Local girl on the billboard

Nicole Parkinson-Kelly
Nicole Parkinson-Kelly

Banbridge Academy student, Nicole Parkinson-Kelly, has featured on billboards across England to promote the National Citizen Service a youth programme for which she is the NI representative.

The programme which is for 15-17 year olds, aims to provide teens with skills for university and working life.

“I have seen how the programme changes lives. I’ve spoken to friends who have been through difficult things like family break-ups and have suffered with anxiety and depression, but the NCS has given them the boost and confidence to deal with these things - it literally has saved lives” said Nicole.

“Before I joined I was very shy but it really helped me come out of my shell.”

Since graduating in 2014 Nicole and three others were selected to take part in a leadership course.

“I enjoyed breakfast at the Houses of Parliament with several MPs and I also got a tour of 10 Downing Street.”

Then following a photoshoot at the world-famous Rankin Studios in London where models such as Kate Moss have worked, Nicole featured in the media campaign.

A group of leaders have also started up an organisation called Verity’s Voice, which aims to increase awareness of mental health problems to adolescents across the UK, and Nicole hopes to soon run workshops in schools here.

To find out more about NCS visit www.ncsyes.co.uk and find Verity’s Voice on Facebook or follow #wehearverity.