Around 270 16-17 year olds took part in this summer’s National Citizen Service (NCS), beginning their journey by coach and ferry to Adventure Activities on the Isle of Wight.
Here, they took part in sea kayaking, coasteering, archery, bushcraft skills and giant puddle boarding. These activities enabled the group to bond as a team, which helped them establish a good bond going into the rest of the programme.
Week 2 gave the young people a taste of university life at the University of Sussex, Brighton, as a week of residential stay in dorms. During this week, the groups developed life skills, learned more about their team members while taking part in some challenges around the Brighton city centre.
Arguably the most rewarding part of the programme is the final 2-weeks of social action.
The young people chose their cause, where they decide among themselves what they will do and how they will campaign – this could be fundraising, raising awareness, supporting local community and voluntary sector groups and charities, or anything else they can think of.
The charities and community partners chosen by the young people this summer to help were:
· Crawley Open House
· Giving Back Crawley
· Dementia UK
· Alzheimer’s Society
· Dame Vera Lynn Children’s Charity
· You vs. Train (EFL Trust & Network Rail)
· St Catherine’s Hospice
The social action young people got involved with through these charities included:
· Anti-Knife Crime
· Refill Scheme
· Fire Safety
· Mental Health
· Dementia/ Elderly Care
· Cancer Support/Awareness
· Alcoholism Awareness
In total, all 19 teams donated nearly 9,000 hours of their time and raised more than £3,000 (remembering not all did fundraising).
A couple of highlights to share with you included Team 1, who worked on the Crawley (Water) Refill Scheme.
Team 1 worked with Mayor Raj Sharma and Crawley MP Henry Smith to introduce the scheme, which has now been picked up by cafés, restaurants and other outlets in Crawley as somewhere people can go to fill up bottles with water and reduce the use of plastic. This is a first for Crawley.
Team 3, who addressed anti-knife crime, delivered another notable social action project. They produced a video to illustrate first aid you can administer to anyone with a knife related injury.
Crawley Borough Council and Sussex Police have used social media to share the video, as a way to raise awareness of the dangers surrounding knife crime but also to help people care for someone who has been stabbed.
The video has been viewed more than 600 times. The videos can be found on YouTube, the named ‘Change your Life, Don’t Carry a Knife’.
In partnership with Network Rail and EFL Trust, we are supporting the #YouVsTrain campaign. After giving a talk to Wave 3, team 16 used this as a part of their social action campaign.
They were motivated by the talks from our wave leaders to create a campaign paired with awareness of alcoholism, to make sure people are aware of the dangers the railways can pose.
The summer programme ended with a Celebration Ceremony on Thursday 29th August at the Hawth Theatre, Crawley, to celebrate all the amazing work and achievements of the young people this summer.
NCS Co-ordinator Ellie Smith, had this to say, “This year was our biggest summer ever at Crawley NCS, with 19 teams taking part in the programme across 3 waves.
I am so proud of the amazing work the young people have carried out, and it was a special night during the Celebration Ceremony to reflect on all the hard work.
Teams have created unique social action projects, which they were very passionate about and really have made a difference in the local community. Well done all!”
If you are aged 16-17 and missed on the summer programme, you can sign up for our autumn programme coming up in October half-term.