Sheffield teenagers banned from youth trip because they are couple

Sophie Grassby andAaron Kirbyshaw were turned away from going on a trip to Wales with the NCS because the group leader found out they were a couple. Picture: Andrew Roe

Sophie Grassby andAaron Kirbyshaw were turned away from going on a trip to Wales with the NCS because the group leader found out they were a couple. Picture: Andrew Roe

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A furious Sheffield mum has hit out after her 17-year-old daughter was turned away from a youth trip because she was in a relationship.

Penny Grassby said she would be filing an official complaint to the National Citizen Service, a scheme which aims to build the confidence of young people through group work and outdoor activities.

The mum, of Baslow Road, Totley, said her teenage daughter Sophie was left ‘in tears’ after she was told she could not go on the trip, which left from King Ecgbert School because she had signed up with her boyfriend Aaron, also 17.

Their bags were all packed, ready to go until word reached the NCS group leader they were a couple and the pair were prevented from boarding the coach together.

They were told Sophie could join the trip if she left Aaron behind – which she was not willing to do.

Sophie who attended the trip last year was asked by an NCS official if she wanted to join the group again – this time as a paid member of staff because they were short-staffed.

The sixth form student was signed up along with her boyfriend and Mrs Grassby claims the policy about relationships between teenagers was ‘never made clear’ at any stage during the process. They were told they had ‘breached the terms of the contract’ but say they never signed one.

Mrs Grassby said: “Sophie has given up two days of her regular work to help the NCS out after they asked her if she could work the trip to Wales.

“They had their bags packed ready to go and at the last minute were told they couldn’t get on the coach.

“I’d dropped them off at the coach and I later got a phone call with Sophie in tears.

“They’re responsible adults, they’re good kids and would never jeopardise the trip in anyway.

“I fully accept that it might be NCS policy but this was never made clear at any point.

“They never apologised they just kept saying ‘it’s policy’.”

An NCS spokesman said: “We’re sorry the young people were not able to come on the programme. A decision was taken by the local provider for them not to take part due to them being in a relationship.

“We are is in touch with the providers to gather more detail on the situation; we hope to find a way for both young people to volunteer with NCS again.”