National Citizen Service programme culminates in a ‘flash mob’ in Stevenage town centre
18 August 2016
Youth Connexions has supported 67 young people from Stevenage and the surrounding areas to take part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme this summer.
The four-week programme sees young people choose worthwhile community causes, plan and budget for the projects, raise funds and carry out the work. As well as learning how to successfully manage a community project, the young people also took part in team-building exercises, which developed their communication, trust and leadership skills.
The first week was a residential at the Kingswood Centre on the Isle of Wight and included challenging activities such bush craft, body boarding, zip wires, a 3D swing and the frightening ‘leap of faith’ (high ropes). The second week away was at Hertfordshire University in Hatfield. Here they undertook training in emergency first aid, took part in confidence-building drama sessions and started planning their social action projects.
Getting a taste of uni life at the University of Hertfordshire
For their social action projects in weeks three and four of the programme, the group decided to raise funds for, and public awareness of, the Teenage Cancer Trust and the Lister Hospital ‘Magic of Play’ appeal. They thought of a mixture of fund-raising and awareness-raising projects and carried them out in smaller groups: one group baked and sold cakes; another created props for a tombola stand at Stevenage Leisure Centre; and others reinvented themselves as Disney princesses for the day and went to the paediatric unit at Lister Hospital to brighten the patients’ day and quite literally ‘share a smile’ with them.
The flash mob performance in Stevenage town centre
All of the young people were in some way involved in the final event – a ‘flash mob’ in Stevenage town centre. A ‘flash mob’ is an unannounced performance, in this case a dance routine with music, in front of an unsuspecting public. The young people had come up with this original idea themselves and agreed it would make maximum impact in a short time. It was very well received by all those who were lucky enough to witness it. Donations were gathered from members of the public on the day and also via an on-line donating site. A total of £900 has been raised for the charities so far.
The large group dance routine was also performed as a show case for their family and friends at the Bowes Lyon Centre for Young People in Stevenage. The young people also prepared a multi-cultural buffet for the 100 people who attended.
The young people learnt about working as a team, commitment and working to deadlines, as well as the more obvious skills of cooking, baking and dancing. They learnt how vital clear communication is and how it can affect the achievements of the whole team. Most importantly they made so many friends and gained so much confidence. This is what they had to say at the end of the programme:
Jo (aged 16): “This was a real challenge, I’ve done so many things that I wouldn’t have dreamt of doing.”
Emma (aged 16): “Amazing! I’ve met so many people, made loads of new friends.”
Lucy (aged 15): “I’ve had a fantastic time. I highly recommend this to anyone. I wish I could do it again!”
One parent, Ruth, wrote “We would just like to thank your wonderful team for all you have done for Emma during the recent NCS programme in Stevenage. She had a great time meeting new people and doing new things. We feel she benefitted greatly in all sorts of different ways and we have to thank your team for taking good care of her.”
Another parent, Sue, approached the Youth Connexions staff and said “You did an amazing job, it was so fantastic and I have been in tears about it, my daughter loved every minute of it”. She also recognised the amount of work that went into it and said “I’m definitely sending my other daughter on it next year”.
Find out more about NCS with Youth Connexions here.
Want to sign up for the Autumn programme? Express your interest here.