International Youth Day is an opportunity to celebrate young peoples’ voices, actions, and initiatives, the National Citizen Service being one of them.

The National Citizen Service, more commonly known as NCS is open to all 16 and 17-year-olds in England.

The scheme helps young people to build skills for work and life and enables young people to take on new challenges and meet new friends. The service looks at various social projects that they feel are important and where they can improve things for the local community.

This week the local Sheffield Wednesday community NCS group have brought more than 20 young people to work on the garden at Alpine Lodge in Stocksbridge.

They brought all the equipment, along with donations and plenty of elbow grease, to ‘do up’ the garden, refresh the garden furniture and replant the beds.

Pictured are Maleka, Rowan, Lizzie and Lana. A hugely talented group of young people, all are looking forward to their GCSE results next week, and all very focused on their futures.

Maleka is looking forward to joining Cambridge University and eventually becoming an epidemiologist.

Rowan has decided on a career as a microbiologist.

Lizzie hopes to become a trauma surgeon, and Lana is determined to get her A levels and go to university.

The garden at Alpine Lodge Care Home is taking shape and the residents are looking forward to watching the plants growing and sitting on the refurbished benches.

Keeley, the Home Manager, said; “These young people are inspiring. The lockdown meant we couldn’t go ahead with the NCS in early spring, so it’s been a pleasure to see them in the garden now. Our residents can’t wait to get out there.”

Keeley continued; “A massive thank you to the NCS and for all the young people who have taken part. Our residents are delighted.”

Jessica, the NCS Engagement Coordinator, explained how projects like working in care homes have a profound effect on young people; “These schemes help them to learn about life, experience new friendships, team building, and increase their awareness to community projects of which Alpine Lodge is one.”

Jimmy, the Education Teacher commented; “This wave of young people have enjoyed the freedom of learning about choice, team leading and being independent.”