Young people have been learning new skills while giving something back to their communities during the summer holidays

04 August 2016

The four-week National Citizen Service (NCS) 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, listening and leadership skills. They also gained qualifications and skills in first-aid and sign language.

Youth Connexions has supported 110 young people aged 16 and 17 from the Dacorum, Watford and East Herts districts to take part in NCS.

NCS News 1

Week 1 was spent at Kingswood Activities Centre on the Isle of Wight. Here the young people took part in a range of adventurous and team-based activities which were designed to challenge them and encourage team work and communication. Activities included high ropes courses, zip wires, raft building on the beach and team-based problem solving activities.

Week 2 took place at Framlingham College in Suffolk. The activities here focused on learning new skills as well as developing their existing skill set. It also included a great deal of reflection which allowed the young people to set and work towards individual goals. Young people took part in a certificated first aid course, learnt sign language, took part in a culture trail within the local community and spent  time planning and developing their ideas for their forthcoming social action project.

For week 3 the young people were split into three smaller groups:

  • Dacorum: for those from in and around Hemel Hempstead
  • Watford: for those from St Albans and Watford
  • East Herts: for those from Hertford, Ware, Cheshunt and Bishops Stortford

In these groups they decided on and planned social action projects within their local community. They drew on their own experiences and identified local organisations and charities. The culmination of this was a wide variety of community based events, including:

  • sponsored walks around Hemel Hempstead and Cheshunt
  • a charity event in aid of the British Skin Foundation
  • a quiz night to raise money for Friends of the Earth
  • car washing
  • cake sales
  • a charity ‘sleep out’ to raise money for Herts Young Homeless
  • the filming of a DVD to raise awareness of mental health issues
  • time spend at local nursing homes serving home made cakes and tea
  • a make over at a local primary school

They spent week 4 carrying out their social action projects and as a result…

  • Over £2,500 was raised for various charities including the Children’s Society, the British Skin Foundation, Friends Of The Earth and Herts Young Homeless.
  • A DVD was created to raise awareness of mental health issues for young people and to be used by Hectors House, a local charity which advocates awareness of and offers support for young people experiencing issues around mental health.
  • Various other community initiatives were carried out, which had positive outcomes for primary school children and the elderley.

NCS News

Each young person attended NCS for their own individual reasons, be it to make friends, challenge themselves, imporve their confidence or learn new skills and each young person developed over their NCS journey, leaving a positive legacy, not just with themselves, but within their local community.

Here’s what some of the young people had to say about their NCS experience:

“I don’t want this to end. I’m so glad I chose to do NCS… everyone should do NCS”, Georgia, aged 16

“This has been a brilliant experience. I’ve made loads of friends and really developed my confidence”, Ella, aged 16

“It wasn’t quite what I expected….it has been much better than I thought and I would highly recommend NCS to anyone”, Harry aged 17

“I don’t normally get involved in things within the community, but spending time at the nursing home had a massive impact on me... it was an unforgettable experience”, Martin aged 16

Donna from Hector’s House said, “It is wonderful to see such an engaged group of young people… such a great pool of talent.”

To register for the Autumn NCS programme in your area, please visit the sign up link here.