Photograph: The top ten with their Citizenship for Life certificates
Rotary clubs in District 1290, Cornwall and West Devon, have helped open doors to opportunities for local Year 10 students.
Little over a year ago, a group of youngsters from Helston Community College and Mullion School set out on the first ever Citizenship for Life (C4L) programme, run by Charlotte Chadwick and Helen Jones from Cornwall Council Community Network.
Students were paired with a mentors from businesses and four local Rotary clubs. The mentors took time out from their busy working lives to accompany and support the students on trips to various businesses where they pick up new skills. The visits included Dartmoor Prison, the Guardian newspaper in London, the School for Social Entrepreneurs, the Big Issue in Manchester. The students also participated in team-building exercises at BF Adventure in Cornwall.
The group has completed a considerable journey of learning on the 12-month programme and have increased self-confidence, self esteem, communication skills, team working experience, and appreciate the world of work, social enterprise, entrepreneurship and risk.
Choosing the students was a tough task, as over 100 applied to C4L. District 1290 Community and Vocational Services Chairman, Stephen Lay says it was a lengthy process: “Selection of the students was very difficult. We were taking them on a life-changing journey. We selected those who we thought would travel the furthest. Each has surpassed our expectations of them.”
An awards ceremony was held at Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant to mark the end of the inaugural scheme and celebrate the youngsters’ many achievements which included having their interviews with the CEO, editor and street vendors of The Big Issue, published in the magazine itself. Each youngster spoke for five minutes explaining how C4L had helped them. In addition, each guest was given an engraved slate cup coaster made from recycled roofing slate made by the youngsters. As a result £250 was raised by the youngsters for BBC Children in Need.
The scheme’s patron Naomi Hahn, a former contestant on the BBC TV show The Apprentice, appealed to the youngsters to remember all they had experienced: “What would mean the most to all of us involved is for you take this forward and use it in your future life. I have no doubt you will continue to be great citizens.”
Funding for the programme came from Cornwall Works, Rotary District 1290, Classic Cottages and AutoTrader with additional support from a number of other businesses.
Hear from the young citizens on the Cornwall Channel’s special feature programme.