Press Stories

Because NCS is a life-changing, awesome adventure, we often get great press coverage across the North East. Here you'll find out a bit more about NCS in the region, what makes NCS graduates tick and why NCS can make such meaningful impacts. #ReadAllAboutIt!

Teenagers reunite to raise donations for homeless young people

22nd November 2016


Left to right: Amy Gormanley of Centre Point and Aelred Robinsob of NCS North East.

NCS North East grads reunited to plan future volunteering ambitions, reminisce and celebrate their time with NCS.

The event also helped raise festive donations that the teenagers have donated to local young people affected by homelessness via the charity Centrepoint.

Over one hundred NCS graduates came together at the event, organised by the North East NCS Youth Board, in Newcastle to hear about ways they could access and fund future volunteering opportunities as well as reconnecting with friends. Local bands Post Rome and Waiting out the Wind performed while teenagers took part in a series of inflatable challenges.

16 year olds Alex Sagar, Charlotte Haswell and Yve Edmunds met while taking part in NCS during the summer. The trio attended different schools, so met for the first time through the programme and are now inseparable friends.

Alex, from South Gosforth, said: “We took on activities like gorge walking in the Lake District which were really out of our comfort zones but brought us closer together as a team.”

“The best part of NCS was meeting new friends like Alex and Charlotte” added Yve, from Whitley Bay.

Bonding through adventure, teamwork and the completion of a community project, the mates are planning to continue volunteering.

Charlotte, from Cowgate, added: “We want to continue the legacy of our NCS projects and help even more local charities.”

Friends Sophie Thomson, 17 from Morpeth, and Steph Gallet, 18 from Alnwick, also met through NCS.

Sophie said: “NCS was so good! You meet loads of different people you wouldn’t normally meet and I feel like the door has been opened for extra opportunities.”

Steph added: “The live music today has been great and it’s been fantastic to catch up with friends from NCS.”

NCS North East’s graduate coordinator Aelred Robinson said: “The reunion event has been a great success.

“NCS graduates are so passionate. Many have developed the desire to continue social action projects and the idea of the reunion event was to give them access to extra opportunities to do this. The event has also been the perfect occasion for friends to reunite and celebrate everything they’ve achieved through NCS.”

In exchange for entrance into the event NCS graduates donated an item for young people affected by homelessness in the region. Hundreds of items including toiletries, food items and winter clothing were collected for the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint, along with festive stocking fillers and selection boxes.

NCS graduate and youth board member Hannah Munslow, 17 from East Boldon, said: “We were able to collect hundreds of items for Centrepoint that will hopefully improve the Christmases of local young people who have been affected by homelessness.”

Amy Gormanley, Senior Fundraising Officer at Centrepoint, said: “It is fantastic that young people can get together through NCS to support homeless young people. Christmas is a particularly difficult time for the young people that we support so donations like these are really appreciated.”

Open to all 16 and 17 year olds in the North East, NCS involves teenagers spending time away from home during the holidays enjoying adventure, fun and freedom before returning and developing important confidence, leadership and communication skills.

They then work with their team to design and deliver a rewarding community project that makes a real difference to the local area.

Parents, give us some space!

Research suggests teens need to be left alone to revise at exam time.

3rd May, 2016
alt County Durham teenager offers advice for teenagers and parents in the North East on coping with exam stress

  • National Citizen Service is offering advice to parents and teens on handling stress during the busy exam period

  • Research reveals teens prefer to be left alone when studying but are motivated by something to look forward to

  • Callum Graham from Leadgate shares how he survived the stress of the exam period

A County Durham teenager is offering advice to parents and teens on handling stress during the busy exam period, after research from the country’s flagship youth programme reveals teens in the North East prefer their parents to leave them alone during revision and focus their energy on finding exciting activities for them to do once their exams are finished.

New research suggests 78% of teens expect exam stress to have negative impacts to their appearance, health or mental state in some way during the revision period, with many eating more or less than usual, not showering or changing their clothes, and others not leaving the house for days. Stress will even cause some teens to sit alone in the dark in angst , whereas others may show signs of anger .

Janey Downshire, specialist in teenage development from Teenagers Translated, says: “Witnessing these often concerning changes can be difficult for parents and it can be very hard not to jump in and get involved. However, whilst it’s important to keep an eye on any dramatic changes in appetite, sleep patterns and behaviours, sometimes being overly involved can inflame the situation even further.”

In fact, one of the best things parents can do to help is to just leave them alone until they’re ready to talk or better yet, keep siblings out of the way … Except when it comes to bringing in regular refreshments cooking their favourite meals or giving them something to look forward to when it’s all over .

Callum, 16, admits they struggled to cope with stress during the exam period but their saviour was having something to look forward to post exams. Following his own experience on the NCS programme in summer 2015, Callum is urging teens and their parents to remember that there is life beyond exam stress and recommends planning a unique and life-changing experience such as NCS.

Open to all 16 and 17 year olds across the North East this summer, NCS offers three weeks of fun and discovery, whilst giving teens the chance to meet new people, take part in physical challenges and learn skills for work and life.

Callum, who studied for his GCSEs at St Bede’s Catholic School in Lanchester, says: “It’s easy to get trapped in the bubble of revision and exams and your day-to-day life is bound to change in order to accommodate the stress you’re feeling or the amount of work you have. Looking back, my own behaviour and attitude did alter and I’m sure those around me noticed the difference, especially my parents. My parents were really supportive and I valued their help but I often found it easier to be left to my own devices and revise in the best way that suited me – it was great that my parents understood that, they were going to be proud of me no matter what the result of my exams were.

He adds: “Where my parents really supported me was by allowing me to plan something to look forward to after my exams. Whilst it was a stressful time, having NCS to look forward to after exams made it a lot more bearable and helped to keep me feeling positive. It was a great feeling knowing that once I had worked hard I could go on NCS where I would meet other young people in the same position as me, develop news skills, approach new challenges and start to look beyond exams and revision.”

Callum is now studying mechanical engineering at Derwentside College and has ambitions to obtain an apprenticeship.

For parents, it can be difficult to know exactly the best way to support their teens. Although they may think they have their teen’s best interest at heart it was also found that the most frustrating things parents can do during the revision period include confiscating technology, micromanaging revision calendars or saying things like “shouldn’t you be revising” or “how can you think with that music/YouTuber/screen on” - with one in ten citing parents as their biggest distraction from revision.

National Citizen Service is a three week programme for 16 & 17 year olds taking place this summer across the North East, with an additional 30 hours dedicated to a social action project. The programme helps teens develop skills for work and life including confidence, leadership and resilience, whilst also expanding social networks.

Kimberley Cummings, NCS Recruitment Team Leader for the County Durham area, says: “The exam period is an extremely pressuring and exhausting time for young people and all too often they find it a challenge to see that there is anything beyond exams. It’s important for teens with the support of their parent to realise that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That is why having a programme such as NCS is such a positive experience. It allows 16 & 17 years olds to have something to look forward to, transition away from the exams stress whilst meeting new people and gaining new experiences. It’s reassuring to see so many teens having fun.”

Top 10 worst things parents could say or do during revision period:
  1. Shouldn’t you be revising?” (52%)
  2. “Just do your best” (34%)
  3. “Can you really think with that music on?” (27%)
  4. “How can you work with all those screens on?” (23%)
  5. “If you’ve put in the time you’ll be ok“(19%)
  6. Confiscate your mobile phone (19%)
  7. “Exams are so much easier these days” (15%)
  8. Saying things like “Is that YouTuber really helping with your revision” (13%)
  9. Pretending to know more than they do (10%)
  10. Micromanaging your revision calendar (9%)
Top 10 revision rituals
  1. Rewarding yourself with snacks or treats (24%)
  2. Highlighting way more than necessary (15%)
  3. Reading everything out loud to yourself (15%)
  4. Putting notes or post its around the house (10%)
  5. Using exactly the same pen or certain colour ink every day (9%)
  6. Writing notes in weird places (8%)
  7. Exercising way more than usual (8%)
  8. Using mindfulness or relaxation tools (7%)
  9. Creating songs or raps to remember things (6%)
  10. Only revising at certain times of the day e.g. 1 minute past the hour (5%)

To find out more about National Citizen Service in the North East, call 0191 247 4020

Izzy Bizzu and Blonde announced to perform alongside Tinie Tempah at NCS YES LIVE 2016 - NE teens have a chance to attend (In Partnership With 4Music)

15th Feb, 2016
Tinie Tempah, Izzy Bizzu and Blonde pose with NCS YES LIVE staging.

• Joining Tinie Tempah To Celebrate The Great Achievements Of Young People

• Inspirational Jamal Edwards To Champion ‘Social Action Star’ Award Nominee

• Takes Place 29 March 2016 At The Roundhouse, Camden

• North East teenagers taking part in National Citizen Service (NCS) have chance to attend

• 4Music Announced As Broadcaster

Tinie Tempah, NCS Ambassador and curator of NCS YES LIVE 2016 has announced that BRIT Critics’ Choice Award Nominee, Izzy Bizu and top ten-selling DJ duo, Blonde have been confirmed to join Tinie and perform at NCS YES LIVE, a pro-social music and awards event hosted by National Citizen Service (NCS). Taking place at The Roundhouse, Camden on 29 March 2016, NCS YES LIVE will celebrate the great achievements of young people, including tens of thousands from the North East, rewarding them for over eight million hours of social action. Stay tuned as one more special music guest is still to be announced!

Graduates of NCS from the North East can attend the event, along with teens who have signed up to the upcoming summer programme.

Izzy Bizu, who’s single ‘White Tiger’ is currently the soundtrack to NCS’s TV advert, which led to the song storming the Shazam charts said: “I’m really looking forward to performing at NCS Yes Live with Tinie Tempah and Blonde. NCS is doing great things for young people and the response to my song being featured on their advert has been amazing, so I jumped at the chance to be involved in the event. It’s going to be a great gig, so if you’re 16 or 17, sign up and come along”

4Music favourites Blonde have been making major waves in the electronic/house music scene lately and said: “It’s really cool to be asked to be a part of NCS Yes Live, a celebration for young people across the country. We’re gonna’ make sure we blow the roof off The Roundhouse and give them a show they deserve!”

NCS YES LIVE will host 3,000 young people at The Roundhouse Camden and in partnership with 4Music, showcasing and celebrating the difference NCS graduates and their social action projects make to local communities in the UK.

As well as live performances from Tinie Tempah, Izzy Bizu and Blonde, two awards will be presented that acknowledge ‘Social Action Star’ and ‘Most Inspirational Team Leader or Mentor’. Special guests will be on hand to champion each nominee for ‘Social Action Star’ and NCS is thrilled to announce, Jamal Edwards, Patron of NCS, is the first to be confirmed. Jamal will shine a light on one of the teens’ social action projects up for the award.

Jamal Edwards said: “I’ve been a supporter of NCS since the programme launched. The work that they do to inspire and help young people make a change in their communities is fantastic. It’s great that I’m able to be a part of it all and also take a role in inspiring teens today to make a difference and have #SelfBelief. NCS Yes Live is going to be a brilliant event and I’m looking forward to seeing just how amazing young people can be!”

Throughout the day, the already announced all-star YouTuber presenting team of Ali-A, Emma Blackery, Jake Boys and Emily Canham, who have almost 10 million subscribers collectively, will be interviewing the stars of the show in the exclusive Greenroom show and creating digital content documenting the day. Special guest Poppy Jamie, announced as NCS Snapchat Ambassador for NCS YES LIVE will also be reporting live from the event.

You can also catch the full NCS YES LIVE event when it is broadcast exclusively by 4Music along with behind the scenes footage and unprecedented access to artists. Broadcast date to be confirmed, so stay tuned!

Natasha Kizzie, Director of Marketing & Communications at NCS said: “We couldn’t be more excited about supporting new British talent and we're looking forward to having the extremely talented Izzy Bizu and Blonde perform at NCS YES LIVE on 29 March at The Roundhouse. We will be celebrating the achievements of NCS graduates and we want this event, with the help of Jamal Edwards and other special guests still to be announced, to encourage other young people to take part in NCS this summer and make their mark on their local communities.”

Kim Smith, Contract Director of the vInspired/NYA Partnership which runs NCS across the North East, says: “It is fantastic that North East graduates of NCS and young people taking part in our upcoming summer programme have the chance to attend this amazing gig with some incredible talent performing. Of course, the real stars of the show are our NCS graduates who dedicated their summer to making a difference in their local communities. It will be great to see them rewarded for their efforts.”

The National Citizen Service (NCS) is a three-week part-residential programme for 16-17 year olds in the UK, focused on fun and discovery but designed to build confidence, grow life skills and increase social conscience.

NCS is built on the belief that given the respect, tools and opportunity young people can change the world around them. A recent Ipsos Mori evaluation of NCS into the immediate and longer-term benefits of the programme show that NCS is having a positive and long-lasting impact on its participants, with NCS graduates being more capable, confident, connected and compassionate than their peers. Over 200,000 16 and 17 years olds have taken part in this rite of passage since the programme was founded in 2011.

Over a three week programme plus 30 hours dedicated to a social action project of their choice, NCS prepares young people for the next stage in their lives, building the confidence that they can live away from home, be self-sufficient and pursue the career they want. NCS takes young people out of their comfort zone, helping them to confront challenges, face fears and build resilience. Teenagers across the country get the opportunity to meet and mix with other teenagers from different backgrounds. This is valuable because they might never have spent time together, were it not for their time spent getting to know each other on NCS.

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to NCS YES LIVE, sign up to the 2016 programme at or call 0191 338 7800 before 29th February. Entrants aged 16 years old on the date of event (29th March) will be entered into a daily prize draw.

A social action project that really makes sense

18th Dec, 2015
Young person from South Tyneside College using their new Autism-friendly sensory room

Students with special needs at South Tyneside College have made a positive change in their community by creating a special sensory room to support their learning.

The group, who call themselves ‘Project Sense’, are all on the autistic spectrum and study within the college’s specialist Interface department.
They researched and fundraised to enhance an existing facility through the creation of a unique sensory room to help themselves and fellow learners to relax.

The youngsters came together through college partner National Citizen Service (NCS) in a project delivered by Headliners, a media charity that works to raise the voices of young people.

As part of their programme, they took part in an adventure activities residential and worked together as a team volunteering the community and learning new skills before agreeing and delivering a social action project.
That identified a need for a space within Interface where those with additional needs could chill out and stimulate their senses - and made this their goal.

Students Ben Allison, Darren Glass, Matthew Cook, Amy Jackson, Brandon Ridley and Niall Clare were those involved.

Ben, from Cleadon, said: “We have had great fun choosing a space and deciding what things to put in the room. I really love the dangling coloured lights.”

Darren added: “People with autism can get frustrated in some social situations. Our sensory room will ensure students have somewhere safe to go when they need time out.”

Matthew said: “A lot of people don’t realise that autism has a spectrum; they associate the condition with extreme behaviour. We want to promote more understanding.”

Project Sense raised £295 from the local community towards the cost of their sensory room, which contains calming lights and other visuals, relaxing sounds, and comfortable furniture.

The group’s work also highlighted a need for more understanding of autism and they are making a film to answer common misconceptions.

Nicola Beldham, a curriculum manager at South Tyneside College, said:
“I’m passionate about this project. Although the group attend a mainstream college, it is important for them to have access to facilities to support their individual needs. They recognised there was scope to improve an existing ‘chill out’ zone, and took it upon themselves to do just that. I am very proud of all they have achieved in creating this stunning and extremely usable room.”

Fiona Wyton, the Director of Headliners added: “These young people have delivered a fantastic social action project and made a real change in their community, which is what the NCS programme is all about. They are a credit to South Tyneside and great role models for young people.”

Kim Smith, Contract Director for National Citizen Service in the North East, said: “In delivering this wonderful sensory room, the group highlights how young people are creating positive change through NCS. Young people in our region collectively dedicated a staggering 25,830 hours in total to helping their communities this autumn.”

The college’s Interface model brings a fresh and highly innovative approach to post-16 learning and development, and is unique to mainstream Further Education in the North East.

NCS is now urging young people to secure their place on its next available programme. Places for the spring experience - which begins in February half term - are filling up fast, with some areas already fully booked. The popular summer programme takes place during the August school break and includes a residential experience of two weeks for no more than £50 per young person.

Durham teens in running for prestigious national social action award

24 November 2015, press release.
Young people on NCS programme hit the streets of Durham to promote the Hands on Ears campaign in summer 2015.

Durham teens in running for prestigious national social action award
Durham young people are to be recognised for their social action campaigning, in a glitzy national awards ceremony in the capital this week.

The inspiring team have been short-listed for the National Citizen Service Award at the Children and Young People Now Awards, held in London on 26 November. The prestigious nomination follows a deaf awareness campaign, delivered by the teenagers last summer.

Kim Smith, Contract Director for NCS in the North East, said:

“We couldn’t be more proud of these outstanding young people. With their ideas and energy, they are great ambassadors for our region, showcasing how young people across the North East are using their National Citizen Service experience to make a real difference.”

The 13 young people hit social media and the streets of Durham to raise awareness of deafness, after learning one of the group had a younger brother with profound hearing loss. The Hands on Ears project extended a campaign which attracted the support of a host of celebrities including Zoe Ball, Fatboy Slim and the Red Arrows.

Richard Shaw, Head of NCS for UFA, which delivers the National Citizen Service programme in Durham, said:

“The UFA team are absolutely delighted at the fantastic achievement of the young people involved in the Hands On Ears project, for their work in raising awareness of such a worthwhile campaign and in being shortlisted for the Children and Young People Now Award".

“It’s a credit to them but also underlines what NCS stands for and the impact it has on the community as well as the young people who take part.”

After the award ceremony, the young people will join local MP Roberta Blackman for a tour of the Houses of Parliament.

The team of teenagers devised the campaign as part of the National Citizen Service programme, which enables 16-17 year olds to fast track their futures whilst having fun and helping their community. Families can learn more about the upcoming Spring and Summer programmes online at

Newcastle charity shop gets a makeover from youths with the National Citizens Service

20 August 2015, ChronicleLive

Youngsters painting The Under the Bridge Shop on Heaton Park Road as part of their National Citizenship Service

They're a bunch of youngsters determined to give back to the community and have pulled out their paintbrushes to make their mark.

The teenagers have been on a three week course with the National Citizenship Service and have been helping a Newcastle-based charity by giving their shop a makeover.

The youths chose Under the Bridge charity - which gives troubled people the chance to turn their lives around.

Once homeless, drug users or alcoholics the charity crew have cleaned up their lives and are now cleaning up furniture.

Amy Dixon painting The Under the Bridge Shop on Heaton Park Road

The once plagued individuals have gone from living on the streets to becoming respected members of society as they hone their skills to up-cycle furniture.

The charity has two shops where the public can buy the furniture on Heaton Park Road, Heaton, and Heaton Terrace, Byker.

Now the charity has been given a helping hand by the NCS youths after they painted the shop on Heaton Park Road.

Retail assistant for Under the Bridge Jessica Penrose, 36, of Newcastle, said: “I got a phone call out of the blue from the youths from NCS saying they were working on a project to help the community.

"I snatched their hand off when they asked to come along and help us. We are a small charity which needs every bit of help we can get."

Youngsters painting The Under the Bridge Shop on Heaton Park Road as part of their National Citizenship Service

"They came and scrubbed the kitchen and the bathroom until they shined, they painted the shop and painted the back room which had been plastered about two years ago but remained unpainted."

*"There were 16 of them and they were enthusiastic, polite and kind. We are so grateful."

Jessica added: “On Friday they are holding a cake stall outside the shop on Heaton Park Road to raise money for us too. They are a lovely bunch.”

Under the Bridge saves old furniture from going into landfill by fixing it to give it a new lease of life.

It is then sold on at affordable prices and the cash goes back into the charity to help fund the furniture restoration programme.

Amy Dixon, 16, of Gosforth, Newcastle, took part in the NCS programme which teaches youths to give something back to the community. The course encourages team building, friendships and helping others.

Zoe McStea helps paint The Under the Bridge Shop

Amy, a pupil at Sacred Heart Catholic High School in Newcastle, said: “We wanted to help the charity because it is small and local and it needs as much help as it can get.

*"I rang Jessica and she was delighted with our offer. We really enjoyed painting and beautifying the shop. The NCS project is good for confidence, team-building and friendships."

Under the Bridge, which also runs a 31-bed hostel at Byker Bridge House, and the Joseph Cowen drop in healthcare centre, in Wilfred Street, in the city, is now looking for volunteers to help in the workshop, shop or driving vans to promoting the charity. They are also looking for supplies such as paint brushes to paint trays and varnish to wax.

Anyone who can help can call Jessica on 0191 2284928.

North Tyneside youngsters learn life-long lessons as part of National Citizen Service

13 August 2015, ChronicleLive

Youngsters carrying out activities in Allendale, Northumberland, as part of the National Citizen Service scheme

Dozens of teenagers have been learning new skills as well as helping the community as part of the National Citizen Service. SONIA SHARMA discovered how the scheme is benefiting youngsters in the North East.

For Millie Young, it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - a chance to make new friends, learn skills you are not taught in school and create unforgettable memories.

The 16-year-old, from Whitley Bay, signed up to a the National Citizen Service summer programme run by North Tyneside VODA, the voluntary organisations development agency - and achieved everything it promised.

The Government-backed scheme, available across the country, is open to 16 and 17-year-olds and includes a string of activities over a four-week period.

Participants spend a week at an outdoor centre, carrying out physical challenges like climbing, orienteering, ghyll scrambling and archery.

During the second week the youngsters live way from home, in places like community centres, where they are given a shopping budget and learn skills such as cookery.

The final two weeks are spent planning and delivering a project that would benefit the community at large - and this year youngsters on the programme came up with a string of innovative ideas.

The teens were split into groups and organised events such as an Alice in Wonderland tea party at the Tim Lamb Children’s Centre in North Tyneside, a family fun day raising over £500 for the MS Society, and a summer ball for older people in Forest Hall.

One team created a colourful underwater-themed mural on a fence at a children’s respite centre in Annitsford, while another filmed a music video to raise awareness of youth homelessness.

Other youngsters decided to open a pop-up restaurant at the Rising Sun Farm, in Wallsend, and raised more than £500 for North Tyneside Disability Forum.

Millie says the programme gave her invaluable experiences and she came away with skills she will be able to use throughout her life.

“I joined NCS as it was something different from a very busy two years studying for GCSE exams,” she said. “It was more of a stress-free cool down adventure."

“During my four weeks, we were tasked with three main challenges."

“For the adventure phase, we went to the Kingswood centre in Yorkshire and we had a fully-packed 12-hour schedule of activities including aeroball, archery, bouldering, bush craft, campfire making, climbing, raft building, and a lot more."

“Then we had a home residential week in our teams of 13 to 16 people. We went to the Blue Flames Sports Facility, in Benton, where we set up our camp beds."

“There we were challenged to budget our weekly food shop. A sum of £250 had to last us from Monday to Friday between 15 people."

“I thought this would be easy. However the problems were that some people had food preferences such as being a vegetarian or couldn’t eat certain types of food."

“After one or two hours of compromising, we eventually came up with themed nights such as American and Mexican, where everyone was happy. We also set up groups so one team was looking after a breakfast of bread, eggs and cereals and one had lunch, serving sandwiches, salads and crisps.'

“We also got a wide variety of drinks such as fresh orange and apple, cordial and Coca-Cola.'

“After we went shopping, we went back and did a rota of who was setting the table, cooking, cleaning, washing and drying.”

The youngsters also learnt first aid and took part in workshops and talks. Millie’s team then decided to take on a project to help older people suffering from dementia.

Michael O'day (16) prepares food at the 'Pop Up' restaurant at Rising Sun Farm in Wallsend.

They went on a dementia awareness course before staging an event at a care home. It involved playing music on a record player, dressing up in vintage clothing, bracelet making and serving refreshments for the elderly residents.

They also held a cake sale and raised money for a vintage jazz band, the Darlin Dollies, to play at the home.

Millie said: “We made friendship bracelets and brought in cakes and beverages for the older citizens. It was slightly overwhelming at first but once the Darlin Dollies came and played their vintage movies it reconnected with the residents.

“Some of them even got up to sing and dance, which was a terrific achievement as we were all smiling and having a great time."

“Some people just sat down and listened to the older citizens. They had very interesting stories of the past, from when they were younger. Overall, the day was a massive success."

“The thing that I enjoyed the most about NCS was meeting so many different people with so many different but interesting backgrounds and personalities."

“The scheme has benefited me as I have broadened my perceptions of society, and gained knowledge of university life - such as budgeting and communication."

“I really enjoyed this once-in-a-life-time experience. It was a real eye-opener to society.”

Youngsters carrying out activities in Allendale, Northumberland, as part of the National Citizen Service scheme

The NCS programme takes place three times a year. Around 165 people take part in the summer, 60 during the October half-term break, and 45 during the spring school break.

Across the country, there are 80,000 places up for grabs.

Robin Fry, of North Tyneside VODA, said: “When the youngsters start the scheme, many of them have never been away from home.

“You see that many don’t make eye contact with anyone and they are worried about whether they will get on with other people."

“But once they go through this scheme, they get such a confidence boost - their transformation is incredible. They learn to work as a team, make new friends, learn things like budgeting, and they end up supporting each other."

“They learn good lessons in life and appreciate other people’s lives as well. Some have been working with older people and others with those who have been homeless."

“It is incredible what young people can achieve in such a short space of time.”

  • The next NCS will run during the October half-term break and is open to Year 12 and 13 students. To find out more or to register an interest, call 0191 259 4796 or visit

HRH The Prince of Wales meets Inspiring North-East teenagers making their mark with National Citizen Service (NCS)

26 January 2015.

Last Tuesday, the Prince of Wales visited a National Citizen Service project at Bethany City Church in Sunderland where NCS Graduates showcased activities typical of the NCS programme. His Royal Highness also met boxing champion and NCS supporter, Amir Khan who stepped out of the ring and behind a desk to become a Dragon for the day, to show support for the inspirational NCS graduates taking part.

HRH firstly met two groups of Autumn and Summer 2014 Graduates from Sunderland supported by a number of NCS Leaders from across the country. The Graduates were planning and pitching their social action projects ahead of Social Action Day on Saturday 7th March 2015. The pitching was done to a Dragons’ Den panel made up of Amir Khan, Chair of NCS Trust Stephen Greene, CEO of Step Up to Serve Charlotte Hill and NCS Graduate and 2013 Leader, Becky Brunskill.

The Prince chatted with the teenagers who confidently pitched why the social action projects they developed on NCS were worthy of the funding on offer. Amir then accompanied His Royal Highness to see a technology lesson for the elderly where NCS Graduates demonstrated how to get online and send a tweet, as part of a youth-led initiative to help tackle loneliness among the elderly.

All the activities on the day were fantastically coordinated by the team at Catch22 who run the NCS Programme in Sunderland as part of The NCS Network.

The Prince’s visit recognises the significant commitment of NCS graduates, who have collectively given over three million hours to their communities. Despite false stereotypes, they are part of the most socially minded generation – earning the title Generation Citizen – with 40% of 10-20 year olds currently engaged in meaningful social action. For the second year running, young people are more generous with their time than any other group – including the recently retired – and volunteering is growing fastest among young people. The Prince of Wales founded the cross-party and cross-sector ‘Step Up To Serve’ campaign in 2013 to champion and support this growth, and NCS plays a central role in its mission to double the number of young people involved in social action by 2020.

John Cooper, a 16 year old NCS graduate from Sunderland, said: “Meeting Prince Charles and knowing that he and Amir Khan support NCS makes me feel so proud of the work the other graduates and I did. NCS changed my life forever and continues to change the lives of not just the teenagers on the programme, but the lives of the people in the areas in which they live.”

Michael Lynas, CEO of NCS, said: “We are delighted that the Prince of Wales has had the chance to meet NCS graduates and see the difference that they are making in their communities. At NCS, we believe that this generation of teenagers are among the most committed, connected and caring citizens our country has ever seen, but their achievements are all too often overlooked by society. It is vital that we celebrate the great things that young people are doing, and NCS graduates across the country will be thrilled to see that the Prince of Wales recognises their achievements.”

Amir Khan added: “I am proud to show my support for National Citizen Service and see the brilliant work from the region’s talented youngsters. I know that programmes like NCS can change lives and create amazing opportunities for young people to do things they never thought they would have the chance do. Following the event today, I hope that more young people are inspired to take part in NCS and showcase the fantastic potential of the nation’s teenagers.”