A GROUP raising mental health awareness spoke to city folk about issues in the centre of Worcester yesterday.

The National Citizen Service had a stand in Cathedral Square where they handed out cake and gave out positive messages such as: “A smile is the prettiest thing you can wear.”

The government led four-week programme, National Citizen Service or NCS , runs every summer for 15-17-year olds, giving them the opportunity to meet new people and get involved with their community.

The popular programme attracts many young individuals and develops life skills that they may need in the future. A volunteer explained: “it get’s me out the house and gives you something to do with your summer so that you don’t’ waste it.”

Within the first week, students may partake in outdoor activities, such as team bonding exercises including sports and climbing the peak district. The second week includes attending a university to complete a series of workshops relating to independence and money handling skills. The last two weeks consists of picking an issue or charity and raise awareness or money for that chosen cause.

A group led by Olivia Morris, a senior mentor for the national citizen service, decided to focus upon raising awareness for mental health “as they feel the issue isn’t talked about enough in the community.”

By setting up a mental health awareness stand in Cathedral square in Worcester, the group gave away free cakes and positive messages to people who were willing to talk to them for a few moments about mental health and their experiences with it.

They aimed to brighten up people’s day with their cakes and notes, and even wrote a song about mental awareness to raise the issue to the publics attention. The public responded happily as they approached the NCS volunteers to talk about different experiences and issues to do with mental health.

The team, not only developed their own personal skills as a volunteer explained how: “it’s a really good program to help you come out of your shell and become more confident”, but also created a positive and friendly atmosphere to the Cathedral Square chatting to the public to raise awareness for a good cause.