Damian Green MP Visits Ashford Teens on NCS Youth Enpowerment Programme Posted 10th August 2017

On Wednesday 9th  August 2017, 30 Ashford teens taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) youth empowerment programme were visited by Damian Green; MP for Ashford and the First Secretary of State and Minister for the Cabinet Office.

Visiting CXK’s headquarters in Tufton Street, Ashford; Mr Green was greeted by the teams of participating young people and their team leaders, who presented to Mr Green the details of the social action projects they had designed, developed and were in the process of delivering within the Ashford community as part of the NCS programme. 

One team of young people discussed their activity in support of a local care home. The teens had dedicated 30 hours each to clearing the garden of the care home, spending time with residents, and raising donations through activities such as a karaoke in Ashford town centre, sponsored sit-ups and a sponsored swim.

A second team discussed their ‘Trashford Initiative’ which focused on the issue of littering within the community. Having interviewed members of the public to identify littering as a key concern, the team has endeavoured to “turn Trashford into Ashford” by dedicating their time to litter picking throughout the town centre, Victoria Park and Ashford International station. The team had designed posters and business cards to raise awareness of the initiative, and went on to fundraise for charity Keep Britain Tidy.

Damian Green Pic 1

The participating young people, who had been strangers before meeting on the programme, are all Ashford residents and students at a range of Ashford schools including The North, Norton Knatchbull, Highworth, and Towers.

Mr Green commented: “I am always pleased to see how young people in Ashford take to the National Citizen Service course, both in terms of enjoying it and learning so much from it. I’m really grateful that this year the effect of the voluntary work they do as part of the course will help clean the town up, and provide help to older people in care homes.”

Arina Thapa, 16, one of the programme participants and a student at Highworth Grammar School, said: “We’ve loved NCS – I’ve made so many friends, and we’ve become like a family. It was amazing to meet Mr Green and to present our social action project to him. Hearing his feedback really inspired us. It was a great experience and really helped us to develop our confidence and presenting skills.” 

 Michael Lynas, CEO, National Citizen Service commented: “It was a real pleasure to welcome Damian Green to NCS in Ashford. The teenagers he met were excited to share their experiences of meeting new people, outdoor adventure, living in a university, and supporting care homes in their local community. They are part of a national movement of more than 100,000 NCS participants from all backgrounds who this year will make new friends, learn skills for life and work and build stronger communities. We all want to support the next generation to be their best and we really appreciate Damian's support for NCS both locally and nationally."