Humanitarian Terry Waite has agreed to become patron of the Citizenship For Life project helping students in Mullion, Falmouth and Penryn.

Charlotte Chadwick, community network manager for both the Falmouth and Helston areas, made the announcement at last week’s meeting of Helston Town Council.

She said the agreement came after the 12 students involved in this year’s scheme – which is aimed at giving the students new skills and building their confidence – visited Mr Waite’s charity Emmaus, which supports homeless people.

Mr Waite, an envoy for the Church of England who was held captive in Lebanon between 1987 and 1991 after trying to secure the release of four hostages, is UK patron of Emmaus, which offers homeless people a home, work and the chance to rebuild their lives.

His involvement in Citizenship For Life will help the future of the programme, which is now in its second year.

Each youngster taking part has a mentor from a business, local government, military, public sector or voluntary background and every month students and mentors take part in a different visit.

Some are in Cornwall, while others take place around the country. It has proved so successful that there are now talks to expand it throughout the county.

Mrs Chadwick told the meeting that a graduate, Lucy Robinson, was to be employed under the Unlocking Cornish Potential funding scheme, who would be based in Helston and whose job it would be to find future funding to keep the |programme running. The conclusion of the 2012 scheme will take place on December 7, with a celebratory breakfast at the Eden Project when the students will explain what they have got out of taking part.