Youngsters make their mark in commmunity

Dozens of youngsters from Hastings and Wealden celebrated their graduation from the National Citizen Service at a glamorous ceremony held at The Hastings Centre on September 24.

The event saw the successful graduation of 163 young people who had taken part in this year’s National Citizen Service programme (NCS).

The programme is provided by charitable organisation CXK which supports children, young people, adults and families. Lindsay Williams, NCS Contract Manager says it 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. “The programme took place over four weeks this summer, and offered young people the opportunity to try their hand at a range of activities, from rock climbing to raft building,” she said.

“With the support of CXK’s friendly, professional 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.”

Lindsey says that whilst having fun is a huge element of the programme, the youngsters also made an enormous contribution to local charities across the area. “As part of their community project, teams were required to create, present, and carry out a business plan outlining how they intended to raise money and awareness for a range of charities including Guide Dogs for the Blind, Education Future Trust, Young Healthy Minds, The Royal British Legion and East Sussex Young Carers.”

The teams organised an array of fundraising activities including sponsored walks, fetes, supermarket bag-packing, a sponsored head shave and leg wax, collectively raising over £6,500 for their charities. They also gave their time to generate awareness for their charities, with 4,890 hours volunteered.

At the ceremony, graduates were presented with a certificate signed by the Prime Minister, Theresa May and were addressed by Sarah Norris, Fundraising Manager at Refuge South East.

Lindsay says CXK has been inspired by the hard work and dedication of this summer’s graduates, adding: “The NCS is designed to bring young people together from a range of backgrounds, to facilitate the opportunity for them to face challenges, to learn skills for work and life, and to make their mark on their community.”