Impact of the National Citizen Service

Posted 13.07.2020

The National Citizen Service (NCS) is a nationwide youth programme. Over the summer, NCS is responsible for raising the aspirations of thousands of young people and contributing hundreds of thousands of hours of community support. In the autumn break, NCS delivers more tailored programmes designed to support young people who may have struggled to access the summer delivery.

Catch22 is a local NCS provider who works closely alongside Ingeus (an NCS managing partner) and Nottingham College to design a programme meeting both the college’s curriculum needs as well as being fun and relevant for the young people involved. Catch22 saw one of the largest college uptakes of this tailored programme, supervising more than 80 pupils in a social action preparation week, followed by a one-week trip to London.

While away in the big city, three cohorts from travel and tourism, business and health, and social care curriculum groups took part in a challenging timetable while building life skills.  The group learned to navigate London’s underground, budget their finances, and they experienced shared residential accommodation. They also completed professional visits to Emirates, Microsoft and Catch22’s head office to learn about future career opportunities they could pursue.

Catch22 details the experience of one young person on the programme: “Sam* is a young person who I previously worked with when working in an alternative provision school. He had a troubled upbringing and struggled to control his anger and behaviour, making mainstream school a particularly difficult environment for him. He joined our urban NCS programme to London and I had my worries about how he would handle the stress of London for the first time, and being in close proximity to 80 other young people.”

“My concerns were quickly quashed as I watched him take all of the NCS challenges in his stride. He still experienced anger and frustration on a few occasions but had the intensive support from a staff mentor to step away and talk through the situation, before re-joining the group.  Before, after and during any emotional periods, he had a mentor nearby who he connected well with – without those meaningful relationships, he may have struggled to have the space to do this.”

“On top of overcoming his personal challenges, I watched Sam support the other young NCS participants in overcoming their own challenges. He supported his friends when they were tired or stressed, and comforted them when they were managing their own emotions. In one incident, he  offered intensive support for a young person who was blind; helping them navigate a busy and stressful situation, Sam calmly talked this individual through his surroundings. Sam clearly thrived on being able to help others and would not have experienced this situation were it not for joining the programme and putting himself out of his comfort zone.”

“During one moment where Sam was struggling to control his frustration, he verbally took it out on a mentor. He was given time to remove himself from the situation and, after just a short period, he independently approached the mentor and apologised for the way he had spoken and explained why he was frustrated. I had never witnessed Sam deal with his own behaviour in such a healthy way, and for him to apologise and explain himself was an incredible milestone.”

“In the final phase of NCS, Sam threw himself into the organisation of the team’s social action plans, making phone calls to care homes and other organisations in an exceptionally polite and caring manner. I am so grateful that Sam joined our NCS programme and put himself in this situation; I got to witness a young man overcome significant challenges, without realising he was doing so, and I saw him prove to himself that he could manage stressful environments, form new friendships, and support those around him. ”

Growing from someone who was previously struggling in both mainstream and alternative provision settings, Sam recently excelled in his exams and will be joining a mainstream college in September.

* NOTE: name has been changed to protect identity

NCS this summer has a digital platform and is open to 13-18 year olds, no registration is required. The ‘staying connected’ hub has blogs, podcasts, quizzes, etc and the content regularly updated. Those that had signed up for the summer programme will be contacted to go through their options.  Also anyone participating this summer or autumn  will be able to take part in summer 2021.

The NCS Trust have launched the one million hours of doing good campaign where young people can volunteer and support in their local communities between July and December. To kickstart the campaign, the NCST have partnered up with the Charity Retail Association to support the sector’s recovery from the pandemic. There will lots of different opportunities for young people to take part in locally both virtually and within government guidelines.

There is no participation fee or residential during summer or autumn.

If you wish to discuss NCS further, please contact Kara Mangan – East Midlands Business and Community Connector

BBO is having a significant impact on individual lives, supporting people to increase their confidence, independence and achieve their employment aspirations.

See what our participants have to say in these case studies …

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