Latest news

Teens Launch ‘Can You Help?’ Project to tackle Food Poverty in Leicestershire

Written by Alina, NCS Changemaker in Leicester.

  • Local teens joined the fight against food poverty during this year’s NCS Action Day
  • Over 340 donations for local food banks collected by the NCS Changemakers
  • 5 different food banks across Leicester supported by teens taking social action

The fight against food poverty in Leicester and Leicestershire was taken head-on by teens in the Leicester NCS Changemaker group on 24th April for NCS Action Day – a national event which sees young people, aged 15 to 17, up and down the country taking part in social action. Through a series of bimonthly virtual meetings, the Changemaker group identified food poverty as a pressing issue that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, and which they were passionate about addressing.

The group came up with a plan of action for their ‘Can You Help Project?’ #EveryCanHelps to aid the food banks in Leicester and Leicestershire. The main aim of their project was to support the network of foodbanks in their local community by sourcing food and non-food donations, as well as raising awareness of food poverty to inspire communities and neighbourhoods to establish support systems for their local food banks longer-term.

After getting the word out about their mission via social media, posters and flyers, on Action Day the teens took to their neighbourhoods to collect food donations from family, friends and neighbours. Located across various parts of Leicester, the group were able to support the following five foodbanks with donations: Leicester South Food Bank, E2 Community Hub, Oadby Food Bank at Trinity Methodist Church, The Peace Centre, and Lutterworth Food Bank.

To ensure they could sustain the impact of their project beyond Action Day, the Changemakers arranged meetings with senior members of staff in each of their constituent schools and colleges to establish permanent collection boxes on their campuses that would supply donations to food banks on a more regular basis too.

Within a week, the teens set up two permanent collection boxes at local colleges, donated over 340 food and non-food items to 5 different foodbanks, and raised £50 to donate to the Trussell Trust. The Chagemakers felt they had achieved their goal and most importantly, created a legacy that would provide continuous support to the food banks.

Sophy, a member of the NCS Changemaker Group, commented:

“Collecting food and raising money for the food banks of Leicester was a great experience. Food poverty is not something talked about regularly, despite it having such a big impact on so many people at the moment. I’m so glad we were able to do something to help, and hopefully we will be able to continue to support the food banks for the foreseeable future, especially with the food bank boxes that have been set up in our colleges.”

Notes to editors:

To find out more about the project or get in contact with the NCS Changemaker 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 Changemakers

Once a young person has graduated from the NCS Programme they are able to continue their journey by joining their local Changemaker 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.