The latest cohort of young people to join the National Citizenship Scheme (NCS) “jumped right in” to tackle every challenge they faced.
The 20, 15-17 year olds all successfully completed the government’s youth empowerment programme run by BCHA, which first challenges them through a physical, water-based, residential course, before assigning them to assist in social action projects.
Matt Sanders an NCS project worker at BCHA, said “I’ve been involved in over a dozen NCS courses over the past few years and in this autumn’s programme in particular, the participants showed an exceptional level of willingness and an attitude of jumping headfirst into every activity – quite literally.
“On the first day of our residential morning on the Isle of Wight, every single team member happily jumped into the water – which never happens!”
This enthusiasm carried on throughout the programme, with participants going on to support Dorset Mind and Richmondwood Rest Home in Bournemouth, totting up volunteering hours’ worth an estimated £3000.
NCS programme leader Anna Garrett, explained: “The participants were excited to raise money for Dorset Mind because it’s a cause they feel really passionately about.
“They organised bake sales, car boots and also arranged a 10-mile sponsored walk from Poole Harbour to Boscombe Pier, raising money towards the charity’s work in supporting people experiencing mental health issues.”
Anna continued: “The participants also wanted to do something where they could meet the individuals their social action project helped, so they decided to make Christmas care packages for Richmondwood Rest Home in Bournemouth.
“Everyone took real time and care to personalise and decorate a package for each resident and you could tell how touched the older people were by the gesture.”
NCS graduate Chloe Dawes, said: “My favourite part of this course was the weekend away on the Isle of Wight. We took part in many water sports activities and were encouraged to work as a team with people we had just met. I met a caring group of friends who made this experience one I will always look back on.”
Graduate Melodie Carey, said: “I’m quite a shy person and don’t often put my views forward. However, with the help of the really supportive team and team leaders I really improved my confidence.
“I also learned how to paddleboard. But my favourite part was being part of a team in the Dorset Mind sponsored walk. Even though it was pouring down with rain a lot of the time, I felt a real sense of achievement and that I was doing something for people who are struggling.”
Bournemouth-based charity organisation BCHA, which has been helping homeless and vulnerable people for 50 years, is the largest provider of the NCS in the Poole and Bournemouth area and holds an inspirational graduation ceremony for every cohort.
During the graduation at Bournemouth’s Citygate Church on Thursday November 29, attended by family and friends, the young people talked about the experience and also learned how they can go on to volunteer with BCHA in the future.
NCS courses run in the summer and autumn and BCHA is encouraging potential participants and team leaders to sign up for the next course starting in summer 2019.
All NCS participants receive a First Aid at Work certificate, 30 hours Volunteer Certificate and a unique NCS Graduate certificate signed by the Prime Minister Theresa May.
BCHA would also like to hear from social action projects which would benefit from NCS help.
Media information: Debbie Granville on 07884 657782 or email: Debbie.firstname.lastname@example.org