“Harry’s confidence increased and anxiety decreased…he loved every minute.”

The NCS (National Citizen Service) programme is designed to give young people the independence and confidence they need for life after school. Kelly Day was delighted at the difference that the two weeks had on her son, Harry Day, who struggled with his confidence prior to taking part in NCS.

Harry, 19 joined the NCS ‘Keep Doing Good’ programme with MK Dons Sport & Education Trust. ‘Keep Doing Good’ is part of the National Citizen Service’s (NCS) ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’, a wider pledge to enable teens to take an active role in helping the country recover post COVID-19.

Due to having additional needs, Harry was very shy, reluctant to take part in group activities and talk in front of group as he was worried he would not be accepted.

Harry said:

“At the start I didn’t want to go on the programme as I find it difficult to meet and talk to new people. I was also worried they may treat me differently due to my learning disabilities. On my first day, I worked with another participant who was really kind by helping me with my writing and giving me time to process the task and express my thoughts as getting my words out can be difficult sometimes.

In his first week, Harry took part in a variety of workshops including CV writing, interview skills and even got involved in a public speaking session. These workshops gave Harry the confidence to communicate more freely and express his views. These new skills were important as he put himself forward as the lead role for a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch about their social action project which was to show their appreciation for key workers.

This was a virtual pitch to the ‘Dragons’ which included MK Dons Sports & Education Trust CEO, MK Dons Head of IT and MK Dons Head of HR. As lead, Harry created his own script and was an important part of developing the PowerPoint presentation. The pitch concluded with a number of difficult questions asked by the ‘Dragons’ which Harry was always first to answer, giving clear and precise responses about his teams project.

This was to the delight of Harrys Mum, Kelly Day, who said:

“Harry’s confidence increased and anxiety decreased…he loved every minute. Since taking part Harry has confidently told many people about the project and his time on ‘Keep Doing Good’. He has shown everyone the artwork he has created and has an increased self-worth thanks to this.”

As part of his team’s social action projects, Harry played a key role in an art and coffee morning which the group held to raise money for the NHS and to say thank you for the hard work and dedication shown throughout the pandemic. Following his new found confidence, Harry decided he wanted to be at the door to welcome the guests to the coffee morning.

Harry also volunteered with SOFEA, a local charity that supports vulnerable people with food and education. Whilst volunteering with them, Harry helped create food boxes that will be sent to vulnerable people self-isolating.  Harry enjoyed this so much he has spoken to the Manager of SOFEA and asked to continue volunteering with them in his spare time.

Reflecting on his time on NCS ‘Keep Doing Good’, Harry said:

“I now feel more positive to start college as I am now more confident. I have learnt how to express myself clearly and ask for help without being worried of being judged”

To find out more about ‘Keep Doing Good’ visit https://wearencs.com/keep-doing-good

Homelessness: A POWERFUL MESSAGE FROM TEENS IN SHEFFIELD

Teenagers from Sheffield have spent part of their summer tackling their local issue of homelessness.

The group of nine young people, aged 16-17, have recently completed the ‘Keep Doing Good’  programme with Sheffield United Community Foundation (SUCF). The programme is part of the National Citizen Service’s (NCS) ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’, a wider pledge to enable teens to take an active role in helping the country recover post COVID-19.

Having learned of a tragic fire at premises of local homelessness charity the Cathedral Archer Project and the wider issue of homelessness, the group was passionate about supporting the charity, and they wanted to do what they could to help.

Sherin, 16, explains what they wanted to achieve through their project,

“We want to help give the public a better understanding of what it is like to be homeless and to be more empathetic towards homeless people”

The team set to work by creating eye-catching and powerful messages on pieces of cardboard which included ‘This could be you’ and ‘Lonely’. They then looked to raise awareness by visiting popular iconic places within the city of Sheffield and taking photos of them with their signs and then shared throughout social media.

Sherin Continued

We wanted the legacy of our project to raise awareness of Cathedral Archer Project as well as educating people on the reasons behind homelessness, in most cases it isn’t about no education or excessive use of drink and drugs”

Emily from the Cathedral Archer Project was delighted to have young people’s support,

“Raising awareness of homelessness is just as important to us, at the Cathedral Archer Project, as supporting people who find themselves homeless. The group of young people who got involved creating artwork and signs were amazing at spreading the word throughout Sheffield. Thank you for getting involved and for the amazing work raising awareness.” 

Sheffield United Community Foundation (SUCF) are part of a network of local organisations delivering NCS ‘Keep Doing Good. So far young people taking part with SUCF have delivered 1,290 voluntary hours to make a positive impact in their community.

Reflecting on her experience on Keep Doing Good and social action project, Sherin said,

“This has been a once in a lifetime experience. I have really enjoyed taking part in ‘Keep Doing Good’ and looked forward to each day. It has got me out of the house and allowed me to give back to the community”

To find out more about Keep Doing Good, visit https://wearencs.com/keep-doing-good

Pen Pal Scheme launched by Young People has help Tackle Isolation & Loneliness

One call can change a life.” Having heard the uncomfortable statistics about loneliness in their community, a group of young people made it their mission to help connect with elderly people. Over 359 calls and 2,100 minutes later, their new pen pal scheme was a huge success.

The group of young people, aged 16-17, have recently completed the ‘Keep Doing Good’ programme with Shrewsbury Town in the Community (STITC). The programme is part of the National Citizen Service’s (NCS) ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’, a wider pledge to enable teens to take an active role in helping the country recover post COVID-19.

Statistics from Age UK suggest that 17 percent of older people in the UK are in contact with family, friends or neighbours less than once a week, and 11 percent in contact less than once a month.), Shrewsbury Town are part of 32 EFL Club Community Organisations who are tackling loneliness among older people, thanks to a grant of £810,000 from the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS). Loneliness has been highlighted as a particular problem around Shrewsbury with Age UK for Shropshire estimating that 10,000 older people in the county are feeling “deeply lonely.” When the young people heard about the shocking loneliness statistic, they wanted to do something to help.

As part of the two week programme the young people also successfully organised and launched a new Pen Pal scheme, aiming to connect older adults in their community by have a chat, checking on their wellbeing and offering a helping hand.

 “Being at home throughout lockdown has been hard but I can’t imagine what it’s been like for those who are alone! I’ve really enjoyed being part of a team, tackling loneliness and making a difference” said Jenson, 16, who has been delighted to make a difference to people lives.

To support the group’s new pen pal scheme, Tesco Mobile donated 20 phones with credit so that they could start contacting elderly people, and eventually they could be passed onto those receiving the callsso they can use them to stay connected.  Within five days, the pen pal scheme had 20 registered and the young people sent postcards, stamps, newsletters and free café vouchers to get them started.

Before making the calls, the young people received training from STITC’s Health Activator to ensure they were able to connect with individuals over the phone and gain the confidence to engage in conversations.

Jensen continued,

“It’s been really good to get out and do something! I’ve spoken to over 40 people and they’ve all welcomed my calls, with some I was on the phone for over 20 minutes!

I’ve also improved my confidence in talking to someone over the phone, while getting those in need of support back in to the community, I’m so pleased I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer and make a difference”

Anna, the NCS Coordinator at STITC is ecstatic at the achievement of the young people. She said:

“It’s absolutely amazing to see our young people dedicating their time to do something so amazing for those who are facing being alone day in and day out.

The calls our young people are making are the life line that some of these people need. One of the ladies that we phoned was so thankful as she hadn’t spoken to someone for over 2 weeks and expressed how these calls are reassuring that someone is thinking about them during these times of uncertainty”

In total, 756 collective hours have been volunteered by the Shrewsbury NCS participants to help tackle isolation and loneliness in their local area and up-skill themselves with workshops such as CV writing, interview skills and public speaking.

 

 

Crawley Town “Maskateers”

8 teenagers from Crawley  have done their bit to stop the spread of COVID-19 with their ‘Maskateers’ Project, an innovative project that aims to get young people wearing a mask in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.  The young people involved have spent their free time making and distributing face-masks. This innovative project aims to get young people wearing masks in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Read more

Young People Help Community Facility Open For Local Residents

Teenagers taking part National Citizen Service (NCS) ‘Keep Doing Good’ with Bristol City Robins Foundation are implementing their very own social action project to benefit people of all ages in the community. Read more

Pompey Teens Tackle Loneliness as they ‘Keep Doing Good’

After weeks of isolation due to the global pandemic many people, particularly the elderly, are falling prey to loneliness.

Young people from Portsmouth were keen to help tackle this issue by making sure people in their community had not been forgotten.

A group of 11 teenagers have taken part in ‘Keep Doing Good’ with Pompey in the Community. The programme is part of the National Citizen Service’s (NCS) ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’, a wider pledge to enable teens to take an active role in helping the country recover post COVID-19.

Following a week of community exploration and understanding the issues in their local community better, the group set their sights on supporting elderly people in their community.

Sarah Musson, 16, from Portsmouth said;

“The team realised the importance of helping elderly people and the issues of isolation. We wanted to make sure that people were not being forgotten and are supported during this time.”

Partnering with the EFL Trust’s ‘Tackling Loneliness Together Project’ at Pompey in the Community, the team got to work preparing care packages. Thanks to a grant of £810,000 from the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), Pompey are part of 32 EFL Club Community Organisations who are tackling loneliness among older people.

The team put an appeal on social media as well as contacting local Supermarkets and managed to procure hand sanitiser, chocolates, puzzle and Sudoku magazines, tissues, hand cream and books. The team also put together ‘Happy letters’ to include in the packages, as well as a COVID-19 guide to help them with all key information they now needed to know.

Marilyn Bishop was lucky enough to receive one of the care packages and she was desperate to share her thanks with the young people. The video shows a young person reading out the letter sent by Marilyn and captures the moment she met the young people.

 Here is what she said:

“We just want to thank you so much for our care packages, it was such a surprise and very much appreciated – not just for the lovely, generous contents but for the way in which they were presented, so much care. The ‘icing on the cake’ was the letters that you included – so very thoughtful and caring. Meeting you albeit briefly was a pleasure. You are all a credit to your school and the NCS and Pompey in the Community which is run brilliantly.”

This summer, thousands of young people through Keep Doing Good will be tackling Loneliness in their local community by picking up the phone to them sending them letter or care package like this group from Portsmouth.

Sarah, 16, has reflected on her time Keep Doing Good, saying;

“Keep Doing Good has been one of the best experiences of my life. Seeing the impact I’ve had on other people and seeing how big of an impact it has made on me as a person has really changed the way I see myself and the world. It’s been the best 2 weeks of my life and has made a significant impact on me as well as helping those in need in the community.”

TACKLING LONELINESS TOGETHER:

How Football Clubs are bringing people together and connecting older people at risk of loneliness

This week 32 football clubs launched the ‘Tackling Loneliness Together’ project which is aimed at connecting older people at risk of loneliness.

A recent study from the Office National Statistics (ONS) showed that 2.6 million adults reported that they felt lonely ”often” or ”always” whilst 7.4 million adults reported their well-being had been affected through them having felt lonely in the past seven days.

COVID-19 and the lock down restrictions brought loneliness in to sharp focus. In these troubled times Football Clubs across the country stepped up to provide a vital life line for people that were or could have been affected by loneliness. Over 120,000 phone calls were made, food and prescriptions were delivered, conversations were held at garden gates activities such as quizzes and coffee morning were held online and when people couldn’t access the internet they were loaned tablets.

Many people like Roger, who is a season ticket holder at Plymouth Argyle, benefited from the support that has been offered by his club. As we went into lockdown he unexpectedly lost his wife and faced isolation on his own. Argyle Community Trust have supported him with regular calls and doorstep visits. Roger, aged 80, said: “Losing my wife was a terrible time and facing isolation alone was something I was dreading, however the support that I have received from Argyle Community Trust and the Club has been fantastic and has helped me feel less lonely and got through the darker days.”

Now thanks to a grant of £810,000 from the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS), 32 EFL Club Community Organisations in locations considered to be deprived will continue and expand this work.

The new grants will allow for expanded activities across the country under the campaign ‘Let’s Tackle Loneliness Together’. As well as the befriending phone calls, online social groups and pen-pal schemes that started during the COVID 19 restrictions, Football Clubs will be doing much more to tackle loneliness.

Many CCOs are involving young people of their NCS programme as a way to connect the generations and make a lasting impact across the generations.

Derby County have a volunteer chef and have filmed 6 cooking sessions aimed at males who live alone or are living with partners who are no longer able to cook. The Rams are working with Coop on this initiative, who organise the ingredients for their staff and volunteers to collect and deliver to individuals.

Club Doncaster Foundation, Doncaster Rovers charity have launched an online community, called Home Goals, which has given local people a platform to communicate safely, as they learn new exercises and activities. Over 700 people, all of which are people who live in and around the Doncaster area, were encouraged to do one form of exercise each day during the month of July, and to share their experiences and feelings with other members of the group.

Middlesbrough FC Foundation are clearing an overgrown garden that will be used to create a safe distanced space for residents to meet. This month young people from Boro’s NCS groups are going to carry out more work in the garden to sow new flowers and plants. The Foundation is also working to bring together a gardening group of local people to maintain the area.

The EFL Trust will also be one of a number of charities and business across the UK who will join the government’s Tackling Loneliness Network, leading the charge against Loneliness. The group will explore ways to bring people together to build strong community spirit, with a focus on groups at particular risk of loneliness, and will work to continue these initiatives in the future

Click here for more details and a list of all the clubs involved 

Young People Provide Respite For Local Community

A community space can once again provide a vital respite for people with mental health challenges thanks to a group of young people.

18 young people, aged 15-17, from Wakefield have transformed a local allotment area which supports people who are experiencing problems with their mental health.

The group completed a two-week programme with Wakefield Trinity called ‘Keep Doing Good’. The programme is part of the National Citizen Service’s (NCS) ‘One Million Hours of Doing Good’, a wider pledge to enable up to one million hours of teens taking an active role in helping the country recover post Covid-19. In their final week, the group pulled up their sleeves and volunteered at Appletree Allotments in Wakefield.

This week is ‘National Allotments Week’ and the benefits of an allotment go much further than growing fresh produce – the outdoors and interaction with nature has proven benefits for mental health. Appletree Allotments is a community space, and is a referral place for people with mental health issues or who are suffering from loneliness. Once there, they receive 1-to-1 support sessions, meet new people and talk about their mental health.

The allotment relies on volunteers, but due to COVID-19 there have been fewer people able to help out and so it has become overgrown. The group of young people have worked hard to transform the allotment so it is a safe and happy place for people to visit once again.

Keaven, 16, one of the volunteers is delighted at what the team has done. He said;

“It’s been really nice to give something back to the community, especially to those that need it most. It’s been fun to volunteer at the allotment – we’ve been painting, weeding and even met the chickens! The people who work at Appletree are so nice and they’ve taught us loads.”

“It’s good to get some volunteering experience in a really friendly environment, especially after being home for so long!”

 

Bridget Hill, Charity Manager at Spectrum People who manage Appletree allotments said;

“What a difference a few days make and lots of wonderful NCS volunteer hours. We are so pleased to welcome this amazing group as their helping hands to Appletree which needed a lot of TLC. The individuals Spectrum People supports will really enjoy this space once they come back after lockdown.”

Thousands of young people in Yorkshire and The Humber, like this group of young people, are due to take part in ‘Keep Doing Good’ in August with EFL Trust (official Charity Arm of the English Football League) and other local organisations. During their time on the programme, young people will develop themselves and make a positive impact on the community through a social action project volunteering their time supporting local issues in their community.

For more information on ‘Keep Doing Good’ click here.

Football Tackles Loneliness

Greenwich Council Leader visits Charlton Athletic’s Summer Programme for Vulnerable Young People

The leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Cllr Danny Thorpe, visited a targeted summer camp which gives 8 to 16-year-olds from the Borough a week of educational and sporting activities.

Participants on the Young Greenwich Summer Camp are provided with a healthy breakfast and lunch as part of the programme, as well as being given the opportunity to learn new skills and make friends.

CACT has launched a fundraising campaign to raise a final £10,000 towards the Summer Camp programme.

13-year-old Samuel, who attended the first week of the Young Greenwich Summer Camp, said:

“Being bored at home alone, there’s nothing to do. No one to socialise with, no friends.”

Natalia, 14, described lockdown as “difficult”.

The programme was set up to ensure vulnerable young people from the Borough have an enjoyable summer after months of lockdown.

“What I enjoyed about the summer camp is being around people again. It’s just so nice to get that familiarity back, to be around people my age who I can talk to,” Natalia explained.

Cllr Thorpe visited the camp on Thursday 6th August alongside Cllr Matt Morrow, the Royal Borough of Greenwich Cabinet Member for Children & Young People.

As part of their visit, Cllr Thorpe and Cllr Morrow visited The Valley, meeting catering staff from Gather & Gather, which is providing healthy meals for young people on the programme pro bono.

They also met young people and staff at one of the programme’s three venues, John Roan School in Greenwich.

460 unique attendees are taking part in the programme across four weeks.

Samuel said:

“I’ve particularly enjoyed the education and all the sports. Claire and Paul from CACT would be the ones who have made a difference because on Monday I came here and I was very angry… but I got to learn that it’s alright to get angry and that I was able to control myself.”

Jeannette Harrison, CACT’s Head of Youth Service, said:

“We know lockdown has been hardest for children living in disadvantage. We’re grateful to all partners – and Eltham Hill and John Roan School – who make what we can offer possible. All donations to the project will help give them positive memories from summer 2020.”

Supporters can donate to the Young Greenwich Summer Camp here.