A group of 15 young people from Maidstone have been running a social action campaign as part of their National Citizens Service summer project.  The goal was to raise awareness of mental health issues and the services available for younger people in the Maidstone area.

One of their activities was undertaking a sponsored walk around Maidstone, stopping off at various mental health care organisations and services.   As they arrived at the offices of Maidstone MIND they were joined by local MP Helen Grant for a photo call before proceeding to the end of their 5.5km walk at Maidstone’s Switch Youth Café. Supporters from the Kent Youth Charity the Young Lives Foundation also joined the walk with their mascot Lenny the Lion.

Helen said ‘the NCS brings out the best in young people I was very proud indeed of this lovely team from Maidstone.  It was a pleasure to support them and to talk about their own lives and aspirations too’.  Helen spoke with participants Zach and Alicia who said ‘[The NCS] came to our schools and asked – “why not do something with your Summer?” and this is what we did.  We said yes to NCS!’  ‘We have experience of people suffering with Mental Health insecurity and depression and we wanted to make an impact on our town’.

The Social action campaign also ran fundraising activities in support of Maidstone’s Switch Youth Café.  Over the past five years they have supported young people with issues involving sexual health, drugs, alcohol, problems at school, college, at home and ‘anything in between’.