Over 700 people celebrate at the National Citizen Service Graduation

NCS Inspira Graduation Ceremony at Rheged Centre.

More than 700 people from Cumbria attended the National Citizen Service (NCS) Graduation ceremony at Rheged, Penrith on Saturday to celebrate the achievements of 473 young people from Cumbria and award four young Cumbrians with an Outstanding Achievement Award.

Over the Summer, the young people said YES to the three week + 30hr volunteer time NCS programme, which is managed by Inspira, the leading personal development and career guidance organisation in Cumbria.

Organised in to 48 teams, with start dates staggered across the six weeks summer holiday, the intrepid 16 and 17 year olds spent time scaling peaks, learning life-saving skills, making new friends, experiencing independent living, learning about their local communities, jumping into lakes and into community projects.

A number of local dignitaries attended the Graduation ceremony including Cllr Colin Glover Leader of Carlisle City Council, Cllr Gordon Nicolson, Eden District Council and Mick Farley, Chair of Inspria and recent Golden Apples Award winner for the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Cllr Colin Glover said, “This graduation event has been a fantastic opportunity to share the National Citizen Service experience with young people, their parents, the team from Inspira and everyone else who has been part of this programme. Seeing Cumbrian young people gaining in confidence and doing amazing things has been uplifting . National Citizen Service is also a real benefit to the local community and helps young people as they move forward in to their future. One of things employers tell us all the time is that they want young people to be work ready and to be part of the success for their business. This programme does so much to help that need.”

Kim Inglis the Cumbrian based television reporter and journalist was MC for the three ceremonies, while Paul Oginsky, Youth Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister and co-founder, with Simon Weston – Falklands War veteran, of youth charity Weston Spirit, was on hand to award the four Outstanding Achievement Awards to Amelia Moore from Whitehaven, David Frame from Carlisle, Lara Sumner from Carnforth and Luke Smithurst from Barrow in Furness.

“All of our NCS graduates have had some wonderful experiences,” says Mark Bowman. “One’s that they will keep with them for the rest of their lives. I’m delighted so many have attended their graduation event, it’s a real chance for them to all celebrate their fantastic achievements from the summer.”

Inspira delivers NCS throughout all of Lancashire, Blackburn, Blackpool Fylde and Wyre as well as Cumbria. In 2013 Inspira and its partners delivered 1600 places.

“Every year, the National Citizen Service provides 100s of young people from all over Cumbria with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that helps them build skills for work and life while taking on new challenges and meeting new friends. It is fun but also tough.” Said Mick Farley. “Today’s graduates of this summer’s NCS can be proud of their achievements. Today has recognised and celebrated their success. When so much in the media seems negative about young people, today’s NCS graduates have all shown just how fantastic young people are in Cumbria: so congratulations to them all. And I’d also like to thank Cumbria’s businesses, public services, voluntary groups, community organisations and individuals for their on-going support. Without it NCS would not be possible.”

Inspira runs a shortened version of NCS during the Autumn half term – there are still a few places available for the 2013 intake. For more information visit the NCS Inspira Facebook page.

About National Citizen Service

• Across England over 40,000 young people completed the programme in 2013.

• NCS is designed to be a journey: a journey of personal and social development

• In three years 70,000 young people have taken part in National Citizen Service

• By 2016 the number of young people is set to grow to 150,000 young people per year taking part in NCS.

• The NCS programme has cross political party support with the politicians working hard to establish the programme as a rite of passage to help young people make a positive transition toward adult life.

• NCS involves becoming part of a small, mixed team. For most people who take part, that means meeting new people – perhaps from a different school or area, and very quickly getting to really know them well because…

o First of all, they go on a week-long adventure residential with the Outward Bound Trust. They take part in all kinds of outdoor challenges and activities, including an expedition into the wilderness, all the time pushing personal boundaries and testing teamwork skills, perhaps surprising themselves about what they can achieve;

o A week is then spent living with team-mates closer to home, looking after each other, meeting a real variety of people in their local area, looking behind the scenes of local businesses, charities and services, trying out new skills, socialising, seeing a bit of independent adult life;

o And then a week planning some kind of some sort of community-based work that benefits local life which is undertaken during 30hours of voluntary time.