Teenagers brew funds and fun at a Mad Hatter's tea party

Oxford Mail: From left: 16-year-olds Daisy Ingram, Owen Lyne, Sam Kemp, Freya Horsley, Natasha Lester, Daniel Wegrzyk and 17-year-old Ollie Picot. In front are Madeliene Teboe, 16, left and Robyn Mcilwaine, 16. Buy this photo » From left: 16-year-olds Daisy Ingram, Owen Lyne, Sam Kemp, Freya Horsley, Natasha Lester, Daniel Wegrzyk and 17-year-old Ollie Picot. In front are Madeliene Teboe, 16, left and Robyn Mcilwaine, 16.

IT’S BEEN a tough four weeks of outdoor challenges and community projects for dozens of teenagers in Oxfordshire, but now all their efforts are coming to fruition.

Seventy-five youngsters, enrolled on the Government’s National Citizen Service (NCS), put on a range of events in the county last week – from fundraising car washes to a Mad Hatter’s tea party – in aid of charity and to bring local communities closer together.

On Saturday, September 7, they will receive a certificate signed by Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron at a ceremony at Oxford Brookes University to celebrate their work.

It is the first time 16- and 17-year-olds in Oxfordshire have been able to join the national service following pilot schemes in 2011 and 2012.

The service was started locally by Headington voluntary youth charity, Oxfordshire Association for Young People (OAYP) and Oxfordshire County Council.

Paul Lawrence, chief executive of OAYP, said: “The programme has been tremendously successful. The level of commitment is amazing – especially when most [of the teenagers] have recently finished exams.”

The first week of the programme was at Avon Tyrrell, Hampshire, for outdoor team-building including high-ropes courses.

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In the second week they camped at Youlbury Scout Activity Centre in Boars Hill, near Oxford.

Ollie Picot, 17, from Chearsley, near Thame, took part in the four-week scheme. He said: “The final week has probably been my favourite. It’s been really good fun meeting new people and I loved seeing all our plans for the Mad Hatter’s tea party come together.”

The tea party at Mad Hatter Bar, in Iffley Road, Oxford, raised £560 for Kamran’s children’s cancer ward at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

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