National Citizen Service “local heroes” project to help community

College of West Anglia principal David Pomfret with a few of the students who took part in the new 'local heroes' programme which will beneft the whole community.
College of West Anglia principal David Pomfret with a few of the students who took part in the new 'local heroes' programme which will beneft the whole community.
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Some 120 teenagers embarked on a new challenge this summer with the National Citizen Service course (NCS) a special project run for the first time by the College of West Anglia (CWA).

NCS is a programme which brings together Year 11 and 12 students from different backgrounds to learn new skills and to make a difference within their local communities during the summer holidays.

Organisers, team leaders and students worked together to create a united effort to benefit and promote local causes.

Organisers, team leaders and students worked together to create a united effort to benefit and promote local causes.

On Friday different groups of students made presentations to tell how they would produce social action plans to help deserving causes, having been inspired by speakers from some 11 groups seeking to raise their profiles within the community or in need of fundraising.

They included Guide Dogs for the Blind, Macmillan Cancer Support, Break, Nelson’s Smiles, a group aiming to bring back smiles for bereaved children, support for young carers, the Police, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, King’s Lynn, and others.

Students outlined how they planned to help groups in need over the coming weeks.

College principal David Pomfret praised the work the teams of students had put in, describing it as a fantastic job, creating some “really worthwhile initiatives.”

They will get the chance to learn more about the roles of people in public life and doing charity and community work as part of the Government-inspired National Citizen Service.

It presents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for teenagers to help build their skills for life and work, taking on new challenges and making new friends.

The three-week project – given the “local heroes” title by the college - is being masterminded by the college’s Uniformed Services department, which involves students staying at residential centres at Mepal outdoor centre and the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) centre at Bircham Newton.

Stuart Harrowing, project co-ordinator said: “Students were split into different groups to carry out their community projects. The teenagers will learn leadership and other skills, decide upon a community action group to benefit others and then carry this out.”

This is the first year the college has managed the project, which was introduced by the Prime Minister in 2011. Some 30 schools are taking part from all over Norfolk and including the College of West Anglia, Terrington St Clement, Downham Market, KES, Swaffham, Smithdon, Hunstanton, and Springwood.

If successful, it is hoped that the number of young people taking part in 2014 could double to 240.

Students who graduate locally will be invited to a huge ceremony to be staged in Norwich in October.