Teens from across Northern Ireland awarded for supporting the local community
Last night (13 December) a group of 140 young people from across Northern Ireland have been awarded with a certificate signed by the Prime Minister after graduating from the NI National Citizen Service (NI NCS) this autumn, a youth empowerment programme in which they worked in groups to create a social action project to benefit the local community. Co-operation Ireland is the lead partner in the delivery of NCS in Northern Ireland.
The graduation ceremony, which took place at Crumlin Road Gaol, was held to commend the group for giving up their autumn half term as well as evenings and weekends on the NI NCS programme. On the programme they spent time living away from home, took part in outward bound activities and learnt key skills for work and life.
As part of the last phase of the programme, the teenagers developed their own social action projects around an issue they were passionate about in their local area. One of the teams, for example, decided to dedicate their social action project to helping children and young people in care at Christmas time. They heard about the Christmas Present Appeal being organised by Include Youth in partnership with Ulster Rugby, and decided they wanted to help. They did this by creating posters, distributing flyers and posting on social media to raise awareness of the appeal, and they also approached local businesses, their schools, friends and families to ask them to donate a gift. The group successfully collected a number of gifts that were donated to the Appeal, and will go a long way to help make sure every young person in Northern Ireland has a present waiting under the tree on Christmas morning.
Tamara Mochsine, aged 17, from Lurgan, a graduate of the NI NCS programme said: “It was great to be able to meet up with my team mates again at graduation and reminisce about all the fun and amazing experiences we had together on NI NCS. I feel like the people I met on programme will be friends for life; we’ve all learnt so much and have helped make a real difference in our community – I’ll never forget my time here!”
During the graduation ceremony, teens were reunited with their teams to share memories of their experience on the programme before being presented with the certificate by Paul Givan MLA, Minister for Communities, whose department funds NCS in Northern Ireland.
Communities Minister Paul Givan MLA said: “I was pleased to be able to attend the graduation ceremony to witness first-hand the achievements of the students and to be able to thank them for all their hard work. In just a few short weeks, and during a busy school term, this extraordinary group of young people achieved so much and I was really impressed with their social action projects and how enthusiastic they were about supporting the local community.”
NI NCS is a once–in-a-lifetime opportunity open to all 15 to 17 year olds across Northern Ireland. It is a unique programme open to all Northern Ireland teenagers and is focused around fun and discovery, with participants volunteering at least 30 hours to a community project they create to address an issue important to them.
To find out more about NI NCS in 2017, visit cooperationireland.org, or register for further info at ncsyes.co.uk
For further information or images, please contact: email@example.com or 02890321462.
Notes to Editors
National Citizen Service (NCS) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity open to 15-17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland taking place during spring (England only), summer and autumn holidays. The programme was established in 2011 to tackle three key social issues; social cohesion, social engagement and social mobility and so far over 200,000 young people have benefited from taking part.
It is a unique two - four week full-time programme focused around fun and discovery, plus 30 hours committed to a community project that benefits both young people and society. On this government backed programme, participants build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and adventures, making new friends, and contributing to their community. Not only do 15-17 year olds have the chance to give something back, but it looks great on CVs and UCAS recommends referencing NCS on personal statements.
Government backing (from the Department for Communities in NI) means that it costs just £50 or less to take part in NCS and bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is provided for young people with additional needs.
In 2013, NCS Trust, an independent social enterprise, was established to manage NCS and execute the ambitious expansion of the government backed programme.
To find out more information about NI NCS or to register for further info, visit NCSyes.co.uk. Like us on facebook.com/ncsnorthernireland or follow us on Twitter @ncsni
About Co-operation Ireland
Co-operation Ireland is the lead organisation delivering NCS in Northern Ireland.
Our delivery partners are Volunteer Now, YouthAction NI, Belfast YMCA, Start360, St Columb’s Park House, YouthWorks CIC, Greenhill YMCA and Share Village.
Northern Ireland National Citizen Service is funded by the Department for Communities with sponsorship in the North West from the Honorable Irish Society.