Alok Sharma MP visited “The Challenge”, a National Citizenship Service linked programme that brings together young people from around the Reading area on a 4 week course where they learn a number of key skills and develop their confidence, preparing them to be engaged young adults.
The programme began on the 26th June and participants spent the first week, ‘Personal Challenge’, at an outdoor activity centre in Somerset, taking on new challenges and overcoming some of their fears, through activities such as rock climbing, abseiling and rafting.
During week 2, ‘Team Challenge’, participants stayed in student residences at the University of Reading and got a taste of university life; cooking and learning to live independently alongside one another. They also worked on their public speaking skills, and have begun working with their community partners to fundraise and campaign on their team’s chosen issue. At the end of last week, participants delivered a Showcase event, in which they gave presentations to their friends and family on their time on NCS so far.
When Alok met the students, they were in Phase 3a of the programme. This is the ‘Real Challenge: Action’ phase in which they carry out their social action projects in the community. They were given the chance to present their projects to Alok and to ask him any questions they have about life as an MP. The projects sought to find innovative ways to help a number of local charitable organisation, including Bolton’s Care Home, Earley Crescent Resource Centre, Creating Better Futures and Cianna's Smile.
Jess Batty, social action manager at The Challenge, said: “This was a wonderful opportunity to bring together young people from Reading with local MP, Alok Sharma, for a great afternoon of social action presentations and an engaging Q & A session. The event highlighted just how much the young people on the programme have achieved in a short space of time, and how passionate they are about social issues in their community. We’ve challenged participants to take on new experiences and life skills, including outdoor adventures, cookery and public speaking. They will leave the programme with a new perspective on the experiences of those from different backgrounds, a drive to be active citizens, and an understanding of the power of a strong and cohesive community.”
Alok Sharma MP said: “I was delighted to meet such an inspiring group of young people in Reading and to see the great things they have already accomplished on programme. Their plans for upcoming social action projects are fantastic, and are set to have a positive impact on the local community. I look forward to hearing all about their achievements over the remainder of their time on NCS.”
Photos: Alok Sharma MP at NCS event