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WQE Students take part in the Autumn 2020 NCS Moving Forward Programme

This Autumn, 50 young people from Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I College in Leicester kicked off the beginning of their new school year by doing their bit to help rebuild local communities and create positive change in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The young people excelled on the Moving Forward programme by developing their social, personal and employability skills. During the week long programme, the young people worked in bubbles and rose to the challenge of delivering a professional business presentation, equipped themselves with first aid training, and completed a series of resilience building activities including meditation that focused on the students mental health and wellbeing.

Following a strong start to the week, the young people were ready to take on the Do Good phase of the NCS programme, where each team designed and carried out a social action project that sought to make a positive difference in their local area.

Team 1 launched their ‘For the Love of Scrubs’ Project’, for which they designed and hand-made facemasks from sustainable materials that could be donated to vulnerable individuals. Since wearing face coverings has become a legal requirement in public spaces, the team wanted to help provide free, comfortable, and accessible face masks to those in need, to encourage the public to protect themselves and each other. After making the facemasks they packaged each mask in its own sealable bag with a personalised message from the team and a picture for how to fasten the mask comfortably. The team blew their target of 60 facemasks out the water, by making a whopping 180 masks over all!

Team 2 chose to support Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People by making garden features such as wind chimes and bird feeders that could brighten up Rainbow’s sensory garden. As the East Midlands’ only hospice for children and young people, Rainbow’s provide vital care and support to families impacted by life-limiting conditions. Team 2 wanted to support the respite care of these children, young people, and families, by contributing to enhancing the wildlife, colours, sounds and textures to be found in Rainbow’s sensory garden. The team made the items by repurposing and recycling materials that were be donated by family and friends.

Team 3 wanted to combat the isolation and loneliness experienced by residents in local care homes, which has increased as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The team handmade letters and postcards for three different care homes across Leicester; Pilgrim Gardens, Aaron Court Care Home, and Asra Housing Residential. It was important to the team that they reached out to elderly residents that may be feeling even more isolated from the community. As such, the young people applied the multilingual assets of the team to write their messages in a variety of languages, including Hindi, Gujarati, Somali, Arabic and English.

Team 4 took a more hands-on approach to their social action, deciding to help the West Indian Senior Citizen’s Project (WISCP) by revamping their day room. WISCP provide a service for elderly African Caribbean individuals to enhance their quality of life. The centre has unfortunately had to be closed over the last few months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but as measures have started to ease, they are getting ready to reopen and begin interacting with their regular service users once again. The NCS team did an amazing job at brightening up the day room and getting it ready to welcome back the service users.

Derek Rawle, a Trustee of the WISCP, said “I’d like you to pass on our gratitude and appreciation for the great job completed by the young people. It was fantastic to see the dramatic change in the room and I’m sure our services users will feel the same.”

On the last day of their experience, Aton from Team 1 addressed his peers on stage to share his team’s accomplishments: “We learned a lot of skills, one of the most important skills being communication, now we are not scared to speak in front of each other and now we are all working as a team….it’s about confidence too, being able to come up here and speak in front of people is something I wouldn’t have done before this week!”

In total the teams of young people carried out a total of 720 hours of social action! Each hour of hard work, determination, and passion, went a long way in helping to make a difference to the local communities and leave behind a positive legacy.

Ms Garratt, a teacher from WQE said, “It was easy to see the benefit of the NCS programme on my students, the classroom was buzzing on the first day back and they were all excited to share what they had been working on together. It is clear that the NCS programme has kick-started some new friendships and the class is very cohesive, this would have taken a good few months to happen within the classroom, the NCS programme has really helped the students with their confidence and I am sure we will reap the benefits in the classroom.”

Each of these social action projects is a part of NCS’s ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’ a wider pledge to enable up to one million hours for teens to take an active role in helping the country recover post Covid-19.

For more information, case studies or images, please contact nasreen.hajat@leics-ebc.org.uk

About National Citizen Service (NCS)

NCS is an experience like no other. Designed for 16-17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland, NCS is a youth programme that runs every summer and autumn, during school holidays. 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. NCSers 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.

The experience might last just a few weeks, but the impact? That lasts a lot longer. Since 2009 nearly 600,000 young people have taken part in NCS, completing over 14.5 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.

To find out more visit wearencs.com

Visit NCS social media platforms on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram.

About NCS Trust

National Citizen Service Trust is a not-for-profit organisation incorporated by Royal Charter and established to shape, support, champion and lead a thriving National Citizen Service.

National Citizen Service Trust is registered in England and Wales with Royal Charter Body

number RC000894. Our registered office is at The Pembroke Building, Kensington Village,

Avonmore Road, London, W14 8DG.

To learn more about NCS Trust visit LinkedIn.

To find out more, visit the website, or follow NCS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.