Teenagers inspire the next generation

Twelve Shropshire teenagers will be opening a pop-up shop this week as part of a community project in association with the British Red Cross.

The group is taking part in the Summer of a Lifetime programme, part of National Citizen Service (NCS), a flagship government initiative which aims to promote a more cohesive, responsible and engaged society.  The scheme brings young people from different backgrounds together to learn new skills, take on fresh challenges, make new friends and make a difference in their communities through developing and delivering a social action project.

The NCS participants’ shop will open on Saturday, August 25, between 10am and 5pm at the Darwin Shopping Centre in Shrewsbury. Along with raising vital funds for the charity, the teenagers hope to commemorate Day of the Disappeared by increasing awareness of the Red Cross’s International Tracing and Messaging Service (ITMS).

“We are really excited about setting up the shop and want everyone to come along and support us,” said Becca Wetton, 16, from Baschurch. The NCS participant from Corbet School added: “ITMS is a very good cause, but isn’t very well known, so if we can show the public what the service does and the difference it can make to people’s lives, then I’ll feel a sense of achievement in myself and our NCS team.”

International Day of the Disappeared on Thursday, August 30, is a United Nations-recognised annual commemoration day for people who have gone missing in armed conflicts or other situations of violence, and whose fate is unresolved.

The Red Cross ITMS service works across borders to reunite family members who have lost contact with each other and is currently trying to trace the relatives of more than 2,000 families separated as a result of conflicts in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Sri Lanka, Somalia and Democratic Republic of Congo, among other countries.

“Our shop will be full of clothing and other merchandise, so why not come along and grab yourself a bargain?” said Becca. “It’s also a chance to support a cause that affects people across the world.”

The Red Cross is delivering National Citizen Service in partnership with national youth volunteering charity, vInspired, and the Dame Kelly Holmes Legacy Trust.

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