Haverhill teenagers step up to help the homeless

Team J created care packages for the homeless as part of the National Citizenship Service. Standing, from the left are Ellis Shelton (leader),  Lauren McKay, George Pilley, Matt Bisewski, Ceris Evans, Tillie Randall and Ella Lange.
Crouched are Casey Robinson, Raphaela Santos and Alice Cox.

PICTURE: Mecha Morton.
Team J created care packages for the homeless as part of the National Citizenship Service. Standing, from the left are Ellis Shelton (leader), Lauren McKay, George Pilley, Matt Bisewski, Ceris Evans, Tillie Randall and Ella Lange. Crouched are Casey Robinson, Raphaela Santos and Alice Cox. PICTURE: Mecha Morton.

A group of teenagers from Haverhill have been doing their bit to help improve the lives of homeless people.

The seven pupils from Samuel Ward Academy, along with two other teens from Mildenhall and a group leader, known as Team J, have been taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme since July 10 and are now in the home straight.

For the final part of their course with NCS - a not-for profit social enterprise established to give 15 to 17-year-olds new skills and develop their confidence - the group set themselves the challenge of creating care packages for the homeless.

Team J signed up for the challenge after hearing a talk from NCS at their schools.

Having completed two residential trips Team J moved on to the third element of their NCS, a Social Action Project, in their case helping the homeless.

One of the Haverhill group, Lauren McKay, a 15-year-old Samuel Ward Academy student, said: “It’s something we feel very strongly about because not every homeless person has chosen to live where they do.

“They’ve all had a lot of problems that they’ve had to deal with.

“We all sat down and had a chat and once it was mentioned we thought it would be a really good idea.”

In order to get the Social Action Project completed, the group, the other members of which are Ellis Shelton (leader), George Pilley, Matt Bisewski, Ceris Evans, Tillie Randall, Ella Lange, Casey Robinson, Raphaela Santos and Alice Co, have been bag packing in Tesco Newmarket, where they raised £320.

They also trawled around retailers and charity shops asking for items to put into the boxes, which were split into 15 for males and five for females before being delivered on Friday to Jimmy’s centre for the homeless in Cambridge.

Items have been donated by retailers such as Boots, Petco, Bodyshop, Poundland, the RSPCA shop and the Salvation Army shop.

The boxes included towels, toiletries, toothbrushes, toothpaste, books, sanitary products, t-shirts, blankets, duvets, food and water and information leaflets.

Some items were paid for by Team J members.

Lauren added: “It’s definitely one of the best things I’ve done and we all said we can’t wait to get our boxes together and give them to people to make them happier.”