A team of young people have travelled to Kenya to make a difference to the lives of children living in extreme poverty.
The trip of a lifetime has been organised by the National Citizen Service (NCS) and Hartlepool United Community Sports Foundation who offered a group of 14 NCS graduates the opportunity to travel to Africa.
Vicki Burton, the NCS co-ordinator from the club’s Community Sports Foundation, has been documenting their journey, which has seen them volunteer to help carry out renovation work at a school called Jubilee Academy.
Vicki said: “NCS is a government-funded programme for 15 to 17-year-olds, focused on supporting young people as they transition from school leaders into active and upstanding members of the community.
“We run the programme every summer and autumn and each time we end up with a group of fantastic young people who work hard to become NCS graduates.
“Once a young person becomes an NCS graduate, a world of opportunities opens up for them, both with HUCSF and beyond.
“Last summer, and in partnership with African Adventures, Keith Nobbs and I decided to offer our NCS grads the opportunity of a lifetime; 10 days in Kenya.
“Since deciding to embark on the journey, the participants have had to use the skills they developed during the social action week of NCS, working hard to raise enough money for their place.
“They gained sponsorship from local businesses, ran race nights and stalls, took part in sponsored walks and much more. “Eventually in April, all 14 members of the group had reached their goal.”
On the trip Vicki has been joined by Chris Burton, NCS team leader along with Craig Linsel, assistant team leader and Angie Marchant, a parent of one of the NCS graduates.
The young people taking part are Ellie Lewis; Taylor Allen; Louise Atkinson; Amy Moore; Yazmin Wright; Will Ogden; Luke Faulding; Louis Marchant; Paige Hunter and Ellie Hamilton. They all graduated from the NCS programme in 2016 and 2017.
The group are now three days into their trip which as seen them spend time with pupils at the school and work to help renovate one of the classrooms by removing the top layer of concrete flooring and sweeping it out so that new concrete can be laid to make it flat.
Vicki continued: “The whole school, around 150 children and seven volunteers, ran to the gate to meet us.
“They all sang us a welcome song at the gate and some of our group were quite overwhelmed by a number of things at this point, including the children’s kindness, excitement and happiness, but also the conditions in which these children live and learn.”