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Pupils Step Up to The Challenge

Monday, 03 October 2011

Bolton School pupils have been doing their bit to give back to the community by taking part in a government funded initiative 'The Year 11 Challenge'.

'The Challenge' is part of another scheme called 'National Citizenship Service' and this is the first year it has taken place in the North - delivered in this area by Bolton Lads and Girls Club. The aim is to encourage young people to take action to benefit their community, and gives them a chance to show themselves and others, including employers and university admissions tutors, what they can do. The pupils, now in Year 12, took part in a three week programme over the summer holidays, followed by four weekend days in the autumn. The first week was spent tackling a personal challenge with five days of team activity in Wales where they were involved in all kinds of outdoor activities including canoeing and climbing.

The second week involved a team challenge, spending the week at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston where they were taught presentation and enterprise skills. In week three, the week was spent at Wigan College, using new skills to organize a campaign or fundraiser - something to get everyone involved and really make a mark in the local community. Pupils had to plan how they would carry out their idea and pitch it to a panel of judges. Each team then had four weekend days in September to make it happen.

Ruth Brown was one of the students who took part in the challenge. Her team chose to fundraise for Embrace Wigan and Leigh - a charity that supports disabled people in the community, and also launch an awareness campaign about litter. When presenting her idea to the judges panel Ruth's team even managed to secure an extra £100 for the charity. She said: "This has been a very rewarding experience; we have had the chance to meet lots of people from different backgrounds, benefit the local community and also have a lot of fun at the same time."

Olivia Davidson also took part and her team held a stall at Bolton's Big Weekend to raise awareness of the work that Oxfam do. Olivia said: "As part of NCS we've been working with Oxfam and learning all about food justice. Before running our campaigning tent we had loads of ideas for how to raise awareness, such as getting people to decorate flower pots and plant sunflowers, getting people to paint tiles or doing a display. It took us a week to plan but it worked really well and we had loads of visitors to our tent. It's been really good doing this - at the beginning of NCS I was worried we would be treated like babies - but they've really worked with us so that we can make our own decisions and plan our own things and it's really been fun. I would definitely carry on doing stuff with Oxfam - we've talked about starting a youth action group with Oxfam where we do stalls and other things like this regularly and meet up at Bolton Lads and Girls Club - I definitely want to do it, doing this work has shown me how important it is for someone to do something to change the world!"

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Olivia Davidson

Olivia Davidson and her team ran a stall at Bolton’s Big Weekend to raise awareness of the work that Oxfam do