A GROUP of community-minded Thurrock teenagers have taken a role in highlighting the difficulties faced by people with mental illness as part of a national day of community volunteering.
The four 17 year olds are raising awareness and funds on behalf of the Thurrock Mind charity shop in Grays. They spent the afternoon at Grays Shopping Centre on Saturday, 18 March as part of a social action day organised by National Citizen Service (NCS). The teenagers have all completed NCS, the UK’s flagship youth empowerment programme and, along with other teens across the country, spent Action Day supporting a community initiative close to their hearts.
“We understand that mental health is a big issue affecting our community at the moment and we wanted to show as much support as possible for the charity”, explains Connor Austen, 17, from Grays.
“We are only a small group, but I think we made a big impact.”
Connor was joined by NCS graduates Hannah Gardiner and Emily Marinkovic from Grays, and Louise Roberts, from Southend, all 17, alongside Dan Atkinson, NCS Youth Engagement Coordinator, from local NCS provider Future Creative.
The group baked cakes and biscuits for a cake sale which they held inside the Thurrock Mind store, as well as taking donations from the general public and explaining the purpose behind their fundraising efforts. They also walked the length of Grays High Street handing out leaflets to raise awareness for the charity.
A representative of the charity said: “I am really grateful for their help. They represented the project so well and encouraged me to welcome the next Future Creative NCS team here.”
NCS Action Day, supported by Santander, is a celebration of the huge difference young people can make to their local communities. Last year alone, NCS participants dedicated more than 2.3 million hours to social action projects.
Connor attended NCS in autumn 2016, spending time undertaking outward bound activities and learning skills for work and life.
Find out more about the four week summer NCS programme for 16-17 year olds at ncsingeus.co.uk