My son Josh really enjoyed taking part in the National Citizen Service course, so when we were approached to help reach other parents about NCS, we were really keen to be involved.
So what is National Citizen Service?
“NCS is a government backed programme established in 2011 to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society. By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens.”
NCS is open to 16 and 17 year-olds across England and Northern Ireland. The two to four week programme, which takes place in school holidays, includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event.
My eldest son Josh was invited to take part via a presentation at his school, back in 2016. He came home really keen to take part so we signed him up asap. He finished the term early that year, as he had just finished his GCSE exams so it was a good time for him to sign up. NCS is amazing value for money. The whole experience including food, accommodation and travel costs £50 and bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is also provided for young people with additional needs.
As a family we often take holidays together and visit family both in the UK and abroad. We wondered how three weeks of NCS would fit into this. Thankfully there was a big choice of dates so we could choose one that worked for us.
Though NCS he would meet, and work with others from different backgrounds and cultures which as a diverse, multilingual family ourselves we hold as very important.
So over to Josh to describe his experience of NCS.
I really enjoyed my experience of NCS. On the first part of NCS which was in the Mendip hills I got to know and bond with my group. We all came from different backgrounds which helped create a unique and fun experience together. On the residential trip in which we stayed in university style accommodation we were set a budget and had to purchase all our ingredients for the whole week which helped teach us important skills such as budgeting, cooking, teamwork as we had to work together to prepare our meals. These skills will help us in the future and help others.
As part of the community project as a group we designed a dragon’s den style pitch to persuade “investors” (People choosing who the best project is and who to give more money for their community project. This helped me build my confidence and public speaking skills as my group leader helped the group design and practice the pitch.
For the community project, we provided an afternoon tea and food in a place which supports people affected by drug and alcohol addiction. We also painted a mural for them so that we could show our support. The afternoon was enjoyed by all people there and our whole group was proud of what we had done together and how we had helped other people.
On the residential trip, in which we stayed in university style accommodation, we were set a budget and had to purchase all our ingredients for the whole week which helped teach us important skills such as budgeting, cooking, teamwork as we had to work together to prepare our meals. These skills will help us in the future and help others.
During the residential time, my team was given a skill to learn with a mentor. My team was given Photography to learn. I really enjoyed learning this as I take photographs as a hobby anyway. Each team was given a different skill to learn which gives a wide range of skills that were being taught. We took photos together across the town and presented them to families who came along on the last day.
There were over 100,000 teenagers on NCS over the whole summer, this means that a lot of new friendships will have been made, new skills developed and the opportunity to develop a community. It was very enjoyable, and I also had an amazing time. I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up again.
Josh came back form each section excited about the new experiences he had had and friendships he had made. (I think the main aim of the outdoor team building for the teens was to find which corner of the site had internet reception!) He came away from the residential section with increased confidence in his meal planning and cooking skills, which I consider really important life skills. In the social action project the teens were engaged in helping those in society they may never have worked with before, In the initial team building phase he was able to take part in some outdoor activities he had not done before, as well as making lots of friends.
As well as a fun experience NCS was set up with a purpose in mind.
By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens
NCS was established to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society
As Josh said, “It was very enjoyable, and I also had an amazing time. I wouldn’t hesitate to sign up again” So what are you waiting for?
There are still places available for Year 11s to take part in this once in a lifetime opportunity this summer.
To sign up now, go to the NCS website. use this link:
This is a sponsored post.
These are our own thoughts on the NCS scheme. Some of the facts about NCS are taken directly from their promotional material.
The photographs were provided by the post sponsor.