Teens speak up for city’s silent voices

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A group of Chesterfield youngsters taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) is determined to highlight the plight of teenager carers.

As part of their NCS course, 16 teenagers formed Silent Voices, a youth group offering support and friendship to other young people who often feel trapped and isolated because of their family circumstances.

The youth club, launched at Parkside School in Chesterfield, was part of a month of activities aimed at helping the NCS teens gain valuable new skills and experiences. The group also spent a week away from home at Colomendy, an outdoor activity centre in North Wales. Participants were encouraged to develop their independence, leadership and team-building skills, and then put them to good use by forming Silent Voices.

Eckington School student Georgia Highfield said: “I was reticent at first to get involved, but I am really glad I did,

“Taking part in NCS has been exciting and challenging and helped me build my confidence. And knowing that we’ve started something that will help other young people - those who often miss out because of their family circumstances – is a really great added bonus.”

Georgia aims to become a doctor of medicine, and is hopeful that having taken part in NCS will help her stand out. Her friend Rachel Clayton, 16, who also attends Eckington School, believes that her NCS experience will give her the edge when it comes to applying for university places.

She said: “I would like to study medicine, too, and I know it’s extremely competitive. That’s why I decided NCS was for me, and it’s been really good fun. We’ve learnt loads of new things and made many new friends, and in Silent Voices we’ve created something of real value that will continue for some time.”

Team leader Elizabeth Annor-Agyei added: “I’ve been tremendously impressed with this group and how their determination has led to them achieving way more than they - or I – ever thought possible.”

NCS is the government’s flagship youth programme aimed at helping young people develop new skills, meet new people and make a real difference in their local community. For more: www.ncsingeus.co.uk.