Thurrock’s young citizens recognised at special awards ceremony

A GLAMOROUS night of celebration was held on Monday 12th December at Palmer’s College in Grays; marking the successful graduation of 30 young people from the Thurrock district from their National Citizen Service (NCS) programme.
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NCS is a once in a lifetime opportunity for 15-17 year olds to make a lasting mark in their local communities, whilst learning first-hand the skills that employers are looking for. During the programme this autumn, young people tried their hand at a range of activities, from rock climbing to problem solving. With the support of Future Creative’s team leaders, these young people were taken out of their comfort zone to face their fears, learn how to work in a team, make new friends and realise their true potential.

Whilst having fun is a huge element of the programme, these young people have also made an enormous contribution to local charities across the area. As part of their community project, the teams were required to create, present, and carry out a business plan outlining how they intended to raise money and awareness for charities; including Thurrock Mind, Macmillan and Make a Wish Foundation. The teams organised an array of fundraising activities; from raffles, sponsored walks, bag packing and bucket collections to quiz nights, non-school uniform days and family fun days, collectively raising approximately £1500 for their charities. However, it didn’t end with fundraising. Young people also worked hard to raise awareness through social media promotion, the creation of videos, and the design and distribution of leaflets and posters. All teams gave up 870 hours of their time to generate awareness for their charities, with many young people now looking to continue volunteering in their community.

Team member, Hannah Gardiner, commented on her experiences of the programme: “It was a life changing opportunity where I gathered new skills and developed my confidence so that I was able to be more vocal in different situations.” Morgan-Rae Menzies also talked about her time on NCS, and stated: “NCS allowed me to meet new people and obtain skills such as leadership, organisation and teamwork.”

During the ceremony, graduates received a certificate signed by the Prime Minister, and the graduation was attended by a number of key people within the Thurrock community, including the Mayor of Thurrock, Councillor Cathy Kent; Wendy Robertson, representative from Thurrock Mind; and Simon Conrich, volunteer from Make a Wish Foundation.

When giving her address, Councillor Cathy Kent congratulated the young people on their successes and discussed the importance of getting involved in your local area. She stated: “So many young people are portrayed negatively in the media and programmes such as NCS continue to demonstrate that there are many young people going the extra mile and making a difference to their communities.”

Danielle Barron, NCS Contract Manager at Future Creative, commented on the success of the programme: “Future Creative is proud to deliver NCS in the Thurrock area, and we have been inspired by the hard work and dedication of this autumn’s graduates. NCS is proven to have a massive impact on young people’s lives; UCAS recommends students include NCS in their personal statement, and almost three quarters (72%) of NCS graduates feel more confident about getting a job after completing the programme.”

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