Amber Rudd MP recently invited a group of local young people to her Westminster office to discuss their inspirational social action work in the Hastings community as part of CXK’s National Citizen Service (NCS) programme.
NCS is an open-to-all unifying experience shared by teens from different backgrounds which helps them become better individuals, and in turn better citizens.
The young people visited Amber at the Houses of Parliament, where she heard first-hand how NCS – the fastest growing youth movement in our country for a century – is helping to develop participants’ life skills, resilience and wellbeing while boosting community engagement.
As part of the programme, the group of 13 spent a collective 780 hours designing and delivering a social action project to help their peers after learning that a third of children in Hastings are classed as underprivileged. Calling their venture ‘The Breadcrumbs Project’, they worked together to create and distributed care packages to disadvantaged local young people. The packages were designed to contain items often missed out by food banks, such as hair gel, sanitary towels, and hygiene items to help the recipient feel more confident and empowered.
They raised the money to fund the care packages through the organisation of a sponsored walk, and the creation of their own website and crowdfunding page, which were promoted through a range of social media channels as well as through interviews with local newspapers and radio stations. The young people reached out to local community figures such as the mayor and deputy mayor of Hastings, who showed their support on social media and by visiting the project in action.
Team member Benjamin, 16, says: “We are hoping to expand our project to include school supplies, first aid and practical household item packages.
“As teenagers ourselves, we want to give a small, sensible and realistic helping hand by including items we feel we can’t live without, but for others are items that perhaps have to be sacrificed.”
Amber said: “It was fantastic to meet with ‘The Breadcrumbs Project’ team and to hear about the work they are doing in our community. The work they are doing to support our young people will have a huge impact on our towns.
“National Citizen Service do a great deal of work to support young people and promote positive citizenship and foster a sense of community. I am pleased that our local teens are taking the time to create and help our other residents and look forward to hearing from about their projects in the future.”
NCS is a flagship government initiative that provides young people aged 15-17 the chance to take on new challenges, experience exciting activities, make long-lasting friendships and develop vital skills that will support them later in life. It was launched to tackle three core issues of importance to society: social cohesion, social mobility and social engagement.
Gillian Flegg, Delivery Partner Manager at CXK, the charity which delivers NCS in Hastings, said: “The young people were thrilled to meet Amber. We’re delighted that she made the time to meet with our young people and hear first-hand the impact NCS is having by building bridges across social divides and encouraging young people to really give back to their local communities.”
Over 400,000 young people have completed the NCS programme to date, giving up an incredible 11.7 million hours to social action projects since NCS started.