With the country starting to get back on its feet, teenagers across the Tees Valley are taking part in an initiative by NCS (National Citizen Service) to help rebuild local communities and create positive change.

Teens aged 16-17 are being invited by NCS to pledge their time to ‘Keep Doing Good’ by committing to at least 16 hours of volunteering in their local area. They can help support organisations such as food banks, care homes and charities, who all need extra help right now.

One team, made up of up teens from across the Stockton-on-Tees area, have been fundraising to provide essential packs to donate to local women’s refuge centres. With their spare funds the group also purchased flowers to donate to residents at local care homes with accompanying letters.

Natanya, aged 16 from Stockton, said: “I have an interest in helping out the community because right now everyone needs that little bit extra support. So now that we’re able to get out, NCS has been great for socialising with new friends, and I’ve been able to give back as well.

“Although we might not be able to see the residents’ faces in the refuge centres and care homes, we know that they’ll be thankful that they’re being appreciated. I think that’s important right now.”

Leigh, 16 from Ingleby Barwick, said: “This has been a really lovely project to be involved in and give back to the community after the lockdown.

“There is a stereotype attached to teenagers, but this shows the other side of what we can do. We can make a difference in our communities.”

Becky Porter, NCS Manager at NCS delivery partner Flying Futures, said: “The whole team has been brilliant. They stepped up in a time when they’re finally allowed to hang out with their friends, and get out of lockdown. They’re spending their summer volunteering with the community and I think that’s amazing.”

To find out more about future NCS programmes, head to wearencs.com.