“The impact of this programme is so huge it is almost unmeasurable”

These were the words of Hayley Barclay from Club Doncaster Foundation who recently took students from Harrison College in Doncaster on the NCS programme. Read more

Young people host refugee event at Loftus Road

A group of young people on NCS, launched a project this summer to provide some cheer for refugees raising £285. The young people, who were with QPR Community Trust, had the opportunity to make a positive difference within their community through their NCS experience.

NCS is designed for 16–17-year-olds and during their experience they are given a taste of independence, as they mix with new people, taking on exciting challenges and also working on projects to benefit their local communities.

The young people ran an event for a group of local refugees, which was held at QPR’s Loftus Road Stadium. One of the group members, Mohammed, was a refugee himself and was passionate about supporting other refugees within the community. The group felt inspired by Mohammed’s story and so got to work on a project.

The group contacted refugee charity ‘Care for Calais’ and discussed their idea of hosting an event at QPR, involving tours and fun activities for the refugees. On the day of the event at Loftus Road, over 40 people attended and were enthused by the passion shown by the young people, in attempting to provide some cheer.

Families and young children has an evening of fun games, activities and were also shown around Loftus Road. Due to the success of the evening, the group, alongside QPR and ‘Care for Calais’ are now lookign to arrange further events to engage more refugees in the local area.

Mohammed talked to us about the project:

“We needed to help the community, to try to understand how to help people and to make a better society. It was really wonderful and enjoyable to organise the event at Loftus Road, because we made other people happy.

“I enjoyed meeting new people and their children, communicating with them and put smiles on their faces.

Mohammed has felt the positive impact his NCS experience has had upon him whilst working on his refugee social action project at QPR:

“NCS was the best experience I ever had, it was such a great time to meet new friends, to do so many activities and to learn so much. NCS has helped me improve my own skills, such as communication and it has shown me how to talk confidently. I would love to do NCS all over again.”

Not stopping there, the young people launched a Go Fund Me page, raising £285. The money raised was used to provide goodie bags to give out to each refugee attending, containing toys, games, QPR merchandise, food and drinks.

Savannah Pacey was one of the young people involved within the project, she had this to say;

“This was such a rewarding experience for us. We were able to spend an evening with a group of people who we wouldn’t normally have contact with. To hear their stories and see the smiles on the children’s faces was just incredible.

“It has been such an incredible experience. I’ve loved every minute, from the activities in the first week, to the social action project it has just been so rewarding. On top of that I’ve made some great friends too!

“I feel more confident now to go out in the world and challenge myself!”

Click here to find out more about NCS.

Award Winning young people from Bradford gain recognition from Parliament for project on unwanted sexual behaviour

A group of NCS Changemakers with Bradford City Community Foundation launched a project which aimed at spreading awareness of the need to report unwanted sexual behaviour on British Railways.

The project was a part of a competition pitched by Northern Trains Ltd (NTL), that tasked young people to develop a video campaign that would create awareness of unwanted sexual behaviour on trains and how to report this to the transport police.

From multiple entrants, Bradford’s NCS Changemakers came out on top as they created an impactful campaign, featuring an innovative, yet informative video on the need to report unwanted sexual behaviour on public transport and the ways you can report it to the British Transport Police.

The video and the topic it addresses has been transformational in the rail industry, clearly demonstrating the outstanding contribution young people can make to a range of issues with the right support guidance and support, thus making a positive contribution to communities across the North.

Within the industry and Train Operating Companies, this work by young people has gained universal acclaim across the Rail Industry and was shortlisted at the Women in Rail Awards 2022. Bradford City Community Foundation was the only non-railway organisation who were invited to attend these awards.

The project gained recognition from MPs such as Lisa Nandy, the Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up and Caroline Nokes MP – Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee . The UK Parliament Education and Engagement Team invited NTL Richard Isaac Community Manager, Lorna McEwan Chief Inspector Manchester District BTP and 20 young people involved in the project from across the North to present to MPs in the Palace of Westminster.

This gave young people the opportunity to share with MPs such as Holly Lynch MP – Shadow Minister (Home Office) and Hilary Benn MP on why this challenging topic was so important. Additionally, highlighting the importance of understanding the issues affecting young people, allowing them to be part of the debate leading to the development of positive actions and solutions.

We talked to Shamza, who was one of the NCS Changemakers to present the campaign at Parliament:

“The NCS/Northern Rail partnership made it possible to make an anti-sexual harassment video to educate people about trains and to be aware of the potential harm that could occur to them. The video we created has made me aware of different ways people can harass you on trains without noticing, such as up-skirting.  It has been a real eye-opener this project for me personally and we hope this video will give people the confidence to take the train and know what to do if any unwanted sexual behaviour happens.”

“Seeing this project come to life was amazing, the Bradford NCS Change makers have put so much hard work in making the final video by working as a team, being part of the project has been such a huge opportunity. The project is tackling and educating people about an issue which females all around the country are experiencing. Sexual harassment is a massive topic, and it makes me proud to be bringing out the message to make everyone feel safe and heard on and off trains.”

Richard Isaac, Regional Community and Sustainability Manager at Northern Rail is thankful to the young people for their work to tackle this challenging issue on trains. He commented;

“Young people across the North took up the challenge to raise awareness that unwanted sexual behaviour (USB) of any kind is unacceptable and must be reported to the British Transport Police. USB is challenging topic to discuss and something many people would rather not talk about. Supported by NCS youth workers, young people took on the challenge of creating something that would tackle this challenging issue head.

What NCS Changemakers have delivered is a tool to raise awareness of USB and the need for reporting created by young people aimed at young people. Our aim at Northern is to use this resource to engage with young people across the North to raise that awareness.”

Dominik Stingas Paczko, Head of NCS at EFL Trust, who attended the event at Parliament said the following:

“It was fantastic to see the amazing work of our NCS participants being recognised and celebrated in Westminster. Their social action project very much highlighted and helped to tackle a very real issue that affects the national railways, and we hope their videos go a long way to help encourage young people back on to public transport as part of the nation’s recovery from Covid. There is growing evidence that giving young people to confidence and ability to use public transport can have a significant positive impact on their futures and we thank Northern for their continued support for our EFL Trust led NCS programmes.”

To find out more about NCS, click here.

Going the extra mile: Young people in Sheffield complete 7-mile walk, raising money for a Cancer Charity

A group of determined young people recently embarked upon a 7-mile sponsored walk, raising £185.40 towards Cavendish Cancer Care.

The inspiring young group comprised of NCS Changemakers with Sheffield United Community Foundation, who embarked upon a mission to raise money to support cancer patients and families who have undergone such challenging times.

NCS Changemakers compromise of 25 NCS graduates, who meet up regularly to make a real, positive impact in the community. As part of Changemakers, the young people launch a social action project, with the intention of positively impacting their community.

For their project, the young group felt personally motivated to raise money, as members of the group themselves have known people close to them, who have been affected by cancer.

Thus, the young people decided to embark upon a 7-mile sponsored walk and raise £185.50 for Cavendish Cancer Care. The group also thought the walk would benefit themselves, as it would provide a good break from exam-related stress they were experiencing.

Cavendish Cancer Care had this to say about the project:

“The support that we get from organisations like Sheffield United Community Foundation’s NCS Changemakers makes all the difference to our charity. £185.40 will help to provide 6 sessions of therapy and support for people facing cancer. As a charity, we are heavily reliant on the generosity of others to keep our centre open, and it was great to see these young people taking the time and effort on Saturday to walk between Sheffield and Rotherham in aid of us.”

Additionally, the young people encouraged that it would provide a good opportunity of reflection for all the group, in sharing their own personal experiences of how cancer has affected them.

Fern and Alex were some of the young Changemakers involved and commented on their motivations to undertake the project.

Fern:

“A close school friend of mine died from cancer last year. He received fantastic care from charities and hospitals. I would wish anyone with cancer to receive the same loving care.”

Alex:

“I have not lost anyone in my life because of cancer but I think that what Cavendish Cancer Care do as a charity for those who are affected by cancer is brilliant! The sponsored walk was worth every step for the charity, and it was also enjoyable to get to spend time with the other young people.”

To find out more about NCS, please click here.

Determined Hull Teens do their bit for the Environment

A group of young people from Hull City FC’s Tigers Trust, completed a beach clean-up at Bridlington Beach last week, as they embarked upon their mission to improving their local environment.

The inspiring group are part of the Tiger’s Trust NCS Changemakers programme. NCS is the ultimate experience for young people aged 16-17, in which they are given the opportunity to make new friends, develop new skills and create new memories. NCS Changemakers, compromise of 25 NCS graduates, who meet up regularly to make a real, positive impact in the community.

The group banded together for their #NCSActionDay project, with the intention of leaving an environmental impact, by reducing the amount of rubbish and waste from the beaches on the East Coast of England. The young group also used their tech-savvy skills, as they used social media to promote the reduction of litter, emphasising the point to others of taking care of the environment.

The team were motivated from the onset, in sending a message and leaving a positive environmental impact, as they felt that there was a large amount of litter within their community and decided to take action. The action was decided after performing a brainstorming and mind-mapping exercise, giving the group some ideas on what they wanted to do, leading towards the beach clean-up.

Brooke and Jazz, were some of the inspiring NCS Changemakers involved within the project, and both had this to say:

Brooke, – “The beach clean-up felt very rewarding to me because going round the beach and cleaning up the litter and garbage for the people and the animals made us feel better because we were helping with the environment. This made me feel better knowing there was a much smaller amount of rubbish on the beach now, than when we started.”

Jazz, – “By having an input and making the environment a safer and cleaner place for the locals and tourists, the smallest of inputs can make someone’s day. I’m proud to say I was a part of this project.”

The group were also joined by Dominik Stingas Paczko, Head of NCS at EFL Trust, who also joined in their efforts of leaving an environmental impact during their clean-up of Bridlington Beach.

NCS Officer of Tigers Trust, Elliott Greenfield, said he was proud of the difference the Changemakers group were able to make at Bridlington and hopes that it can provide inspiration for other young people to make a difference.

He said:

“It was fantastic to get out in Bridlington to collect some litter and the group managed to collect many bags of litter to help reduce the environmental impact along the East Yorkshire coastline. I am incredibly proud of our young people for coming together and delivering this ace project.

“Thanks to Northern rail for providing the services for us to access Bridlington from Hull, it was a memorable day using your trains and definitely made the journey quicker, easier and more comfortable.”

“Another thank you to Dom, the Head of NCS, for coming along to our social action project and getting involved!”

To find out more about NCS, please click here.

Sadiyah finds her voice on NCS

Sadiyah Desai, 19, is an inspiring young person who overcame the restrictions of her life-long disability, after building her skills and confidence through NCS with Preston North End Community and Education Trust (PNECT).

For most young people, acquiring the confidence to meet new people and push out of their comfort zone, can be a daunting process. Sadiyah Desai, has learning difficulties and severe sight loss, which has seriously lowered her confidence levels throughout her life. However, she owes her newfound confidence to the NCS programme and staff since encountering the opportunity to join NCS with PNECT, Sadiyah embraced the chance and has since seen her life transformed.

Sadiyah initially joined NCS with PNECT during Summer last year. NCS is the ultimate experience for young people aged 16-17, in which they are given the opportunity to make new friends, develop new skills and create new memories. The opportunity was offered to Sadiyah within her college who   encouraged her to get involved.

Sadiyah summarises her time on NCS with PNECT:

 “If it wasn’t for NCS coming into our college it is probably something I never would have had the opportunity to sign up nor would I have signed up for it.”

“NCS helped me gain confidence and impacted my confidence in everyday life or any work that related to college. I can now say that I have achieved something.”

“My time on NCS helped me gain confidence in asking for support and showed me it is not something to be ashamed off this has had a very positive impact on what I can now do at college and even at home. NCS has showed me how much I can achieve and I have achieved.”

As part of the programme, Sadiyah participated in a disability awareness workshop, in which Sadiyah approached NCS team members and spoke up about how her own disability has affected her confidence and self-esteem levels throughout her life.

Sadiyah was encouraged within the programme to speak about topics and areas she was most passionate about to group members. As a devote Muslim, Sadiyah was passionate about her faith and illustrated enlightening items connected to her faith. Sadiyah was motivated to talk to the group further on her religion and about her community.

This is where Sadiyah’s confidence began to come through and for the first time did public speaking.  in which she developed her confidence, presentation and public-speaking skills.

Brad North, NCS Co-ordinator was key in supporting Sadiyah throughout her time on NCS and had this to say:

“Sadiyah transformed from someone who could not speak to her classmates or answer questions in a classroom environment to speaking with confidence to some of the most senior officials connected with both NCS and her college.”

“Her journey is one the NCS team will always be proud of and it continues to motivate the team to deliver NCS in the hope to inspire the next young person.”

During her NCS experience, Sadiyah also greatly enjoyed the number of activities that was provided to her, in particular Zumba, in which she discussed with us about her joy of participating in.

“My favourite NCS activity to do was leading Zumba. Before NCS I never would have had the confidence to lead Zumba. However, NCS allowed me the opportunity to achieve that. I always thought people would laugh at the thought of me doing any type of chorography. With the help of Brad and Jess I started to lead the session and that is an experience I will never forget.”

“I taught myself something that day, that if you think you are good at something, then never be scared of expressing yourself. Leading Zumba is an experience I will never forget and is something I continue to do in class on a regular basis and NCS gave me that opportunity.”

After developing herself in such as short amount of time, Sadiyah felt transformed and motivated to continue in enlightening and helping others in areas that she was passionate about. This led to Sadiyah volunteering to the NCS Changemakers programme at PNECET, in which Sadiyah will be front and centre leading on upcoming Ramadan projects.

More recently, Sadiyah has had the opportunity to speak about her NCS Journey and the impact it has had with key figures which included the Chancellor of the Ducy of Lancaster, Steve Barclay and CEO of NCS, Mark Gifford.

Steve Barclay Minister for the Cabinet Office of the United Kingdom visits Preston North End Community and Education Trust

Sadiyah met Mark at PNE’s annual NCS matchday and was selected by PNECET to be their special guest. She said:

“I really enjoyed it, I was so happy that I was chosen to attend the match day out of all the NCS participants, it just shows you how much I have achieved. The whole experience has made a massive impact on my confidence, everything has gone really well for me since doing NCS.”

“I have changed a lot, I can now confidently submit a good piece of work and it has shown my strengths. The match day highlighted this as it showed me how far I had come.”

The extent of the journey and transformation that Sadiyah has embarked upon has been remarkable, in which  for Sadiyah, who is now equipped with new skills and charisma, is in the perfect position to now progress further and reach her potential.

To find out more about NCS, click here.

Port Vale Foundation have been increasing the confidence of young people with disabilities on the NCS programme

Through NCS with Port Vale Foundation, young people with disabilities at Kemball School have pushed through their comfort zones and acquired new skills and confidence. Young people on NCS were given the exciting opportunity to shadow staff at Port Vale FC, learning key workplace skills and developing their own job application acumen, enabling them to be work ready.

Port Vale Foundation began its collaborative work with Kemball School back in February this year, where NCS Skills Booster sessions were provided to assist the young people in a number of critical key areas such as; developing their own aspirations, gaining independence, acquiring employability and creating successful job application forms.

Throughout their experiences on NCS and with workshops such as, presentation and public speaking skills, the young people started to develop their skills and with it, simultaneously, their confidence.

A teacher from Kemball School had this to say about the programme:

“Pupils at Kemball School have had a difficult time over the last two years due to being unable to get out and about in the community. This being a skill which is vital for their preparation for adulthood skills. We were approached by Port Vale Foundation and were offered the NCS skills booster sessions.

From the first session, the pupils were engaged with the staff and were showing signs of wanting to get out of their comfort zones.”

In addition to the skills booster sessions, Port Vale FC hosted an NCS Takeover day, which was also referred to as ‘A Day in the Life of’. This was an exciting opportunity for the young people to shadow a key member of staff at the football club or foundation for the day, allowing them to gain essential work experience, as well as a peek into the working day lives of the Port Vale staff.

The young people were given exposure to a number of different roles at Port Vale, such as Hospitality, Groundskeeping, Marketing, Media and Operations. For the day, they were tasked on developing applications forms for the highlighted roles, and were to voice why they should be selected to be within that role for the day.

After gaining an insight into the roles they were shadowing, the young people were then thrilled to have been given exclusive access at the stadium, in which they also met Boomer the Port Vale FC mascot.

The young people made magnificent strides within such as short time frame, as they developed their skills and confidence through the sessions. They learnt first-hand on-the-job, the skills and attributes required to be working within the workplace. The young people made a huge impression on staff and have been invited back for more work experience at The Vale.

As a token of gratitude for all fantastic experiences and skills learnt, the young people wrote thank you letters to the staff members that they had shadowed for the day.

Jorgie Wallace, NCS Project Lead at Port Vale Foundation highlighted the day:

“On the day, the young people shone, they came out of their comfort zones and they were fantastic within their job roles. I am really excited that we have begun work with Kemball school and I am looking forward to what we can offer and the opportunities for the young people.

We are really excited for the NCS programme we are delivering to the year 11 cohort in May. Well done everyone!”

Port Vale Foundation have been working meticulously with delivering its NCS programme and impacting young people’s lives for the better within the community. As a part of their mission, Port Vale Foundation partner with 3 local SEND (Special Education Needs school) one of them being Kemball School, with the strong intention of allowing all young people to have equal opportunities and experiences.

To find out more about NCS, click here.

“It wasn’t long before I came back to NCS”

Travelling back to the summer of 2019, Charlie Boulby signed up to NCS, having no set idea on what to expect or what she was going to get out of it. Fast forward almost 3 years later, Charlie discovers new skills, new confidence and a new career on NCS with Sheffield United Community Foundation (SUCF).

NCS is the ultimate experience for young people aged 16-17, in which they are given the opportunity to make new friends, develop new skills and create new memories. Players of Sheffield United will be celebrating the success of young people on NCS as they will be hosting #NCSMatchday when they play Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday.

One of the testaments to SUCF’s successful NCS programme is Charlie. Upon Charlie’s initial first experience on NCS with SUCF, she took part in a social action project, which allowed her to make new friends and develop her own skills.

The Social action project phase of NCS is the conclusion of the programme, in which NCS participants band together as a group to generate ideas to make a positive impact in the community.

For Charlie, her group decided to raise money for a local heart charity. To raise the funds, the group used their innovation and charisma, as they hosted a quiz night, as well as hosting other small fundraising events. Their efforts were rewarded as they raised over £1000 for a charity her group was passionate about.

Charlie summarises her first NCS experience in Summer 2019:

“I did not have a clue what to expect and I ended up having the best summer of my life.”

After experiencing an incredible summer, Charlie didn’t want her NCS journey to end there. She joined SUCF’s NCS Local Youth Board which focused on raising awareness for important causes and supporting local charities within Sheffield. However, due to the pandemic, this opportunity was cut short and she decided it was a good time to focus on her A-Levels.

Once NCS was available to young people again, Charlie was keen to get back involved and applied to be an NCS Team Leader during Summer 2020 with SUCF.

“It wasn’t long before I came back to NCS after I applied to be a team leader for the summer programme. I felt that this was really rewarding as not only did it give me the opportunity to give something back, but it also boosted my confidence massively, especially after coming out of lockdowns.”

“Being a team leader gave me the opportunity to explore a different kind of responsibility that I had never experienced before. Working with young people from different backgrounds, I acquired a great set of social skills which came in handy as I applied for a degree apprenticeship with the police.”

With new skills acquired from her experiences with NCS, Charlie now possessed the right attributes and confidence, which allowed her to progress her passions even further, as she was able to secure a full-time role at SUCF as an NCS Recruitment Coordinator.

“I didn’t make it through the application process with the police, but I wasn’t deterred and most recently I was given the opportunity to work with the Foundation full time.

“Thanks to this, I’m now in a position where I’m learning a whole new set of skills including time management, project organisation and public speaking, all of which are putting me in good stead to get exactly where I want to be in the future.”

NCS staff, like Charlie, play such a crucial role in making young people’s experiences the best they can be. If you are interested in working on NCS this summer to gain new skills and build confidence, please click here

Donny players are set to celebrate the impact 400 young people, including Charlotte and Sophia, have had whilst on NCS.

Today, during Doncaster Rovers fixture against Plymouth Argyle, Doncaster Rovers players will celebrate the impact young people have had whilst on NCS (National Citizen Service).

Each year, EFL Clubs promote NCS and the impact it has had on young people from through a campaign called #NCSMatchday. Club Doncaster works with EFL Trust alongside a network of partners to promote and deliver the NCS programme to teenagers.

Sophia and Charlotte are amongst 400 young people who Club Doncaster Foundation have supported despite the challenging times. The pair met whilst on NCS in Summer 2021 and were given the opportunity to turn their passion of helping people, into action, through the delivery of a social action project.

Designed for 16-17-year-olds, NCS offers an inclusive summer programme that helps young people get the skills, experience and self-belief they need to achieve their potential – and smash their future goals. NCS aims to make a life-changing difference to young people and how they approach life after school.

Sophia and Charlotte, along with their group, volunteered at Bentley Urban Farm (BUF). BUF is an upcycled outdoor space used by community groups from Doncaster. They use reclaimed materials to teach people how to grow food and make art and music, as well as providing a space where people can reconnect with nature.

Sophia’s group decorated the site, adding splashes of colour to this community asset, they hosted an upcycled fashion show to stress the importance of sustainability. Despite being in the absence of volunteers over the past year due to Covid-19, the group restored the site to its former glory through weeding and other gardening tasks.

Sophia discussed with us her experiences on her social action project:

“Whilst at Bentley Urban Farm, we were given the freedom to get creative with the materials available to us. One morning, as we watched the joy on visitors faces as they saw existing artwork on display, Charlotte and I decided we wanted to create something which was not only art but something that was usable as well. With this in mind, we set to work painting an old and tired bench”.

Sophia and Charlotte made a substantial impact, as they incorporated their imaginative minds within the real world through art. Over the next couple of days, Sophia and Charlotte transformed the once tired, rugged-down bench, into a now beautiful landscape.

Not only had Charlotte and Sophia created a wonderful piece of artwork, but they had also achieved their aim in making usable art, which is guaranteed to make people smile for years to come. So much so, that the bench was then relocated to Doncaster Town Centre as part of the ArtBomb exhibition!

When asked about NCS, Sophia stated:

“I signed up to NCS mainly to build confidence, learn new skills and meet new people and throughout the programme I have definitely achieved all of the above and much more! Being able to give back to my local community was also really great”.

“We were thrilled when our bench was displayed as part of the ArtBomb Exhibition and knowing we made people smile with what we created is fantastic. NCS is brilliant regardless of the direction you want to go in, I learnt so many skills and I will benefit from this for years to come”.

Young people from Doncaster and Selby have navigated through Covid-19 lockdowns and restrictions to build skills, confidence and most importantly, give back to their local communities through social action and community partnerships whilst on NCS. In total, young people dedicated over 11,000 hours to social action projects such as social isolation, the environment and helping the disadvantaged.

To find out more about NCS, click here.

Spreading Christmas Cheer: Young People from Oldham provide a helping hand to the elderly

Christmas, is widely known for many as, ‘The most wonderful time of the year’. However, for some, it can be a period of loneliness and isolation. Due to the pandemic, many elderly people have found themselves more isolated than ever, as some are unable to spend time with loved ones at Christmas.  Read more