On Saturday 18th February some lucky local graduates from the National Citizen Service (NCS) project will enjoy VIP treatment as they join the players on the pitch to launch NCS match day, a special event organised by Southend United Community & Educational Trust.
A handful of lucky Blues fans who are NCS graduates will be going to the game as special guests of the club to mingle with today's squad.
The event, supported by Southend United and Southend United Community & Educational Trust, will launch the national two-week national NCS match day activity, highlighting the positive work that young people have done in their local community. NCS match day is the brainchild of the EFL Trust, and delivered by English league clubs right across the country.
NCS is a nationwide experience for Year 11's and 12's. It is a chance for teens to shake things up and develop new skills for whatever post GCSE life has to throw at them. It changes how teens see the world and has a huge impact on communities across the UK, with over 1.9m hours of Social Action taking place across the country - the equivalent to building 74 Olympic stadiums and 1 Great Wall of China!
Football fan and NCS grad Monisha Collman-Burt from Southend, said : "NCS has been an amazing experience. It's not a chance that is offered to you every day; it's a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"NCS has developed me into a mature young adult and has equipped me with many life skills which will benefit me in the future."
By being part of NCS Monisha had the opportunity to experience life in and around Roots Hall. Since graduating she has moved on to and education programme at the Trust, and has her sights set on an apprenticeship with the Blues. Other football fans who want to get involved can sign up at www.ncsingeus.co.uk
NCS Ambassador, Goalkeeper Ted Smith is a big supporter of the programme: "I'm really proud to be chosen as NCS ambassador for Southend United Community and Educational Trust as I am a graduate myself."
"I think NCS is brilliant. It gives young people he chance to experience a variety of activities and challenges whilst building new friendships and benefitting the local community."
"Ultimately, NCS lays a solid foundation for these guys to go on confidently and achieve whatever they want in the future."
In Southend, the NCS programme is delivered by Southend United Community & Educational Trust, with the support of teens who have already graduated from the programme, and made its mark on people's lives and the local community. Participants enjoy a number of fun-filled team activities while away on a residential retreat, before returning to South East Essex to help local charities raise money through various different community-based events, like sponsored walks, fun days and other such events. Over 300,000 young people have now completed NCS nationally.
Scott MacDonald, NCS Co-Ordinator at Southend United Community & Educational Trust believes that many more young people in Southend can benefit from NCS: "I would encourage any young person to take part in NCS. It is a unique opportunity where you can develop life and employability skills, make new friends and have lots of fun."