Red carpet evening for county’s latest NCS stars

Around 120 young people who completed Oxfordshire’s National Citizen Service scheme over the autumn celebrated with family and friends at a graduation ceremony on Friday (25 November).

The council's scheme is the fastest growing in the country and the largest of any local authority provider – which means students can now take part all-year-round.

The ‘autumn’ graduates gave up their evenings and weekends to complete social action projects, charity ventures and learn a raft of new life skills. They showcased some of their work with presentations and videos as part of Friday’s ceremony at The King's Centre in Oxford.

Making a difference

The council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services Melinda Tilley said: “Congratulations to all the young people on their achievements over the last few weeks. They have all made a difference in their communities and I’ve no doubt that their experiences will leave a lasting impression and become an important reference point in the coming years as they become young adults.”

Although the Oxfordshire NCS is open to all children aged 15-17, the involvement of a wide range of council services such as the young carers team, youth offending and disability support teams enables many disadvantaged and vulnerable young people to benefit from the NCS experience.

Cllr Tilley added: “We’re very proud of the fact that our Oxfordshire NCS programme brings together young people from all backgrounds, achieving a real social mix in which stereotypes are challenged and lifelong friendships are made. I’d like to wish all the young people the very best of luck in whatever they go on to do next.”

Praise from former PM

The council's programme was recently praised by former Prime Minister David Cameron who made NCS a flagship national policy after entering office in 2010. In a letter congratulating the young people taking part, he said they “embodied the NCS ethos of social action, increased responsibility, independence and inspiration”.

The recent summer NCS course was the biggest the county council has ever organised, with 614 young people graduating and more than £30,000 raised for charity. More than 40 charities supported through campaigning, fundraising and volunteering.