“I really enjoyed bringing happiness and positivity at such a difficult time.”

A group of teenagers from Blackburn have started a campaign to support supermarket staff during lockdown. The #SOS (Support our supermarkets) was born through Blackburn Rovers Community Trust’s Youth Board, a group of young people that have taken part in the NCS Programme and are passionate about making positive change in the community.

The idea of the campaign was to spread some joy through acts of kindness to the supermarket staff and security. The group recognised the dedication and importance of supermarket staff and so with small gifts and kind messages they hoped to lift their spirits and show their appreciation of their work.

Blackburn’s Youth Board usually meet monthly to catch up and plan their social action projects and ordinarily these were planned face to face at Ewood Park, however the #SOS campaign offered an additional challenge with lockdown. To overcome this the group facilitated Zoom calls to coordinate the campaign and get it up and running.

Shannon McLaughlin, an NCS Graduate and member of Blackburn Rovers’ Youth Board said;

“We chose this project because we felt it greatly impacted the current crisis happening around us and we wanted to do something positive during these difficult times. We couldn’t physically get together so we decided to have a video meeting to discuss what we could do. That is when we decided to create the Support our Supermarkets campaign”

Shannon was delighted with the impact it had and continued saying;

“It was the lady’s face light up I enjoyed the most when I gave them the gift and letter. It was like the worry lifted off their shoulders for a moment and that they felt appreciated. That was the same when other members of the Youth Board surprised supermarket staff with a gift.  I really enjoyed bringing happiness and positivity to such a difficult time”

Blackburn’s Youth Board is made up of 58 members, all graduates of the NCS programme, and have delivered a number of other projects within Blackburn including one that support people that are blind. The Youth Board is managed by Jade Elliot, an NCS Graduate and now full time employer at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust. Jade is extremely proud of the work that the Youth Board has done during these difficult time;

“I am so proud yet again of what our Youth Board at Blackburn Rovers Community Trust have produced. This campaign can leave a legacy and can continue beyond COVID-19. They continue to support people in need through such a difficult and unprecedented time which just shows the type of people they are. It’s a pleasure to work with such amazing young people”

NCS is a youth programme designed for 16-17 year olds that runs every summer and autumn, during school holidays. The experience is all about emboldening young people, by giving them the buzz of being an adult (without all the responsibilities). On NCS, participants live away from home and get a taste of independence. They mix with a new crowd of people and take on exciting challenges together. The experience helps young people to develop new skills that will set them up for life after school.

Due to Covid-19 and government guidance the Summer 2020 programme has been repurposed. As such, NCS Trust have launched a Staying Connected hub. To keep up to date on the repurposed programme or to find out more visit www.wearencs.com.