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Teens in NCS Change Maker Group Launch ‘Pledge Green Post-Covid-19’ Challenge

Written by Change Maker, Charlotte, 17 years old.

Our Project and its Aims:

My NCS Change Maker group, ‘Local Legacy’ were passionate about organizing a social action project that would support the environment for NCS Action Day. Having researched into the positive and negative impact of Covid-19 on the environment, we were sure we wanted to encourage our friends, family and the general public to integrate the more eco-friendly habits there were adopting due to the lockdown (such as the decrease in driving, reducing purchasing of fast fashion, and minimizing food waste) into lifestyle habits post-lockdown. To show our own commitment, we each pledged to give up or change one of our daily habits that was harming the planet, and decided to document our individual experiences. We felt creating a video for Action Day with all the footage and pictures we had taken for our pledges suited our needs and aims the most because it could highlight our message and encourage and inspire others to participate in the same actions. Each member of our group pledged to do something different, such as walking to school, cutting out the use of single-use plastics, making reusable facemasks for friends and family, or going vegetarian or vegan. The main aim of our project was to learn how we could all do our bit for the environment, both individually and as a team, and raise awareness of our findings.

So, How did we Achieve our Project’s Aims?

Firstly, we carried out research for our video, finding statistics and information about the impact Covid-19 has had on the environment. For example, we found out that ‘only 10% of the UK population wear reusable face masks, meaning 53 million masks end up in landfill every day’, but more positively, ‘2 million people in the UK with respiratory conditions experienced reduced symptoms due to breathing cleaner air. The drop in air pollution was actually visible from space! Following this, we got to work on completing our pledges and documenting the experience – snapping pictures of vegetarian and vegan alternatives, bringing metal cutlery from home to use in the school canteen instead of their plastic options, taking public transport instead of the car, turning off lights and unused electric sockets, using bags for life and glass water bottles, turning the tap off when brushing our teeth – and more! We meet virtually bi-monthly to see how each other were doing and to plan and organize our raising awareness video. Our team member, Connor, collated all our videos, pictures, and stats to edit together the video. Without him we could never have created such an amazing and informative final outcome! On Action Day, we came together virtually to launch the video online and watch the final version.

What were the Outcomes of the Project?

Friends, family and the general public were encouraged to watch the video, before sharing and pledging their support to change or adapt one of their own habits, using the hashtag #PledgeGreenPost-Covid-19. The video currently has approx.185 views so far, has been spotlighted in our school newsletters and has been shared with our local MPs. Overall our team ‘Local Legacy’ is extremely pleased with the number of views our video has reached, surpassing our original target of 50. We have also gained a new viewpoint of on how little things and small actions can have a huge positive impacts on inspiring others and supporting the environment.

What Can You Do?

To get involved, you can watch the video, share it others, and pledge to join the challenge to do your bit to help the planet. Check out our project, and information about our upcoming projects below.

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.