Role for Belton’s Jack at country’s flagship youth service

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An Isle teenager living with an extremely rare congenital neurological disorder has been selected for a national position at a flagship youth programme.

Jack Marshall, 17, of Belton, has taken up the role as social inclusion manager at the National Citizen Service (NCS), following his huge transformation on the youth programme last summer and his contribution to the local community. His position will be encouraging young people across the country, regardless of their background or ability, to sign up to the youth empowerment programme. The role is likely to involve touring the country, visiting local groups and schools to explain the importance of allowing young people with disabilities to have the same opportunities as their peers.

Jack has Moebius Syndrome, which means he is unable to walk unassisted, has difficulty with hearing and is unable to smile due to facial paralysis which affects his speech. Despite suffering this disorder he has refused to let it hold him back through his entire life, competing in skydives, runs and climbs, and raising thousands of pounds for charity - also picking up some very famous TV star friends along the way, including the cast from Emmerdale.

When Jack took part in the NCS programme last summer he was determined to join in with his peers, taking part in outward bound challenges like rock climbing, learning new skills and creating a project to benefit his local community. He was hailed an inspiration to others around him, helping them to realise the barriers faced by those with disabilities.

As a result, the teenagers decided to dedicate their social action project to improving accessibility in the area. Jack played an important role by convincing Isle MP Andrew Percy to spend a day in a wheelchair to witness accessibility issues first hand, leading him to write a letter addressed to banks and supermarkets to reconsider how accessible their services are. T

The project has since been nominated for a national Social Action Award sponsored by Santander.

Jack said: “Before going on NCS, I was nervous that I wouldn’t fit in or wouldn’t be able to take part in the activities. Luckily, my fears were soon put to rest. I met an amazing group of friends and my team leaders were really encouraging and supportive meaning for the first time I didn’t feel like I’d be left out, instead I was part of a fantastic team.

He continues: “The experience was so transformational for me that I didn’t want it to end. When NCS approached me with this role I was really excited to be able to help others in similar situations to put their fears aside and have the same amazing experience I had.”

Natasha Kizzie, of NCS Trust, said: “Jack’s enthusiasm and determination was something we couldn’t ignore. He has this amazing ability to inspire those around him which makes Jack perfect for the role of social inclusion manager. “Jack’s list of achievements shows that you really can do anything if you put your mind to it and are given the right opportunities. With Jack’s help we want NCS to be known as a life changing opportunity that’s open to every young person across the country, whatever their ability or background.”

For more on NCSS visit www.ncsyes.co.uk.