Thousands of teenagers are putting their summer break to good use and devising social action projects while learning life skills.
The National Citizen Service scheme is taking place at hundreds of places across the UK, including in Portsmouth.
About 300 15 to 17-year-olds are due to complete the programme in Portsmouth this summer, organised by Pompey in the Community.
The teenagers spend two weeks on residential courses, before spending two weeks devising and completing a project to help a community project.
Yesterday, about 60 young people pitched their ideas in a Dragons’ Den-style event held at Fratton Park’s Victory Lounge. They were bidding for a share of £400.
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond was one of the ‘dragons’.
She said: ‘NCS is a fantastic project. I’d encourage any young person to take part. They do residential trips, skills workshops and then the social action programme, which helps them for the future and with any job applications.’
Cosham councillor and cabinet member for resources at Portsmouth City Council Lee Mason was also a dragon.
He said: ‘It’s inspirational to see young people so committed and engaged. Sometimes young people can get a bad press but those here really shone.’
Gemma Morrison, community champion at Tesco Fratton, was also in the den.
She said: ‘I really enjoyed seeing teenagers actually want to help. The programme makes them think; think about their project, think about who they want to fundraise for and think about what they can do. It’s a great responsibilty that sets them up for life.’
Clare Darlow, NCS social action officer at Pompey in the Community, said: ‘They are learning skills they can’t learn at school or in the classroom and putting them into practice.’
The participants are split into teams to create a social action project, using their initiatives to raise the cash needed.
‘It is such as fantastic opportunity for young people,’ said Clare.
‘It gives them a massive tick in the box for their CV. When they apply for university or a job they can show that they have got up and done something with their summer holidays. They have not just sat at home on the Xbox, they have new skills, and new experiences.’
A graduation will be held at the Kings Theatre, Southsea in September.
The scheme costs no more than £50 to take part in. For more go to ncsyes.co.uk/
CAUSE: Help 4 Special Children, a charity in Cosham that helps terminally-ill and disabled children and their families.
WHAT: The team is raising cash to buy toys for the charity’s its holiday home, where families go on respite breaks.
HOW: The group of youngsters have worked with the charity to organise a summer fete at Cosham Community Centre, in Wootton Street.
The event takes place on Thursday, August 4, from 10am until 4pm and will see cake sales, face painting, games, plus much more.
They will also be holding an eight-hour row-athon at Tesco in Fratton on Monday, from 9am until 5pm.
The team is also looking for donations for prizes.
Search ‘NCS Group 9’ on Facebook for more.
TEAM MEMBER: Megan Ashby, 16, from Bedhampton, said: ‘I have learnt a lot and I have really enjoyed it. I’ve made a load of new friends as well. We are going to meet the kids, I’m really excited. I hope people come to the fete.’
MONEY FROM DRAGONS: £110
CAUSE: Oakland Grange, a residential care home, in Merton Road, Southsea.
WHAT: Inspired by one of the team’s great-grandmothers, the group is hoping to raise enough cash to transform the care home’s garden and to paint a room.
HOW: The team are holding two days of bag packing at Tesco Fratton on Thursday and Friday.
They have also been selling cakes at Fort Purbrook. They will then spend a week working in the garden. They also plan to hold events with residents at the care home.
They will also be pitching in with a fete being held at the care home on Saturday, August 6.
Search ‘NCSTeam10Ports’ on Facebook for more.
TEAM MEMBER: Maya Rook, 16, from Fratton, said: ‘It has been really good fun, I have enjoyed it. I have gone out a lot more, and become more active.
‘The people at the home need a lot of care, so there’s not really any time for the staff to do up the garden, so it is nice to be able to help and give something to them.’
MONEY FROM DRAGONS: £55
CAUSE: Buckland Community Centre, in Malins Road.
WHAT: The team is raising cash to renovate the centre and paint some rooms. Any leftover money will go towards buying a defibrillator for the centre.
HOW: Branded as New Generation, the teenagers have been holding a variety of fundraisers in order to buy the equipment they need.
They are holding a bingo event at the community centre today, as well as spending the day washing cars in exchange for donations at The Gym, in Rodney Road, Fratton, from 10am until 3.30pm.
They will be doing face painting on Friday, as well as bag packing at Tesco in Fratton.
Some brave members of the team will also be undertaking sponsored leg waxing.
They are also holding a tombola, and are looking for prizes. Search ‘New Generation’ on Facebook for more.
TEAM MEMBER: Emily Bone, 17, from Anchorage Park, said: ‘I’ve made so many new friends. I’d highly recommend it.
‘The residential weeks were such a great opportunity. I’m really excited about the work at Buckland Community Centre.
‘A good community centre can help so many different people of all ages.
‘If you have a nice community centre, it can bring the whole community together.’
MONEY FROM DRAGONS: £120
CAUSE: The Madani Academy Primary School, in Fratton.
WHAT: The team is raising cash to do up the school’s garden, as well as painting a mural in the library.
HOW: Inspired by seeing the news surrounding hate attacks targeted at the independent Islamic academy over the past year, the teenagers wanted to help the school break down barriers with the community.
They have been washing cars in their area to raise the money they need for plants and paint. They will also be holding a movie night, plus offering henna tattoos, to other young people completing the scheme at Fort Purbrook. The team of 14 will also complete a sponsored bike ride, from Gunwharf Quays to Hayling Island, today. Search ‘NCS Team 12 Social Action Project’ on Facebook for more.
TEAM MEMBER: Francesca Glass, 16, from Southsea, said: ‘I was a bit worried at first as I’m quite shy when I meet new people but the course was great. Everyone is really friendly and the leaders are really helpful. It definitely was not worth the worry.
‘I’m really excited about helping the school. I didn’t even realise it was a school there. I hope we can make it nicer and I hope we can go back when the children return in September to see their reactions.’
MONEY FROM DRAGONS: £60 – however a further £55 was awarded by the rest of the teenagers, who voted the project as the most worthy. Total £115.