Young people learn new skills and contribute to their local community with Youth Connexions National Citizen Service

24 August 2016

55 young people from the Broxbourne area have taken part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme delivered by Hertfordshire County Council Youth Connexions 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 deliver a community project, the young people also take part in team-building exercises, which developed their communication, trust and leadership skills.

In the first week of the programme the young people learnt new practical skills as they took part in problem solving and team work activities on the Isle of Wight. They also developed their organisational and leadership skills through challenging activities such as raft building, orienteering, archery, and low and high ropes. At the end of the week they reflected on their individual strengths and achievements and how they had met personal goals.

Ellie, 17, said “This has been the best week of my life; everyone has got on so well and the youth workers have been so supportive”.

During the second week residential, Youth Connexions youth workers ensured that young people had the skills they needed for the social action projects. The young people achieved first aid and food hygiene qualifications; developed their planning, presentation and decision-making skills and started to work on their social action projects.

For the third and fourth weeks of the programme, supported by Youth Connexions staff the young people divided into three smaller groups to carry out their social action projects:

The first group worked with the Lighthouse Project, a voluntary group in the Broxbourne area which supports adult mental health. After research with the group members, the young people produced a video to highlight issues faced by people with mental health problems and ran an open forum debate.Brenda and Keith from the Lighthouse Project said how they were “very impressed by the young peoples’ passion; they were a wonderful group and it's nice to see that young people from the community are getting involved and raising awareness around mental health”.

Broxbourne NCS2

The second group worked with Hertfordshire County Council Health and Community Services at a day care centre for adults with disabilities. They ran a range of activities including a ‘Big Mix’ open day which raised funds both for the day care centre and for a local group of young carers. The young people initially found it challenging but persevered and formed such positive relationships that they have been invited back to the centre to support a production of ‘Grease’ in September.

The third group worked with the Broxbourne Borough Council as part of their summer diversionary programme to co-ordinate a ‘Skate Jam’ event at Cheshunt Skate Park. The group raised funds for the event which was attended by over 100 young people and included music and other sports as well as competitions.

 Cheshunt Skate Park

This is what some of the young people had to say about their NCS experience with Youth Connexions:

Brandon, 16: “The major things I will take away from this are self-confidence and communicating with others better.”

Ediz, 17: “The social action project has been challenging but not impossible. Everyone is working together and contributing to the project. My main role is the media side: PR, advertising and research; I have really learnt lots."

Seniz, 17: “I really enjoyed meeting new people, making new friends and working with the rest of the group, although sometimes it was hard work planning the social action project.”

A parent of one of the participants: “I want to thank all the staff for their hard work and commitment. My daughter enjoyed the whole programme, especially meeting so many new people and making a lot of new friends. I am sure it can't be easy supervising so many teenagers, and I think you have done a great job”.

Find out more about NCS with Youth Connexions here.

Want to sign up for the Autumn programme? Express your interest here.