Partnership offers youth opportunities
Young people from South East Northumberland have been getting involved in an exciting new venture, which is providing opportunities “right on their doorstep”.
The youngsters, from Bedlington-based charity Leading Link, have been getting involved in a number of outdoor volunteering and family engagement activities designed around The Sill: National Landscape Discovery Centre.
Leading Link and over 40 of their young people have been working closely with Northumberland National Park Authority, the architects of the venture, since the summer after being introduced to the project by local County Councillor Val Tyler. Val Tyler is Northumberland County Council’s policy board member for Community Infrastructure and Culture.
Lyn Horton, manager of Leading Link, said: “When Val first introduced us to The Sill project, our young people were amazed to learn about this incredible development right on their doorstep.”
“We have been working with Northumberland National Park on a number of opportunities over the last few months, with the intention of getting more young people and their families, particularly from our region of South East Northumberland, involved in this unique venture.”
“This partnership has already opened so many doors for our Youth Ambassadors and graduates of our National Citizen Service programme, who have been involved in family events, survival nights and even conservation taster activities working towards their John Muir award.”
The Sill, which was recently awarded a grant of £7.8m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, will be the country's first national landscape discovery centre. The Sill will give more people than ever before the chance to experience the countryside's special and often hidden treasures. The centre’s exciting programme of activities and events are aimed at inspiring people of all ages to learn about and get involved with the magnificent natural wealth that is right on their doorstep.
John Riddle, Chairman of Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “Young people are at the very heart of the Sill. Our work with Leading Link shows just how enthusiastic young people are to get involved with the natural world. Through working with young people at the Sill and with partners such as Leading Link, we will create the next generation of landscape enthusiasts and support them to protect the legacy of this stunning landscape for the future.”
“Our vision is for the landscapes of Northumberland National Park and surrounding Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty to be accessible to people of all ages. The Sill is a once in a lifetime opportunity to turn a national spotlight onto the vital importance of landscape to our nation’s health, wealth and well-being. The National Park Authority is proud to be leading this initiative which will benefit all of Northumberland and wider North East and North West of England.”
Leading Link are currently a major delivery partner of the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme for Northumberland County Council – the NCS is a national programme that helps young people to build their skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and meeting new friends.
This summer, the charity has been assigned over 90 young people, who are all 15-17 years old.
Lyn added: “When we deliver the NCS programme, we always strive to provide a unique experience for our participants, offering them access to different opportunities and progression routes even after the programme has been completed.”
“The feedback that we have received from previous NCS graduates that have been involved in The Sill activities so far has been exemplary and I have no doubt that the 90+ young people involved over the summer will have the same fantastic experience.”