• Screen Shot 2016-04-07 at 15.26.12Group won the overall award at NCS YES LIVE, Headlined and curated by NCS Ambassador Tinie Tempah
  • The teenagers are from several areas across Northumberland and Newcastle, listed below
  • Team created a hard-hitting video to tackle LGBT issues in Newcastle and Hexham
  • Performances also from Izzy Bizu, Blonde and Jess Glynne
  • Santander confirmed as official awards partner

A team of teenagers from Northumberland and Newcastle have walked away from a ceremony in London with the first-ever National Citizen Service (NCS) Social Action Stars Award presented by Santander.

The group were shortlisted alongside five other social action projects which were selected from the thousands of great deeds completed by NCS participants from across the country.

The teens travelled to The Roundhouse Camden in London where the award was announced at the star-studded NCS YES LIVE show.

The event, featuring performances from Tinie Tempah, Izzy Bizu, Blonde, Jess Glynne and Craig David, was also broadcast exclusively on 4Music.

Over 500 projects were put forward for the award and this North East group, who call themselves Team Brah, reached the final shortlist for their outstanding contributions on NCS.

The team used their creativity to produce a hard-hitting video to tackle awareness for LGBT issues in Newcastle and Hexham. They also made and sold 200 string bracelets, organised a sponsored walk and busked to raise money.

Overall the team raised a significant £850 and raised significant awareness across social media through their video. Using Lego as symbolism for the powerful film, “because our main motto was ‘your sexuality is a piece of you’”, the team looked to shed insight on the difficult life of a young person struggling with telling those around them and bearing the rejection that might come.

The team donated the proceeds to The Albert Kennedy Trust, which deals with LGBT under 25s who are dealing with homelessness or are living in hostile environments, and they are proud their nomination means more attention and awareness for their topic.

During their NCS journey, teens join a group made up of young people from different communities in their area. Team Brah is made up of teens Julia Elder, Megan Kelly and Daniel Downie from Newcastle upon Tyne, Rachel Brough from Chopwell, Erin Siddoway from Prudhoe, Alexandra Skelly from Ovington, Thomas Buck from Elsdon, Ellie Hudspith from Ryton, Zara Stokoe from Stocksfield, Daniel Rutherford from North Walbottle, Laura Jackson from Low Westwood, Tom Wiltshire, Maria Higgins, Max Lillico and May Blair from Ponteland and Gabrielle Cook from Seaton Sluice.

You can hear more about the group’s story at https://youtu.be/y6c7eYimjM4

Ricky Murray, NCS senior project coordinator at Catch22 Northumberland, said: “I’m immensely proud of this inspirational team. They used their individual passions and experiences to create a really well thought out and innovative project.”

Kim Smith, Contract Director at NCS North East said, “I am really thrilled that NCS graduates from the North East are flying the flag for our region.

“We have witnessed hundreds of amazing social action projects that have made a real difference to our communities. To be crowned as the best project across the whole of the country is testament to the hard work and commitment that the group has shown.”

Natasha Kizzie, Marketing and Communications Director at NCS Trust said, “Teenagers get a lot of negative press, and NCS knows that this generation of teenagers are more socially aware, connected and caring than any generation before. We are proud of our NCS graduates and all the millions of hours they have spent rolling their sleeves up to deliver social action projects that make a difference to the lives of others in local communities countrywide. The real stars of our NCS YES LIVE event are the young people who have already taken part in NCS or plan to do so this summer. We want to shine a light on them and inspire other teenagers to get involved. NCS is a truly unique way to spend four weeks of the summer holidays. It is a great opportunity to meet new people from different backgrounds, grow life skills and have fun. We know that doing good, feels good and we want as many teenagers as possible to have an experience to change their life.”

Santander is the official sponsor of the award category at NCS YES LIVE, supporting their efforts to help young people give back to the local community.

Team Brah was chosen as the winner by a team of judges from Santander who evaluated each nominated group on creativity, impact on the community and future development.

NCS is a part-residential programme for 16-17 year olds in the UK, focused on fun and discovery but designed to build confidence and resilience, grow work and life skills and increase social cohesion. A recent Ipsos Mori evaluation of NCS into the immediate and longer-term benefits of the programme show that NCS is having a positive and long-lasting impact on its participants, with NCS graduates being more capable, confident, connected and compassionate than their peers. Over 200,000 16 and 17 years olds have taken part in this rite of passage since the programme was founded in 2011.

NCS takes young people out of their comfort zone, it is a space for safe adventure, helping them to embrace new challenges and experiences as well as meet new people from all walks of life that they may never have met before.

Teens can have an experience to change their lives by applying for a place on the summer NCS programme.

Places on the summer programme are limited and teens or parents can enquire by calling 0191 247 4020.

For further information visit www.ncsnortheast.co.uk