Just days after completing his final exams, Emmanuel College student Ciaran Grant will head to New Jersey to work with the charity Urban Promise.

The 18-year-old, of Gateshead, is no stranger to working with society’s less fortunate people.

Captain of Emmanuel College’s first XV and Blaydon U18s, he already works with ex-offenders and people striving to get to grips with alcohol and drug addictions.

Ciaran’s father works for the charity Junction 42 and his late mother was chief executive of Aquila Way, which helps provide homeless people with shelter.

Ciaran Grant portrait“When my mam died four years ago from cancer my dad was incredible,” said Ciaran, who has an offer to read social policy at the London School of Economics. “Now I can’t see myself having a normal job. If I didn’t do something that helped to  change people’s lives for the better I would think I had failed.

“The LSE course is unbelievable and an incredible opportunity. Living and working in London will also be a chance to push myself as I am not really a big city person.

“But before that I will be working with young people aged 10-14 on the streets of New Jersey for seven weeks, which will be amazing. We will be doing sports and youth work and key to all of these issues I believe is education.

“Some of the people I have worked with were in their 20s but couldn’t read. They know they need to so they can progress and I feel passionately about education, something being at Emmanuel College has helped me fully appreciate.”

Principal Jonathan Winch said: “Ciaran embodies everything that we hold dear at Emmanuel College, in particular the ability to put others first, to recognise the value of every individual and to give to our community wherever that may be.

“We all wish him in the United States and later when he moves to London, confident that he will make a positive difference in both places.”