Teens do national service

National Citizens Service graduation ceremony at North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax.

National Citizens Service graduation ceremony at North Bridge Leisure Centre, Halifax.

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Teenagers from various walks of life came together to build skills, confidence and esteem in a National Citizen Service (NCS) initiative.

In a Government programme open to all 16-17 year-olds, teenagers have the opportunity to participate in a six-week programme filled with outdoor, community and social activities.

31 teenagers from Calderdale took part in 2013’s summer NCS and 30 young people graduated with a certificate signed by the Prime Minister.

The group took part in two residential activities as well as contributing to local communities - including a clean-up at Woodfield care home, Greetland and involvement in Fair For You, Hebden Bridge.

The programme places an emphasis on team and communication building between the youngsters.

Referrals can be made by schools, substance misuse and other organisations.

David Redshaw NCS placement co-ordinator said: “We’re in our third year now and courses will extend to autumn and winter as well as summer.

“The main focus of the programme is to build a child’s self esteem and confidence. This is achieved through various physical and community activities. Not only do the teenagers come away feeling better about themselves; they also get qualifications - including 30 hours of voluntary hours, sports leadership, first aid, social action and drug awareness and a CNS certificate. It’s great for their CV’s and possessing them with job skills.”

Upon completition of the course, teenagers are invited to a graduation.

Summer NCS 2013 graduated at Northbridge leisure centre, Halifax.

Feeling proud, Dominic Taylor, 16, a former pupil at Ryburn High, read out his acceptance speech: “This year’s NCS made me think about how I should think about things in life...No matter if you’re black or white, or ginger or blonde or even if you have a lisp or can’t walk properly - you will always fit in with this happy but dysfunctional family.”

Speaking about NCS Dom said: “I have a lisp but I don’t have to be something I’m not at NCS.”

Katie Collins, 16, at Crossley’s school. said: “I’ve made some amazing friends and feel more confident now. It beats sitting at home all summer.”

Mr Redshaw said: “All of the graduates should be proud of themselves - they’ve come away knowing they’ve achieved something.”