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MP meets community-minded NCS group at Newcastle foodbank

Chi Onwurah, Member of Parliament for Newcastle Central constituency, has met a group of community-minded teenagers on a National Citizen Service (NCS) programme delivered by the Newcastle United Foundation.

During her visit, Chi met NCS participants in their finalweek of the programme during a phase where they give back to their community through a youth-led social action project.

The team of Newcastle teenagers, from schools across the area, have raised more than £600 for Newcastle West End Foodbank and plan to spend this on donations and gardening equipment as they support the charity this week.

The team are just 15 of the almost 4,000 North East teenagers taking part this summer – and are completing the programme with delivery partner Newcastle United Foundation. The two charities offer the open-to-all unifying experience shared by teens from different backgrounds which helps them become better individuals and in turn, well-rounded citizens.

Chi said: “It was really great to talk to the young people on the NCS programme in Newcastle, and hear how they’ve grown in confidence, learned important life skills and are giving back to the West End Foodbank – the busiest foodbank in the country.

“Food poverty is often raised by my constituents and something I see often in my surgeries so I particularly appreciated seeing teenagers doing their bit to help. Newcastle’s future is bright with young people of this calibre.”

Participants have been assisted along the way by Newcastle United Foundation’s NCS Team Leaders Tal Campbell and Grace Robb.

Grace said: “I loved giving back to the community when I myself completed NCS in 2017, so much so that I jumped at the opportunity to work on the programme. There are so many opportunities to stay involved with NCS and the Foundation have been able to help me pursue a career in what I love – and it’s all thanks to my NCS experience two years ago.”

NCS provides young people aged 15 to 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.

Lucia Bowers, 16, said: “I enjoyed meeting my local MP. It shows how we’ve made an impact with our project and brought the importance of Foodbank donations and the service they provide to the local community to light.”

Peter Coyle, also 16, added “Some people are less fortunate than us and we are inspired to help the local community. Our shared NCS experience has enabled us to come together for the greater good. We can all go a lot further when we stick together.”

More than 500,000 young people have completed the NCS programme to date, giving over 12 and half million hours to social action projects since NCS started.

Callum Lumsden, 16, added: “NCS has been really fun and I’d recommend it to anyone. I’ve built skills and met new people from across the area.”

Newcastle United Foundation is part of the National Citizen Service network and offers once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to young people in the area. Find out more on our website.

For more details on how you can get involved
Email jack.lennie@nufc.co.uk

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