Young people from the St Albans area work hard to help others in their community and raise money for local charities

22 August 2016

Youth Connexions has supported 103 young people from the St Albans district 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 of the programme was spent at the Kingswood Outdoor Education Centre on the Isle of Wight. The young people took part in challenging activities, overcoming fears and supporting each other. During their second week they stayed at the University of Hertfordshire in Hatfield. Here they learnt valuable life skills including first aid and how to use defibrillators. They also started to talk about their social action projects and what they could do in for others in their community. The seven teams had lots of different ideas which they were all passionate about.

One idea was an intergenerational project at a care home for the elderly. The group were aware that some residents were not visited by family or friends and felt isolated. They planned a tea dance and an event where they entertained and chatted to the residents, all over tea and cakes which they had baked themselves.

The young people were aware of what a life-line the Salvation Army and Herts Young Homeless provide to people in their area so they decided to raise funds for these charities. They organised a cake sale and raffle on the village green in Harpenden with activities for children such as face painting. They publicised the event by created flyers and advertising it on social media. They also invited people to bring clothes and blankets to Harpenden Youth Centre to be donated to the charities. The project was very successful with the young people raising £500 pounds for the charities.

St Albans NCS

Another team of young people redesigned the garden at the Pioneer Youth Centre and repainted parts of the building. They consulted the management committee first to find out what work was required and then wrote risk assessments for carrying it out. While visiting a local garden centre, they spoke to staff members to get ideas for the garden and the different plants they should use. They also used their negotiating skills to get a discount on the plants for the rockery. The young people worked extremely hard during the week to complete the project in the short time scale available, showing great team work and leadership skills.

Here are just a few of the quotes from the young people after finishing the NCS programme:

“NCS has given me the opportunity to make friends for life.”

“I started NCS as a shy young person; at the end I was full of self-confidence. I met some wonderful young people and some outstanding staff who really enjoyed working with young people.”

“I never expected to complete NCS, but I did and also had the most fun and made lots of new friends.”

“I didn’t want to attend NCS. I felt that I was forced to go by my parent and my plan was to make trouble and never participate in any activities so I would be asked to leave. But all the staff encouraged me, sat me down and made me feel special and part of the team. By the end of week one I had never so much fun. All the young people were great. NCS has given me self-confidence, enabled me to speak to others and given me a different view of the elderly. Thanks NCS!”

Find out more about NCS with Youth Connexions here.

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