YOUNGSTERS were cheered on to the Fratton Park pitch in recognition of the good work they have done for their community.
The 13 graduates of the National Citizen Service Partnership – run by the Respect Programme, at Pompey Sports and Education Foundation – were welcomed onto the turf by Linvoy Primus as players warmed up for their match against Cardiff City on Saturday.
During the six-week course, they took part in three weeks of residential activities – including a week at HMS Sultan, Gosport, living as if in the Royal Navy – and visited many organisations which benefit the local community.
They organised two fundraisers for the Friends of Stamshaw Adventure Playground, raising £500.
For the final three weeks the youths were handed the reins to create their own community project.
The group set up its own website – an event guide for those living in the area packed with reviews and stories.
Andrew Robertson 16, of Henderson Road, Eastney, said: ‘It was an awesome way to spend the summer because I got to try out so many different things that I never would’ve got to do otherwise, things like speed boating and canoeing.
Having completed the programme the youngsters also received a certificate from prime minister David Cameron and gained a nationally-recognised qualification in volunteering.
Danni Silk, 16, of Haslemere Road, Southsea, said: ‘It’s really helped my confidence doing something like this and I’ve made a lot of new friends that I know I’ll keep in touch with.
‘Now I know how easy it is to volunteer and how fun it can be, it’s definitely something I want to keep doing in the future.’
Those taking part came from a variety of backgrounds.
Harrison Long, 16, of Lone Valley, Waterlooville, said: ‘It was really great fun trying out all the different activities but one of the best things about the project was that I got to meet so many different types of people and find out a bit more about their lives.’
Richard Davis, NCS leader at the Respect Programme, said: ‘Young people often be stigmatised but this gives them a chance to show off the good they can do and prove that they have a big voice, big ideas, and that they know their communities well.
‘This was all about handing power over to them and showing that they can make a difference if they are given the opportunity to do so.
‘It is a relatively short time scale to do something like this but they have left behind a real legacy which has had a great impact on the community.
‘Hopefully they will keep updating the website and it will continue to grow.’
To visit the youngsters’ website go to activiteens.webs.com.
The 13 who took part were; Saad Vaid, Ben Udy, Tom Walker, Elizabeth Gorman, Polly Bampton, Harry Byrne, Harrison Long, Danni Silk, Andrew Robertson, Bradley Ryder, Adam Westbrook and Mathew James, all aged 16, and 15-year-old Troy Hood.