Young people given a kick-start in learning new life skills are graduating with nationally recognised volunteering qualifications.
They are the first to successfully complete a summer programme of courses with Cleveland Fire Brigade after the organisation linked-up with the National Citizen Service (NCS).
The 25 young people, aged 16 and 17, from the Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council area, will get their certificates at a special graduation ceremony.
The two courses to date have seen them take part in residential outdoor activities at Ford Castle in Northumberland and a week at Redcar racecourse with presentations from a variety of organisations. These included Cleveland Fire Brigade’s Learn and Live programme, the homelessness charity Centrepoint and the British Red Cross , Mind in Redcar and Cleveland as well as developing team working skills through firefighter training.
Recent participants helped Leonard Cheshire Homes celebrate their 100th birthday by staging a sponsored hose reel run at Marske Hall and raising money to provide residents with an afternoon tea and games.
They also provided afternoon tea at Briarwood Nursing and Residential Home in Eston.
In addition they worked with the MIND mental health charity shop in Redcar to design marketing leaflets, clear-up the flood damaged basement, stock taking and developing resources for parents, toddlers and young children to use.
The programme has been organised by Cleveland Brigade’s Youth Engagement Team and led by Commissioned Services Manager Sue Knott.
They will be awarded nationally recognised volunteering qualifications as well as being presented with a National Citizen Service completion certificate signed by the Prime Minister Theresa May.
Sue Knott said: “It has been hugely rewarding to see these young people tackle a wide variety of issues, grow in confidence and learn new skills which will benefit them in the future. They have really enjoyed working in the community and some have already pledged to continue volunteering in their communities.
“They have all shown tremendous enthusiasm, commitment, dedication and a willingness to learn, which will benefit themselves and the local community. They all richly deserve to graduate and we wish them every success.”
Across the whole of the Tees Valley almost 1,000 teenagers completed NCS this summer, organising around 60 youth-led community projects.
The next NCS programme will be taking place during the autumn half-term and is open to 16 and 17 year olds in year 12, 13 or equivalent provision. Participants will get a chance to experience adventure in the Lake District, meeting new friends and gaining skills, before returning home to deliver a community project that has a lasting impact on the local area. Government backing means the programme never costs more than £50, with bursaries also available.
Cleveland Fire Brigade will be running an NCS programme for local teenagers that departs on Monday October 23. To express an interest call 0191 247 4020 or visit www.NCSYES.co.uk.