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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Proud volunteers dispelling myths about teenagers

TWO young Furness volunteers have backed a study which shatters misconceptions of disengaged teenagers.

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model citizens Sean Noblet, left, and Connor Rosingana, who have both been involved with the National Citizen Service LINDSEY DICKINGS REF: 50059665B000

The Demos report, Generation Citizen, has revealed a huge majority of young people (80 per cent) believe their generation is more concerned with social issues than previous generations of teenagers.

The survey, supported by the National Citizen Service, found that three-quarters (74 per cent) of 16 to 24-year-olds had volunteered in the past year. The report also showed that false stereotyping of young people in the media and wider society is having a negative effect on both their self-esteem and employment opportunities.

This week is Student Volunteering Week 2014 and new research from the National Union of Students says that almost a third (31 per cent) of students in higher education devote a significant proportion of their spare time to volunteering.

Sean Noblet and Connor Rosingana, both 17, and of Barrow, took part in NCS over the summer.

The programme, run by Inspira in Cumbria, helps school leavers become responsible and engaged members of adult society. There are volunteering, social action, outward bound and residential elements.

Sean and Connor, who study public services at Lancaster and Morecambe College, have continued volunteering.

Sean said: “NCS opened up everything. You learn about different organisations and I gained teamwork, leadership and listening skills and the ability to get on with new people.

“I enjoyed the volunteering. I went to Leeds to help with a holiday for disabled children. I came away from that and now I’m doing more.”

In July Sean is doing a charity run in aid of The Tracy Sollis Leukaemia Trust, in support of a friend who has Leukaemia. In two days he plans to cover 100 miles from the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to Lancaster, and the next day from Lancaster to Barrow. Five days later he is volunteering on an activity course for young people.

Sean said: “Teenagers get a bad label. People assume young people are not interested in issues but we are. On the coach to college when I was talking about my volunteering and others were talking about the volunteering they do.”

Connor said: “I loved the NCS experience and it helped build my confidence. It’s been really beneficial. I volunteered with, and still volunteer with, Barrow Food Bank.

“I initially handed out leaflets and then I worked packing parcels. I found it interesting the way it is organised. It’s a really worthwhile organisation. Young people do get misrepresented but we are engaged with our community.”

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