Gap year girls head abroad to help disadvantaged children

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Two teenagers have decided to dedicate their gap year to helping disadvantaged children after spending their summer holidays giving back to the local community.

Amy Crossley and Natalia Barszczowska, both 17 and from Morecambe, took part in the life changing National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme delivered by Inspira.

After three weeks learning new skills and meeting new friends, they have decided to do more volunteering and will spend their gap year teaching English to disadvantaged children in Thailand and Chile.

As part of the programme, young people learn about ways they can make a difference in the local area and are required to dedicate at least 30 hours to complete a social action project.

With their group, Amy and Natalia will be fundraising for Project Trust, Child Action Northwest and will be taking part in the Colour Dash for St John’s Hospice in Lancaster.

So far they’ve organised a car boot sale and cake sale to fundraise for the chosen charities. They also volunteer at St Barnabas Homeless Shelter, where they help serve food to homeless people.

Amy said: “I found my NCS experience amazing. It has had a great impact on my life as it has pushed me to get out into the community and be more determined in what I want to do in life and strive towards my goal now of volunteering and teaching abroad.”

Inspired by their experience, both girls have decided to do more volunteering and will dedicate their gap year to teaching English to disadvantaged children in Thailand and Chile.

Natalia said: “NCS has shown me that there is a lot more to life than sitting behind a computer screen and it has made me want to achieve more in life through helping other people - especially in my gap year spent volunteering.”

Dave Todd, regional Contact manager at Inspira, said: “We were thrilled to hear about Amy’s and Natalia’s plans to spend their gap year abroad helping others, it’s always amazing to see the passion and enthusiasm of young people grow as they go through the various stages of the programme. This story is an example of the huge positive impact NCS has on young people taking part.”

The programme takes place across England and Northern Ireland, outside of term time, and costs no more than £50. For more information and to register visit