Amber Rudd MP Visits Hastings Teens on NCS Youth Empowerment Programme Posted 6th September 2017

On Friday 1st September 2017, 15 Hastings teens taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) youth empowerment programme were visited by Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye.

NCS is a unique opportunity for 15-17 year olds to develop life and employability skills, make new friends, and create and deliver a community project of their choice, addressing a local issue for the benefit of others. The NCS programme is delivered across Kent and East Sussex by charity, CXK.

Visiting the team’s base at Bexhill Hive; Amber was greeted by the participating young people and their team leaders, who presented to her the details of the social action project they had designed, developed and were in the process of delivering within the Hastings community.

The team discussed their activity in support of Elver Court care home, a premises of Together Hastings, a mental health charity which supports people with mental health issues to lead independent and fulfilling lives as part of their communities.  The teens dedicated a collective 450 hours to fundraising and awareness raising activity, including the organisation of a charity march which saw the team patrol the streets of Hastings handing out leaflets, displaying banners, collecting donations, and encouraging local people to “ask about my mental health” while promoting their hashtag ‘#don’tbeblindtothemind. 

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The team went on to perform an original song on the subject of mental health awareness, and set up a tie-dying stall on Hastings seafront, distributing tie-dyed bandanas in exchange for donations, and raising over £200 in total. The team completed their journey with a visit to Elver Court itself, where they were welcomed by the residents.

The team members also shared their personal journeys with Amber. Charlie Wilson, 17, shared that he had moved to Eastbourne from Watford this summer, and embarked upon the programme to make new friends. Charlie said, “I was signed up for NCS by my aunt against my will! It turns out that I made friendships for life, and we have had the most amazing experience. We call ourselves a “family”.”

Amber Rudd commented: “Each time I visit the NCS programme over the summer holidays, I am astounded by the level of enthusiasm, determination and engagement these young adults put into the four-week programme. This time was no exception.

“Thank you to the students for my tie-dye present, and well done on your fundraising efforts. I am positive that the residents of Elver Court will be eternally grateful for your support. Good luck for the future in whatever you choose to do.”

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