Opportunities for young people to volunteer with the International Citizen Service

Tuesday December 17th 2013

International Citizen Service (ICS) is coming to Belfast on Wednesday December 18 to encourage more 18 to 25–year–olds in Northern Ireland to take up the ICS challenge.

ICS offers young people the chance to spend 10–12 weeks working in partnership with local volunteers on community development projects in poorer communities. The programme operates in 26 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America and is funded by the UK Government and led by VSO, in partnership with respected development organisations.

ICS offers young people the chance to develop personally and learn about team working and leadership on projects that are of genuine value to communities around the world. On return to the UK, ICS volunteers undertake an ‘Action at Home Project’, ensuring that their new skills also benefit their local communities.

So far just 60 young people from Northern Ireland have taken up the ICS challenge, and the programme is committed to ensuring that as many young people as possible from across the UK are aware of the opportunity.

Events officer Rob Thorburn said: “At ICS we’re committed to making sure that a broad range of young people take part in the programme and we’re particularly keen to reach out to young people from Northern Ireland. You don’t need cash, skills or qualifications for ICS, just the ambition to bring about positive change.

“So if you’re 18–25 and interested in making a difference and learning new skills come along to the Volunteer Now centre (34 Shaftesbury Square) in Belfast on Wednesday December 18 from 6–8.30pm. You could be volunteering overseas in 2014, taking on an incredible new challenge.”

The event will be a great opportunity to meet others who have taken on the ICS challenge, as well as staff. Sarah Maguire, 19, from Ballycastle, volunteered with ICS in India last summer.

Sarah said: “The experience has made me a stronger person and developed my skills and experience. I worked on projects supporting maternal health and gender equality alongside Indian volunteers and local organisations. It was certainly a challenging three months but I look back now and appreciate all the highlights – including introducing my community to St Patrick’s Day!

“I would encourage young people from Northern Ireland to take up the ICS challenge – you won’t regret it.”

ICS information events are free, but places are limited so please register by visiting www.volunteerics.org or by contacting events@volunteerics.org / 020 8780 7400 for more information. ICS staff will be on–hand from 1–5.30pm on Wednesday December 18 so those not able to attend the event can still drop in to find out more.

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