Middlesbrough FC duo Marten de Roon and Viktor Fischer presented MFC Foundation’s National Citizen Service (NCS) graduates with their course certificates at a celebration event held at the Riverside Stadium.

At the ceremony, which took place in the Riverside Suite, 13 teenagers were commended for their achievements on the life-changing programme. Through the NCS Autumn programme, they lived away from home, developed skills for life as they took on new challenges, and worked together to make a positive difference in their area.

Fischer and de Roon handed out certificates, posed for pictures, signed autographs and praised the participants on the stage.

Community projects carried out by the teens during their four weeks on NCS included helping out in Ingleby Care Home, where the group chatted to the residents and put up Christmas decorations to spread some festive cheer.

Sixteen-year-old NCS graduate Connor Harris, from Middlesbrough, said: “NCS has been an amazing experience. It’s not a chance that is offered to you every day; it’s a once in a life time opportunity.

“NCS has developed me into a mature young adult and has equipped me with many life skills which will benefit me in the future.”

MFC Foundation NCS Coordinator Patrick Robinson said: “NCS changes the lives of not only the amazing group of young people here, but those all across Teesside!

“It’s inspiring to see young people strive to develop themselves, but also dedicating themselves to helping those in need in our community

“I am proud of all our NCS graduates and the positive steps they have taken to stand out amongst peers and positively affect the community around them with MFC Foundation.”

Dutch international midfielder de Roon said on the importance of young adults taking part in programmes like NCS: “I think it’s a good thing and an important thing.

“MFC Foundation is giving the opportunity for these young people to achieve something. It’s good for them and it’s the first step towards learning and growing the community.

“It’s really important that the club and MFC Foundation is doing this and for us it’s a small way that we can be helpful so whatever we can do is ok with us.

“It’s a small thing and it gives them a big smile.”

Fischer added: “It’s always nice to be a part of this kind of thing and to be able to help is really nice.

“It’s good to see these youngsters and to help MFC Foundation, and working closer with them. It’s really nice to help and see all of them happy. It’s great.”

The next NCS programme runs over the summer holidays, with 16 and 17 year olds eligible to take part. Government backing means places cost £50 or less, depending on circumstances.

The NCS summer experience includes a week of adventure at an outdoor centre in the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales or Scottish borders where teens will meet new people and enjoy adventure, fun and freedom. Returning home, teens will then spend time developing life skills like confidence, leadership and communication.

They’ll then work with their NCS team to deliver their own community project – making a lasting impact on the local area. As well as helping to boost confidence and develop skills, NCS also helps to boost CVs and is recognised by UCAS, who encourage the scheme to be listed on personal statements.

Bookings are now open for the unmissable summer programme, with parents or teenagers urged to secure their place online at NCSNORTHEAST.co.uk or call 0191 247 4020.