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NCS Participants Celebrate Summer Of Achievement

Over 160 young people signed up for NCS (National Citizen Service) with Newcastle United Foundation this summer and last night Wave 2 gathered at St James’ Park for their celebration event.

The celebration events gives the young people the opportunity to bring family and friends along to the stadium to get an overview of their summer as part of NCS.

Slide shows of images from the activities gave guests an insight into just how special a summer their loved ones had with NCS, showing shots from the residential, first aid and their social action projects.

The team leaders, led by Project Coordinator Laura Wilson, shared the achievements, highlights and challenges that the individuals had faced during the programme.

During NCS participants spend the first week building relationships within the groups on a residential – in many cases this can be the first time the young person has been away from home and without contact with their parents. The activities are challenging and fears are most definitely faced! The time away from home also encourages the young people to take responsibility for their day to day lives, including cooking and doing the dishes.

When the group returns to Newcastle they then spend some time in the hall of residence at Northumbria University. During this week the participants completed and passed their First Aid course, worked on their Sports Leadership qualification, took part in an Army FA Football Day and had a tour of St’ James Park – getting a sneaky peek behind the scenes!

The Foundation also delivers Lifestyles Workshops that cover healthy eating guidance, advice on drugs and alcohol, information on sexual health as well as our ‘Building Bridges’ workshop which discusses Derby Day violence and how this should be addressed.

After a busy, but productive week the 65 Wave 2 participants went paintballing, which for some was a challenge to overcome and for others was a great day out.

Social Action Week in NCS is all about giving back to the community. After being split into four teams the groups were meticulous in their planning to really make an impact. The groups organised sponsored runs and walks, volunteered, spent time in care homes chatting with the elderly, painted youth clubs, cleared outdoor spaces an tidied gardens.

The graduation ended with the participants receiving their NCS graduation certificates, applauded by their new friends and family.

Participant Connor Slesser,16 said: “I loved NCS. The residential gave us the chance to make new friends straight away and I feel like my communication skills have improved so much. I’m much better at getting along with different people now. I feel like I’ve done lots that I can add to my CV which will really help when it comes to applying for courses or a job. I would definitely recommend NCS – even if you don’t know anyone, you’ll make lots of friends!”

Julie Langston, a parent who attended the graduation, commented: “This was a great opportunity for my son – he thoroughly enjoyed it. I even think he’s come back a little bit more mature! It was so well organised and the young people were looked after so well. I thought the volunteering aspect was great – it’s important that they see and experience different aspects of life.”

Signing up for NCS can be daunting but Amber Wilson, 17, who has serious health problems, was delighted that she challenged herself to take part, “I got a leaflet about NCS at College and I really wanted to do it. But, because I’ve had lots of operations and have specific health requirements I didn’t think I would be able to. I came along to the induction night and the team were really supportive and that they would work with me to help me to try to take part. All I can say is that it was worth making the effort. I’m proud that I did it and definitely feel like I can be more independent. I’m really keen to try and be a team leader next year so I can inspire people with health issues who might be worried about signing up to say yes!”

Amber’s parents, Bill and Diane, added: “We are so grateful to the staff for making the effort to make sure Amber could take part – it meant a lot. We were so anxious about her signing up as she had never been away from home – we were actually terrified about having no contact with her during the residential. But, the staff were so supportive and gave us plenty of reassurance that she would be enjoying herself – and she did! Amber made lots of new friends that has given us the confidence to give her more freedom. We’re so proud of her– it’s been great to see the photos and hear about the teams achievements tonight.

“If we could recommend to every child that they should do NCS – we would!”

Project Officer Laura Wilson said: “Every single person said yes to NCS and this graduation isn’t the end. The ethos of NCS is something participants can carry with them every day. We’ve seen so much passion, commitment and enthusiasm and the team is really proud of everyone. Challenges were faced, qualifications were achieved, massive contributions were made to our local community and importantly they all made new friends.

“As the group reflects on all it has achieved we’re so pleased that so many participants recognize how much they have developed over the last few weeks and that so many want to sign up as team leaders to inspire the next intake.”

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