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19 Aug

Rishi Sunak praises NCS young people in Yorkshire

Rishi Sunak has praised the passion and commitment of a group of Yorkshire school students who gave up part of the summer holiday for the benefit of the community.

The Richmond (Yorks) MP joined two groups of students from North Yorkshire taking part in an NCS (National Citizen Service) programme with Yorkshire Cricket Foundation.

The 30 students, most of whom study at Richmond School & Sixth Form College, were taking part in the scheme which is designed to build skills and confidence in young people as they approach adulthood.

Two members of the group – Grace Kipling, 16, and Caitlin Briggs, 16 – had written to Mr Sunak about their social action project.

The students split into two groups to tackle two projects – LGBTQ+ awareness and a campaign to support mental health in schools following Covid.

Mr Sunak said: “I was most impressed by the enthusiasm of the students for the projects – which were their own ideas – and the determination with which they pursued their objectives.

“They were also having lots of fun while doing so, getting to work together in teams and making new friends.”

Mr Sunak spent time with the LGBTQ+ awareness group who had set up a number of fundraising stalls at the school’s Darlington Road entrance, including selling cakes and running a tombola.

Their aim was to generate enough money to cover the costs of creating a LGBTQ+ awareness mural at the bus stop opposite the school.

He also talked to the second group about their campaign to encourage schools and colleges to fund mental health support for young people after the pandemic.

They had created an online petition with the aim of securing a parliamentary debate on the issue and collectively completed 300 miles – roughly the distance from Richmond to Westminster – walking, cycling or on rowing machines and treadmills to raise money.

Ms Kipling, who worked with the LGBTQ+ group, said: “It was nice to talk to him about our project. We showed him around our stall and explained our campaign. He loved the fact that the youth are getting involved and are passionate about having an inclusive community.” She said: “It was amazing knowing that he is here to support us and help spread the word about our campaign.”

Ms O’Reilly, who worked in the mental health project team, said the NCS experience had been amazing.

“I have been able to listen to so many people’s stories and understand how Parliament works, how petitions work, how to be able to have a voice and step out of my comfort zone and become more confident. It’s been amazing to meet a new group of people and see life in a different way,” she said.

Mark Gifford, the CEO of NCS, said: “We’re delighted that local young people were able to spend time with Rishi discussing the projects they’re passionate about and sharing with him the things that matter to them.

“Young people today want their voices to be heard and to play a part in building the future that they will inherit and inhabit, so being able to share with their local MP what they have been doing for their community on NCS was really special.”

Alex Hipkins, the NCS Manager at Yorkshire Cricket Foundation which delivered the NCS programme in Richmond, said: “It was great to welcome Rishi to our NCS programme. He got to see first-hand the positive impact young people are making in the Richmond area.”

In total 185 young people across Yorkshire have benefitted from the NCS summer programme run by the Yorkshire Cricket Foundation, with more than 250 young people supported since 2019.

Will Saville, the Managing Director for the YCF, said: “The programme has been particularly vital for young people as we move out of the pandemic to help them develop key life skills that will benefit them in the future.
“It has brought teens from different backgrounds together at a pivotal moment in their lives, on the cusp of adulthood, with a commitment to improving social mobility, social inclusion, and social good in our country.
“For the future we aim to expand the programme and help more young people in our region.”

The foundation will be running NCS programmes throughout Autumn, if you would like some more information please contact the foundation’s NCS team:

Alex Hipkins or Rachel Hildreth on: ncs@yorkshireccc.com

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