This month, over 100 teenagers across Yorkshire and the Humber have been out in force, dedicating their time to help those less fortunate and spread some Christmas cheer.
Having done NCS (National Citizen Service) the teenagers, aged 16 and 17, are all part of local action groups that aim to make positive change and get young people’s voices heard.
Having been inspired by Marcus Rashford, one local action group in Barnsley wanted to help families less fortunate at Christmas by providing them with some care packages. To help fundraise, the group off 11 took on a challenge where they would cover 2,200 miles, the distances between Oakwell Stadium and Lapland by running, walking and cycling. The group are close to achieving their target and are due to do the last mile at Oakwell Stadium. All the money raised will go towards Christmas care packages for families in Barnsley that includes a Christmas card, hot chocolate cones. pine-cone reindeer craft kit and a resource book for parents with activities to do over the Christmas holiday.
Ellie, from Barnsley said;
“This project has been amazing. We all worked together to come up with a project we wanted to do to help the community. We decided to do this project because of the current situation. Many people have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 and unfortunately cannot pay for Christmas presents or even food. Many families are unable to see each other due to the virus therefore we wanted to make this Christmas better than expected for everyone.
This project has had a massive impact on us all of the group because it has made us realise that money doesn’t buy happiness and there will be times where we will struggle but there are always people out there to help. I have learnt a lot through this project as well as gain experience and independence as we have each had a little role within the project to make sure everyone was involved and the project was done in time for Christmas.”
The news of what the group were doing in Barnsley spread across Yorkshire and it inspired other local action groups to do something in their local area. Starting with 11 teens, now over 100 teens are dedicating hundreds of hours to those less fortunate. Here’s what they have been doing;
- In Leeds, 10 young people from Local Action Groups from Leeds United FC, Leeds Rhinos Foundation and Yorkshire Cricket Foundation’s Local Action Groups have joined forces to set up 2 food drops where the public can drop off donations. The young people have volunteered their time to coordinate the drop offs and put together the parcels. All the donations will go toward supporting local homeless Charity, St George’s Crypt.
- To help spread some Christmas cheer, 9 young people from North Yorkshire with NYBEP decided to put on a literacy competition for children aged 9-13 asking them to write a Christmas themed story that would lift Christmas spirits. They have had over 100 entries and the winner’s story will be recoded and shared with local care homes to bring happiness to them in this challenging time
- In Kirklees, Huddersfield Town Giants Local Action Group made up of 34 young people have created over 50 personalised letter, cards and poems for care homes in Kirklees to receive over the festive period.
- 12 young people in Calderdale with Brathay Trust have fundraised to create self-care boxes for young carers in their local area, as 2 of the members are young carers themselves. To help fundraise each member of the group is doing a marathon (26.2 miles) to achieve their fundraising target of £300. The group wanted to create the boxes to reward young carers and acknowledge their hard work over the Christmas period. The boxes will include tea, hot chocolate, biscuits, chocolate, shampoo, body wash, bubble bath, perfume/deodorant, tissues, de-stress colouring books and colouring pens/crayons.
- In Sheffield, a group of 25 young people were keen support young people and their mental health. They know first-hand that returning to education during a pandemic has been challenging and so are planning to launch a podcast post-Christmas when they return to education. They want the podcast to spread positivity and use the platform to help signpost and break the stigma around mental health.
Mike Evans, Chief Executive at EFL Trust, is proud of what these young people are doing, despite being in the middle of the pandemic. He said:
“After such a challenging year for young people I am immensely proud of what our NCS Local Action Groups and NCS Graduates in Yorkshire and the Humber are doing to support their local community at Christmas.
In the face of adversity, these young people have been a driving force for positive change from delivering care packages to the most vulnerable or sending personalised letters to spread some happiness during these challenging times. Given the right platform such as NCS, young people can achieve unbelievable things”.
The impact of local actions groups follows on from a hugely successful autumn on NCS for the EFL Trust and it’s network. 4,800 young people across the country have volunteered over 110,000 hours in their local communities.
For more information on NCS, please visit wearencs.com.