STUDENTS preparing to start at Cirencester College this September have been making the most of their summer holidays by making friends, meeting new people and raising money for vital charities.

The National Citizenship Scheme (NCS) is an initiative open to 15-17 year olds across the country. The scheme encourages young people to take part in fun activities while making new friends, getting involved with the community, and helping raise money for charity.

One group of local young people, called Team Sharks, with members all getting ready to begin at Cirencester College this year, organised a half-marathon run, as well as a cake sale, to raise money to re-build South Cerney Riding Stables which were smashed down in a storm last year.

Another group, TeamPirates, have helped create a brand new path suitable for disabled users at the Forest School in South Cerney.

Maddie Clark, 16, said she had found the NCS scheme very empowering. She went to Kingshill School and is now getting ready to start at Cirencester College this September to study Maths, Geography, Photography and 3D design.

"It's nice to know you can help someone else while making new friends," said Maddie, who got involved in helping build a path at the Forest School in South Cerney. "It's great fun. I'm definitely feeling ready for college now. I was a bit worried before that I could not make friends but it's so relaxed here and everyone gets on with each other."

The pre-college students have also been sailing in Weymouth, looking after animals at The Butts Farm in South Cerney, and walking around town with collection tins to meet locals and let them know what they are up to.

Vice principal at Cirencester College Libby Reed said it had a been a fantastic four weeks seeing the NCS scheme take place in the town. “The college is delighted to have been involved in the NCS programme for the second year," she said. “The students have thoroughly enjoyed their experiences and the team leaders, under the management of Jo Crook, have done a great job.”