Two graduates of the Football League Trust's National Citizen Service (NCS) programme visited Downing Street this week to share their experiences with Prime Minister David Cameron.
Connor Houlbrook and Jack Cooper, who are both currently on a foundation learning course with Barnsley's Community Sports & Education Trust were chosen from The Football League Trust's 560 NCS graduates to visit Number 10. They both completed the NCS programme last year, which The Football League Trust are currently delivering with 15 of their member trusts.
NCS is a flagship policy at the heart of the Government's vision for building a Big Society. NCS brings together youngsters aged 16 and 17 from different backgrounds in a summer programme of challenge, service and learning, enabling them to develop the confidence, skills and attitudes they need to become more engaged with their communities and to become active and responsible citizens.
The event at Downing Street was hosted by David Cameron to say thank you to young people who contribute positively to society and an acknowledgement of those organisations who help young people on the way.
Mr Cameron also launched a new 'Social Action Pathway' where young people from as young as ten will be encouraged to undertake social action in their community. The event was also attended by Nick Hurd, Minister for Civil Society and David Blunkett, which shows true cross-political party support for NCS.
After the event, Jack Cooper commented "It's not every day a 17-year-old teenager from Barnsley gets to grace the corridors of 10 Downing Street and stand toe-to-toe with famous representatives of the NCS and celebrities, and be able to relay over what a fantastic programme the National Citizen Service is.
"To talk to these people, who actually want to hear about my experiences during last summer's programme, was an honour and probably the proudest day of my 17 years of life. It is a day I will never forget."
Connor Houlbrook added: "I think it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to go into number 10 and look around it. Everyone was very friendly and at no point did I feel under pressure from it all. It was a real eye-opener.
"Most youngsters think politicians are posh and don't really want to talk to us but in fact it's the opposite and they are all really nice people who I would like to see again if had the opportunity."
As well as their studies with Barnsley's Community Sports & Education Trust, Connor and Jack are now volunteering as staff members on this year's NCS.
Darren England, the NCS Project Coordinator for The Football League Trust said: "It was fantastic to accompany Connor and Jack on their trip to Number 10.
"The lads deserve this special day for their work on their programme, and the fact that they are giving up their time to come back and help other young people through shows that the outcomes and legacy that NCS produces."
Mike Evans, General Manager of The Football League Trust said: "NCS is a really important part of the work of The Football League Trust. In 72 communities, many among the most deprived in the country, our football club trusts are providing positive pathways for young people in many different ways.
"The six weeks of NCS give young people, like Connor and Jack, a platform from which they can grow and develop, but it is only part of the journey. They are still massively involved with Barnsley's Trust through foundation learning and volunteering for NCS, and this shows the true value of our work."