18 Year Old Katie Helps Support 70 Vulnerable Households

“Everyone should come together in times of need and work together as a team.” says Katie McDougall who has been volunteering with Preston North End ‘Helping Hampers’ Campaign, she continues, “As a young person, I’ve got lots of time on my hands and if I can volunteer my services, I will. If I can help others, put a smile on their face and get them through this hardship, then obviously it makes me feel good as well!”   

Katie, aged 18, joined Preston North End Community and Education Trust (PNECET) to volunteer for their ‘Helping Hampers’ Campaign. The campaign supports the most vulnerable people in the community of Preston with hampers of essential food and provisions.  So far she has helped provide 70 vulnerable household with essential provision to help get them through this difficult period.

Katie first came in to contact PNECET when she did NCS in 2019 and that is how she found out about the opportunity to volunteer for the ‘Helping Hampers’ campaign. NCS is a youth programme designed for 16-17 year olds that runs every summer and autumn. The experience is all about empowering young people, to help develop their skills that will set them up for life after school. On NCS, participants live away from home and get a taste of independence as well as positively impacting their local community through a social action project.

Katie said: I heard about this [PNECET Helping Hampers] because I’ve taken part in NCS. My family are quite involved with Preston [North End], follow them on Facebook, and saw that the Community and Education Trust are doing this really good scheme making hampers for vulnerable people.”

Katie is a student at Newman College and should have been doing her exams. Instead, she’s at home still studying but with plenty of time on her hands and so volunteered a few hours each week to help put together over 70 hampers together for vulnerable people within Preston.

Christine Latus is Preston North End season ticket holder and was a recipient of a PNECET Helping Hamper, she said;

“It’s absolutely wonderful, it’s a real surprise – I didn’t expect anything like this at all, but it’s really helpful and it’s lovely to think that the club are thinking about the supporters in these strange times. We obviously can’t go to matches or anything, so it’s really, really kind, I really appreciate it.”

NCS have recently launched ‘Keep Doing Good’ to help young people take an active role in the recovery of the country after COVID-19.

As part of Katie’s time on NCS she delivered a social action project that had a positive impact on the community. After her volunteering with PNECET Katie is keen to do more volunteering to support the community.

Katie said “It’s been great to help out and support the local community of Preston. I want to continue doing that and look forward to volunteering more in the community. I would encourage other young people my age to take up volunteering, it’s really rewarding and a good use of time”

Preston North End Community and Education Trust Community Partnerships Manager Rebecca Robertson said: “Katie has been a valued volunteer on our PNECET Helping Hampers campaign. She has spent time in our offices at Deepdale helping with making the boxes for our hampers and packing them with food, toiletries and other engaging materials for the vulnerable members of our community.

“It has been great to see one of our NCS graduates getting involved with our community initiatives during this difficult time and we’re looking forward to working with Katie more on the NCS Keep Doing Good project, as we’re sure she can continue making a real impact in our community!”

If you are 15-17 and want to support your local community volunteering then sign up to ‘Keep Doing Good’ and help get your local community back on its feet after. 

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Teens from Hull look to break the stigma

In Hull, 15 teenagers that have recently taken part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme with Tigers Trust have raised enough money to support 72 people that suffer with mental health.

As part of NCS, a flagship youth programme aimed at 15-17 year olds, participants deliver a social action project that will have a positive impact on their local community.

Due to personal reasons and recognising a national issue, the group of teens from Hull chose to support Mind, a national mental health charity that was recently announced as EFL’s (English Football League) new charity partner.

In the space of a week, the group wanted to raise funds and awareness of mental health. Their week started off with a bucket collection at local shopping centre St Stephens which was also an opportunity to raise awareness of Mind. The group then did a sponsored walk over the Humber Bridge which was chosen as a result of the high suicide rate on the bridge.

In total, the group raised an amazing £720 which will support 72 people in Hull with group support. As a momentum of their week, the group presented Mind with a mural which now sits in the headquarters of the charities offices.

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Jasmine Russell, who was a member of the group from Hull, commented on their choice of charity: “We chose Mind due to mental health being very close to many people’s hearts within our group.

“Many of us either suffer from a mental health issue or know someone who does. The aim of our project was to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health as well as raising money through the sponsored walk across the Humber Bridge and the bucket collection in St Stephens.”

Keegan Hoyle, another member of the group, was delighted to be able to support Mind: “I think Mind is a great charity as they offer a wide range of help and advice for people that suffer from mental health which is becoming such a prominent issue in today’s society.”

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The group’s hard work was recognised by David Smith, Chief Executive of Mind Hull and East Yorkshire, who wrote a letter of thanks to the youngsters, commending their work in the space of a week.

Thousands of teenagers from Yorkshire and Humber will be taking part in NCS this summer through EFL Trust and will be having a positive impact on their local community.

For further information about NCS visit www.ncsyes.co.uk.

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EFL Footballers take on NCS Grads

Over the next 2 months, footballers from the EFL will be going toe-to-toe with NCS Graduates to take on the YES/NO game and find out more about NCS.

NCS (National Citizen Service) is a flagship government initiative that has provided 400,000 young people aged 16-17 the chance to take on new challenges, experience exciting activities, make long-lasting friendships and develop vital skills that will support them later in life.

The first footballer in the firing line is Rotherham United defender Ben Purrington who met Casey Holmes, a current member of EFL Trust’s Regional Youth board, and NCS Graduate from Rotherham.

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Ben said: “It’s been a pleasure to meet Casey and learn more about NCS and her experience. The opportunities that NCS and Rotherham United offer are great for young people and I urge more to get involved.”

Talking about the YES/NO game, Ben continued: “It’s a lot harder than you think, but it was great fun and I did okay!”

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The EFL Trust have been delivering the NCS programme since its pilot year in 2011 and now have a network of over 40,000 graduates. Using the power of football, EFL Trust are in a unique position to publicise the work that NCS are doing during the programme and after. Last year, the social media campaign #NCSMatchDay reached over three million people.

On 15th March, NCS Graduate and now professional footballer Louis Jones at Doncaster Rovers will take on fellow NCS Graduate Holly Dennis. To keep up to date, follow #SayYestoNCS.

To get £15* off NCS this Summer, click here.