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Would you believe us if we were to say that a group of 16-17-year olds came together and organised a Basketball Fundraiser for Charity in the space of just 4 days? It all started with a group of strangers from 7 Coventry 6th Forms, spending 4 hours on a coach journey to York, a place none of us had even visited before…

Throughout the weekend we each participated in a variety of character-building activities which challenged our teamwork and communication skills. To our surprise, the 3 nights and 4 days we spent at the residential turned out to be an absolute blast.

The following week consisted of us planning and developing a social action project. The aim of this project was to tackle poverty and decrease the number of families regularly going hungry in Coventry. We began by creating a mini survey and convinced the public to fill them out, this prompted our idea to make a change. Our group came together and spoke about all the ideas we had on how to tackle this issue, some mentioned bake sales, charity walk, bikeathon and many more great ideas. After an hour of consideration, we concluded that a basketball fundraiser event would be an effective way to raise money (using our Just Giving account) as it is a sport that many teenagers love to participate in. As a collective, we chose the name ‘Hoop and Help’ for our project.

During our weekend sessions at NCS, an agreement was made to connect local businesses to Coventry’s food bank such as ‘The Geek Retreat’, to be used as a regular donation point, so that we left a long lasting impact. As well as this, we agreed on using the money raised to purchase tinned and long-lasting food items to provide for ‘The Geek retreat’ as their first donation to the Coventry food bank. As a group, we designed a map which would help to lead those in need to find their local food banks, as the majority of the public mentioned during the survey that they did not have knowledge of where the closest food banks were.

The event took place on Friday the 11th of November 2022 at Sidney Stringer Academy. The timing ranged from 4:30pm to 8:30pm. As the participants arrived, they were asked to either pay £2 cash or £1 on the just giving account. A refreshment stand was set up for participants to help themselves to free squash, donuts, cupcakes and sweets. They had the choice to donate 10p to 25p at the stand too. The overall turn out was over 120 players and some just came to watch.

Not only was this a charity event, in a way it was almost a social event which gave the youth the opportunity to let loose, socialise and meet new individuals. As the basketball games were taking place, there was also an all girls netball game on the outside courts. Originally, our target was to raise £100 on just giving. However, we somehow managed to raise £260 which was a huge success. The money was used to buy donations for Coventry foodbank.

We are incredibly proud of ourselves and our teammates, and want to thank the NCS staff, for giving us such a great experience to develop our skills, project manage and plan and deliver the event, their trust in us was unwavering and alongside the skills we have made some friends for life.

Written by Grace & Trishia, participants in this Autumns NCS programme in Coventry.

National Citizen Service (NCS) is a government-backed initiative that brings together young people from different backgrounds, aged 16-17, to engage in a programme of activities encouraging personal, social and civic development. Over 700,000 young people have participated since 2013. More information can be found at: www.wearencs.com

Young people on this Autumn Coventry based NCS programme were from Bablake School, Bishop Ullathorne Catholic School, President Kennedy School, Rugby High School, Sidney Stringer Academy and West Coventry Academy and was ran by the delivery partner LEBC.