“We want young people to feel more confident and meet new people, as well as feel more connected with their community. ‘Keep Doing Good’ offers this to them.”
Instead of struggling to know what to do with their spare time this summer, teenagers aged 15-17 have responded to the impact that COVID-19 has had in Crawley, by volunteering their time to help rebuild their local community with ‘Keep Doing Good’ from NCS (National Citizen Service).
Thousands of young people were due to go away this summer on NCS with the aim being to live independently, learn new skills, meet new people and volunteer, to make a positive impact in the community. However, due to the impact of COVID-19, the traditional NCS programme hasn’t gone ahead and young people are instead pledging their time by signing up to ‘Keep Doing Good’.
‘Keep Doing Good’ is 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.
The two-week programme runs over August, where young people will volunteer over 16 hours each in their local community. In groups, they will plan and deliver a social action project, leaving a positive impact by supporting local food banks, care homes or helping local charities get back up running.
Wave 1 kicked off on the 3rd August, with two teams of young people picking up new skills, creating positive change and helping to rebuild their local community. Wave 1 Team 1’s aim was to increase connectivity across all ages, from young people to the elderly community, as they felt passionate about counteracting the loneliness felt by people through lockdown and to introduce relevant services if they need them.
Team 1 completed a one-day volunteering placement with Southgate Medical Group. At the surgery, they assisted in putting together information packs for BAME individuals around the community, who are at a higher risk of contracting COVID and other medical conditions.
These packs contained information about all the services and organisations available to help these individuals within the community, from mental health to physical health and lots more!
The team successfully created 100 packs to be sent out by the surgery, which will really help the people who receives them!
The young people also worked in conjunction with Crawley Town Community Foundation as part of their “Tackling Loneliness Together” and “Extra Time Hubs” initiatives, to create a Zoom hangout and quiz for the participants of these initiatives, as well as create a newsletter to be sent out to these individuals, containing information about the young people’s experiences of lockdown, and much more!
The young people also created a “socially-distanced hangout/picnic” for other young people who may be experiencing some isolation, which contained lots of games and fun!
Supriya and Bee (young people from Team 1) said, “We started off our time on NCS having no clue how we could support the community during and after COVID. Now we have formed close friendships from being in a group of highly committed people.
We have made health information packs for BAME people, created a space for the elderly community to socialise, and run a picnic event for teenagers”.
Team 2, also known as “The Musketeers”, decided to go down a different road for their project. They completed a placement with The Easter Team at Manor Royal, unpacking a big food delivery, and creating lots of food packages for vulnerable people around
Crawley who are in need of food. They also carried out lots of other tasks around the site, such as cleaning, tidying and gardening, to ensure the smooth running of the centre for the near future. The work they carried out with The Easter Team will really create a difference to the lives of people in the community that are in need.
The Musketeers decided to get creative with the rest of their time. They had some individuals within their team who were passionate about sewing and knew how to make face masks, so decided to put these skills to good use. The team collected sustainably sourced donated materials from different organisations around Crawley, and used these to create lots of fabric face masks. The whole team got involved with the creation, with individuals in the team leading a face mask masterclass! They then went into Crawley town centre on Wednesday, to interact with the local community and give out the masks that they had made (with the potential for mask customisation), for free. They also received some donations for the masks, which went to Crawley Open House.
Isobell, young person from “The Musketeers”, had this to say, “This project is important to me, not only for my own personal development, but we really feel like we are impacting our local community and keeping them safe. It is really important to give guidance and support during this time, which is scary for many people”.
Ellie Smith, NCS Coordinator at Crawley Town Community Foundation said, “I’m so proud of every single young person that has pledged their time to “Keep Doing Good” this summer. To give up your valuable time to help out vulnerable individuals within your community during this time is truly a selfless act, and both teams on Wave 1 have been so successful and committed, whilst also having fun!
The young people have created two amazing projects, which I know have really made a difference to people’s lives. The NCS Team congratulate them all, and we’re excited to see what Wave 2 will bring to the table!”
Wave 2 of this programme kicks off on the 17th August, so keep your eyes peeled for more social action taking place across Crawley from the incredible young people of our community.
Want to get involved?
If you are a young person aged between 15-17 wanting to sign up to NCS, or a community partner in need of some help through our social action projects, we’d love to hear from you! To find out more information about ‘Keep Doing Good’, as well as our Autumn programme running in October, visit wearencs.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.