Community Leaders Of Today
Date posted: 21 November 2013
High Peak's citizens of the future impressed the town's community leaders of today at an awards ceremony in the University of Derby Buxton where certificates of achievement signed by Prime Minister David Cameron were handed out.
Three groups of 16 to 17-year-olds graduated from a National Citizen Service (NCS) programme run by the University's Oaklands Manor Outdoor Leadership Centre.
And one teenager from Castleton, who studies at the University campus, ended up in Downing Street thanks to her work with NCS.
The youngsters spoke about the adventures they had had canoeing, camping and abseiling as part of the youth section of Mr Cameron's Big Society project, aimed at widening young people's aspirations and goals.
One of them, James Hayes, told guests: "I can't explain to you how great the course was. I want to thank everyone for the experience because I'm never going to forget it."
But the greatest praise came from the leaders of the local groups which the young people had helped in the community service section of the NCS project.
"If you ever need a reference, do get in touch," said Joyce Allwright, Warden of Christchurch, Burbage, where one group had worked non-stop to clear the churchyard.
"They made big improvements, and took it in turns to have lunch so that the work never stopped," said Mrs Allwright. "That wasn't my idea - it was something they organised themselves."
Stuart Webster, of Bright Opportunities, a not-for profit group which helps adults with learning difficulties in Buxton and the rest of the High Peak, told how another group had raised £800 in cash as well as persuading local retailers to donate a wheelbarrow loaded with tools for their work at an allotment in Fairfield.
And Kath Sterndale, of High Peak Nightstop, told guests who included Mayor of the High Peak Councillor Tony Kemp, that the group who helped her had arrived half an hour early for their appointment.
"It showed that they were committed," said Kath, who received £1,000 towards the charity's emergency work with the homeless from the youngsters who raised money through a sponsored walk around the University's Dome.
"They said what they were going to do and they went out and delivered it," said Kath. "They were amazing - great ambassadors for youth.
"I would also like to thank their parents, who were behind them every step of the way. They are such a credit to you."
Grace Thompson, aged 17, was selected by NCS organisers as an ambassador for the project, and was invited to London where she visited Downing Street, met MPs in the House of Commons and took part in a range of exciting activities with other young people from across the UK.
"It was such a privilege, and shows how something like NCS can take you such a long way," said Grace, who is studying Travel and Tourism at the Dome with Buxton and Leek College.
Oaklands Outdoor Leadership Centre Manager Mike Gray said: "NCS gives them self-confidence and self-esteem, and boosts their CVs.
"It's given them the ability to say: we are the future."
Two of the NCS helpers were University Outdoor Countryside Adventure students Lee Richardson and Oliver Horton, who are studying at Oaklands Manor Centre.
For more details about Oaklands Manor, see www.Oaklands-manor.com
The teams were -
Team High Five (Social Action Project - Night Stop): Team Leader - Laura Ogden; Mentor - David Ridgeley; NCS graduates - Jordan Duxbury, Ellie-Jayne Goss, Grace Thompson.
Team Wave 2 (Social Action Project - Bright Opportunities): Team Leader -Steve McArdle; Mentor - Rebecca Bell; NCS graduates - Carolann Culshaw, Jamie Capper, Callum David, Matthew Walker, Hannah Gemmell, Megan Louise Hawksworth, Paige Robertson, Lauren Cocker, Amy Louise Lingard, Katy Rayson.
Team Wave 14 (Social Action Project - Christ Church, Burbage): Team Leader - Lee Richardson; Mentor - Oliver Horton; NCS graduates - Matthew Thirlwell, James Hayes,
Selena Raile, So-On Wong.
For further press information please contact:
John Phillips, University of Derby Buxton Community Liaison Officer
Direct dial: 01298 330461