Young people of Hertsmere carry out social action projects in their local community during National Citizen Service

17 August 2016

The Youth Connexions Hertsmere Team supported 77 young people aged 16 and 17 from Potters Bar, Borehamwood, Bushey and surrounding areas to take part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) 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, listening and leadership skills. They also gained a qualification in first-aid.

Week 1 – Kingswood Centre, Isle of Wight

The first week of the programme was based at the Kingswood outdoor education centre on the Isle of Wight, where the young people took part in many different challenging activities, such as abseiling, the ‘leap of faith’ on high ropes (pictured), bush craft, raft building and archery. The week was designed to give the young people experiences outside their ‘comfort zone’ and bring them together as a team. In the evenings activities were held on the beach nearby. The group came together well and it was a great start to the project.

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 Week 2 – Framlingham College, Suffolk

The aim of the second week was for the young people to learn new skills. They took part in workshops on CV writing, first aid and planning social action projects. They also visited Framlingham Castle and put together and performed a talent show. Independent living was also an important part of this week, for example, it was up to individuals to organise themselves to get to sessions on time. The young people became even closer in their six groups and worked well throughout.

Weeks 3 and 4 – The social action project

In the final stage of the project the young people planned and delivered several social action projects in the Hertsmere district. The projects included:

  • painting Farriers Way Community Centre
  • supporting a local soup kitchen
  • providing activities for the elderly and partially sighted
  • arranging a ‘Teddy bears’ picnic’ for local children

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 One group, who were raising awareness of Herts Young Homeless and the work they do, managed to get two live radio interviews to publicise their project: one on BBC Three Counties Radio and one on Radio Verulam.

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To raise money for their social action projects they organised fund raising activities such as:

  • car washing
  • face painting
  • bag-packing in local supermarkets
  • cake sales
  • raffles
  • helping out at Elm Court car boot sale

The young people worked really hard during this part of the project - and got out what they put in. Over £1,500 was raised for Herts Young Homeless and care homes for the elderly in Hertsmere.

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 Here are some comments from the young people at the end of their NCS experience:

“I got more involved with my community and more interested in helping others, such as the elderly.”

“I have learnt a series of different skills I can put into action when I am in employment.”

“I have a better idea of what I want to do after my GCSEs.”

“I have become more determined.”

“During NCS I have gained confidence.”

“I have never been confident within myself ever! But since coming to NCS that has changed everything.”

A parent of one of the participants said, “My son had a fantastic time last week at Framlingham and is looking forward to the next two weeks. Despite his autism and learning difficulties, he seems to have done fine.”

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