NCS stars graduate with flying colours

Hundreds of teenagers from across Oxfordshire joined family and friends at a special graduation ceremony to celebrate completing their National Citizen Service.

The Oxfordshire County Council-run programme is the largest it has delivered since NCS was launched in 2012, with 830 young people aged 15-17 graduating over seven separate courses this summer.

The event at Oxford’s Kings Centre featured an interactive exhibition and presentations showcasing the many social action projects completed by the students – who between them raised a total of £50,000 for local charities and notched up 49,800 hours of voluntary work. There was also plenty of fun to be had, with 'human' table-football, bungee running and a rodeo ride.

It follows national recognition for the Oxfordshire scheme, which is the largest of any delivered by a local authority across the country. Prime Minister Teresa May recently chose the council’s Woodlands Centre in South Wales as the location to unveil new plans to put NCS at the centre of efforts to boost mental health awareness among young people.

National recognition

Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Education, Hilary Hibbert-Biles attended the ceremony on Saturday (2 September) to congratulate the graduates and wish them well for the future.

She said: “It was a real privilege to listen to the truly inspirational testimonials from some of the young people who volunteered their summers to better themselves and Oxfordshire communities. I’d like to congratulate them all on their achievements and thank everyone involved who made the courses a huge success this summer.”

She added: “The NCS in Oxfordshire has grown each year and has rightly earned a reputation as one of the country’s leading schemes. The course provides a unique blend of outdoor education, social action projects and workshops which has boosted the confidence and personal development of thousands of young people in Oxfordshire, providing valuable skills for work and life. Long may it continue.”