A GROUP of young volunteers has reached the finals of a national awards programme.

Youngsters who worked with the Darlington community as part of the National Citizenship Service (NCS) scheme have been named as one of just three finalists in the vInspired awards.

The awards celebrate the achievements of young volunteers and youth workers, aiming to challenge negative stereotypes of young people.

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NCS Darlington has been selected from hundreds of nominations across the country to be named as a finalist in the Most Outstanding NCS Team category.

The team consisted of 12 young people, who were united in their common goal of rejuvenating the gravestones of all of the First and Second World War heroes who gave their lives on the battlefield.

The team worked with the local community and the Royal British Legion to clean up the sites.

Team leader Liam Howell said: “The team feel so honoured to be named a national finalist for the vInspired National Awards.

“It makes them proud to know that what they do makes a difference, and having an organisation such as vInspired recognise it is an amazing bonus.

“We just hope that it encourages other people to volunteer and help make a change in their communities.”

“They are such an enthusiastic bunch of young people, many of the group will be volunteering on the next summer NCS programme, helping the new wave of young people organise their own social action project.”

Terry Ryall, vInspired chief executive, said: “The determination and selflessness NCS Darlington has demonstrated in their volunteering is truly inspirational.

“They have been chosen as a finalist from hundreds of nominees because they have shown amazing dedication and passion for helping their community in Darlington regardless of what has stood in their way.”