Six hundred sign up to National Citizen Service scheme

Almost 600 young people on Teesside have signed up to a government pilot scheme aimed at getting them more involved in the community.

The National Citizen Service involves two weeks away from home, team building exercises and individual challenges.

The voluntary summer scheme was open to teenagers in Redcar, Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees and Middlesbrough.

Teesside is one of 12 UK-wide areas to pilot the scheme, which is open to 16-year-olds and Year 11 school leavers.

'It's a good laugh'

The Teesside pilot, which is open to 1,000 teenagers, will last for three weeks, including a two-week residential, during the six-week summer holidays.

It aims to focus on building teamwork, leadership skills and assisting community projects, to help the young people give something back to their community.

It is being led by Safe in Tees Valley, an independent community safety partnership.

Liam, 16, from Southbank in Middlesbrough has been involved with Safe in Tees Valley for four years and has now signed up to the NCS project.

He said: "I got involved four years ago because I had behavioural difficulties at school. I had a mentor and she introduced me to the Safe in Tees Valley people.

"They've helped me a lot and now they've started this new scheme, the NCS, I'm taking part in that too.

"I've met lots of new people, I love the residentials where we go away for a week and learn new things like we go bike riding and do group activities, it's a good laugh.

"I didn't think so many people would join up, I thought it would just be me and the mates I've met here already, but there's loads of people, which is a good thing."

Youth manager Christine Davidson from Cleveland Police said: "We have had an absolutely fantastic response to the pilot, with over half of places filled in only just over a month of launching the programme."

Three recruitment events are taking place this week across the area to fill the remaining 400 spaces on the scheme, and teenagers can also sign up online.

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