Gateshead MP and college applaud teenage volunteers

Ian Mearns MP has teamed up with Gateshead College and their students to applaud local young people who have made a difference to their communities through National Citizen Service (NCS).

The Gateshead MP met with students today (Friday, 10 March 2017), tilting the Gateshead Millennium Bridge in tribute to the hundreds of young people from Gateshead who took part in the life-changing scheme last year.

Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead, said: “I’m delighted that 374 young people from Gateshead took up the opportunity to do NCS last year. Together, they contributed more than 10,000 hours volunteering in their community, tackling issues such as mental health, homelessness, and support for vulnerable children.”

NCS gives 16-17 year olds the chance to live away from home, gain life-changing skills, and deliver a project in their community tackling issues which are important to them.

They were joined by Gateshead College’s Principal and six students who have completed NCS: Kai McGill, 16, Brad Bell, 16, Jordan Wildish, 18, Chelsi-leigh Florentine, 17, Callum Reed, 17, and Rhys Peer, 19.

NCS graduate Kai McGill said: “At school I was on the wrong track but I went on NCS it changed my life. NCS gave me a whole new outlook of life and opened my eyes to what I could achieve.”

Kai, who is now chair of the Gateshead NCS youth board, continued: “Meeting my local MP and getting to push the button that opens the Gateshead Millennium Bridge is another great addition for my CV.” 

Judith Doyle, principal and chief executive of Gateshead College, said: “At Gateshead College we ensure that we provide opportunities for our students to acquire the essential skills and attributes that will help them secure employment. Volunteering activities through NCS are a great way for young people to gain valuable experience that gives them a vital edge in the jobs market.”

NCS is delivered in the North East by charitable partnership V•Inspired–NYA, working with a dozen grassroots organisations throughout the region, including Groundwork and Catch22 in Gateshead.

Jessica Taplin, V•Inspired’s Chief Executive Officer, also attended today’s event, and added: “Around 6,000 of the region’s young people have taken part since we began delivering NCS in September 2015. That is a significant investment in helping local teenagers to reach their potential and to play their part in creating positive social change. I look forward to more teens seizing the opportunities offered by NCS this summer.”

Thousands of young people from across the North East have already booked their place on the unmissable NCS summer programme. Places on NCS cost £50 (£10 for those eligible for free school meals) and can be booked at or by calling 0191 247 4020.