Youngsters unite to help communities across city

Sheffield Wednesday's NCS programme in action
Sheffield Wednesday's NCS programme in action
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Youngsters across Sheffield are coming together to make a difference in their communities this summer.

The National Citizens Service programme sees teenagers in school years 11 and 12 spend a month together learning skills, building confidence and lending a hand at community groups.

The government-funded scheme is being delivered by several organisations including Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday and the Sheffield Sharks basketball team under the Blades’ community programme.

In previous years, youngsters have done everything from renovating a nursery’s garden to putting on a football match for young people.

Shereen Hutton, Sheffield United’s NCS coordinator, said: “A lot of those who came to play in that match are now signed up to our training programme, so it does work.

“It’s all about having a great time developing confidence and making friends.”

The programme is broken down into an activity week, a week staying in accommodation managing a budget, and a social action week working with community groups.

“We’re looking for organisations or groups in Sheffield we can help,” said Shereen. The only criteria is they must benefit the community. It’s very broad.”

Four programmes are being held by Sheffield United over the summer, from July 7, July 21, and two from August 4. Sheffield Wednesday will hold its programmes from July 28 and August 11. Sheffield Sharks will hold its programme from July 28.

Spencer Taylor, corporate social responsibility manager for Sheffield Wednesday, said: “It’s amazing. It gives them a foundation for whatever career they decide they want to go into.

“From the club’s point of view, and I’m sure Sheffield United would say the same, it’s something that helps give back to the community, and they learn things along the way.”

Some of the projects Sheffield Wednesday’s NCS programme got involved in last year included renovating Richmond Park, working alongside Hillsborough Library to create art for a wall in the gardens, and regenerating a pavilion in Graves Park.

Sheffield Wednesday’s NCS coordinator Lucy Shuttleworth said: “Building relationships with organisations and local people really does create a bigger and better ‘big society’.”