nights at the Kingswood Centre at Hexham, where they are given a shopping budget and learn to cook and be independent.

The final part of the programme is spent planning and delivering a project that would benefit the community at large. This year, half of the group helped disadvantaged families within Northumberland by fund-raising and providing more than 100 Christmas presents for the less fortunate.

The second half of the group planned and put on a fun day that raised more than £200 for the North East-based 4 Louis foundation.

Coun Robert Arckless, cabinet member for children’s services at the county council, said: “It is so rewarding to see the confidence of the teenagers grow as they progress through the scheme and make new friends. They learn leadership and communication skills and how to work as a team.

“The transformation in some of the young people is incredible. I believe that each and every young adult who took part in the scheme came away with a great sense of achievement. I would like to say a huge well done to all the young people involved.”

Contact Northumberland Youth Service on 01670 620320 or participation@northumberland.gov.uk