Young citizens roll up their sleeves to help others

Teenagers from NCS have been working all week renovating the garden area at BCHA’s The Factory Co-Working hub on Alder Hills.

Enterprising young members of BCHA’s National Citizen Service (NCS) have ploughed their energy into transforming an ugly area of waste ground into a vibrant place to be.

The 14 teenagers spent a week working at BCHA’s The Factory social enterprise hub in Alder Hills, Poole.

The group was part of the latest cohort to take part in the national NCS programme – a government initiative for 15-17 year olds enabling them to mix together, meet new people and ultimately gain confidence and life skills to stand them in good stead for adulthood.

Bournemouth-based charitable housing association BCHA, which administers the three-stage scheme locally, welcomed 360 students to this summer’s scheme.

The young people enjoyed a week’s residential camp at an outdoor activity centre followed by a stay at a Bournemouth University hall of residence, before dividing into smaller groups to deliver social action projects benefitting the local community.

NCS Leader Lisa Du Toit said: “We were thrilled when a group of 14 students said they wanted their project to improve the outside area at The Factory, BCHA’s conference and meeting hub.

“The area they worked on is overlooked by smart conference rooms. The students immediately recognised its potential and were determined to make it an attractive place for staff and visitors to sit and eat their lunch – and they have certainly done that.”

As part of the project the group had to self-fund their work and they set out to raise £300 through a sponsored walk from Boscombe Pier to Hengistbury Head.

Lisa said: “The group not only smashed their target, raising £622, they also scooped the title of BCHA’s biggest NCS fundraising group ever. Which is quite an achievement.”

During their week at The Factory the group cleared a large area of ground before laying attractive decorative bark and astro turf.

They also renovated existing garden furniture by sanding and painting it, and bought new planters and foliage.

NCS student Gabi Collins, 16, said: “The work has been heavy and tough at times, but we’ve all pulled together to get it done and the area now looks so much better than it did.”

She added: “NCS has been a great experience. None of us knew each other before, but we all got on really well and I have made some really good friends. It’s been like being in a little family for the past four weeks.”

Dan Livermore, 16, agreed: “We all came from different schools but that didn’t matter. We were able to identify people’s individual skills and really make our team work well, plus we had a lot of laughs. I’ve enjoyed it and I’d recommend NCS to anyone.”

Conference manager at The Factory Patrick McGullion said: “When I heard the group had raised over £600 to spend on the project, I took it for granted it had been donated. So I was really impressed to hear they had raised the money off their own backs.

“It has been a pleasure having the group here. We are thrilled with what they have created for us and are looking forward to using our new outdoor area.”

Anyone interested in using The Factory conference facilities should contact: 01202 612480.

Picture captions – FIRST CLASS CITIZENS – Young members of BCHA’s National Citizen Service (NCS) have ploughed their energy into transforming an ugly area of waste ground into a vibrant place to be. The 14 teenagers spent a week working at BCHA’s The Factory social enterprise hub in Alder Hills, Poole, for the social action phase of the programme.

Media information on this release from Debbie Granville at Deep South Media on: 07884 657782 email: Debbie.granville@deepsouthmedia.co.uk