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Local teens support ‘52 Streets in 52 Weeks’ project to tackle Food Poverty in Coventry and Warwickshire

Written by the NCS Change Makers: Sophie, Daisy, Paris and Sharandeep

Food poverty has been rising year on year for nearly a decade, not just in Coventry and Warwickshire, but also across the whole country. After researching the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on this issue, we knew it was vital for us to try and help as an NCS Change Maker group. Amanda, The founder of 52 Streets in 52 Weeks, a community initiative to support the food banks in Coventry and Warwickshire, visited one of our virtual meetings to tell us further information about the increase in food poverty, with a much higher demand on food banks, social supermarkets and grub hubs being documented through 2020-2021 than in previous years. From this conversation, our group developed our understanding of the vital role food banks play in supporting our community all year round, but unfortunately we found out that they take the majority of their yearly donations during Christmas. We felt inspired by the work of 52 Streets, and with some advice from Amanda, decided to support the project for NCS Action Day on the 10th April. Our main aim was to collect food and non-food donations for our local food banks and raise awareness of the 52 Streets in 52 Weeks Project and the problem of food poverty in the UK. Through this, we wanted to help those who needed it most as well as encouraging others to do the same.

We decided to each do different activities to show our support; some of us got in contact with our schools and colleges to either set up collection boxes and raise awareness and some of us sourced food and non-food donations from friends, family and neighbours. We set up a JustGiving page to raise money and made posters to put up around our schools and local areas. We also used our social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok to increase the reach of our message. On NCS Action Day we donated all our food and non-food donations to food banks across Coventry and Warwickshire. We meet virtually with Amanda to share the outcomes of our work, and presented a selection of posters, leaflets and digital assets we designed, for 52 Streets to use moving forward. It felt great to help such an important project and cause, and know that our efforts contributed to making a positive difference.

Overall, we found the project to be successful in achieving our goals as many of the friends we made during our time on the NCS programme voluntarily donated and contributed to aid our project too. In total, we created over 25 posters to upload to different social media sites in order to spread awareness, collected over 100 food and non-food donations, set up a permanent food collection box at two schools in Coventry, and fundraised £50 to split between the Coventry and Rugby Trussell Trust Food Banks. When this project was completed, we felt proud that we had managed to raise awareness and were able to donate so much to help those in need.

Sophie, a member of our Change Maker group, commented,

“I learned a lot through this project, specifically about how important food donations are for the food banks all year round. If I was to give any advice to anyone thinking about getting involved with helping food banks I would say they shouldn’t worry about how much they are able to give, food banks are thankful for even the smallest amount, even just raising some awareness is extremely important.”

This experience has encouraged our Change Maker group to continue with our Social Action as we look forward to our next project over the summer term.

Notes to editors:

To find out more about the project or get in contact with the NCS Change Maker Group please contact nasreen.hajat@leics-ebc.org.uk

To find out more about NCS please visit www.wearencs.com

About NCS (National Citizen Service)

NCS is an experience like no other. Designed for 16-17 year olds, NCS is the country’s flagship youth programme and runs throughout the year. Teens get the opportunity to mix with a new crowd, live away from home for a while, take on new challenges and in the process build lifelong friendships.

The programme is all about emboldening young people – by giving them a taste of independence and equipping them with essential skills for life. They then get a chance to take these new-found skills for a test-run in their local community.

NCS is dedicated to providing a platform to make sure young people are heard and can engage with their community by completing passion projects, raising awareness and providing solutions to the issues they care about.

In 2021, NCS launched ‘Skills Booster’ which forms part of its NCS FE and schools support. Launched last year, the programme has already supported over 500 schools and benefited more than 80,000 students across England.

Since 2009 more than 600,000 young people have taken part in NCS, completing over 15 million hours of community action, and gaining priceless life experiences.

NCS costs no more than £50 – with bursaries and support for those with special educational needs or disabilities also available. NCS’s mission is to give every young person the life-changing experience.

NCS delivers value for money. £3.49 of benefits to society for every £1 spent.

During lockdown NCS has had over 2 million unique engagements with teens through its ‘Staying Connected’ digital programme hub as well as 195,000 hours of social good donated by teens in their local communities.

About Change Makers

Once a young person has graduated from the NCS Programme they are able to continue their journey by joining their local Change Maker group. These groups work throughout the year to pioneer social action in their local area, planning their own projects to support local needs and communities.