NCS' (National Citizen Service) Keep Doing Good campaign, delivered in the North West by the Growth Company and a series of delivery partners, offered teens the chance to pledge 16 hours each towards a national total of one million hours of volunteering and social action.
Over the summer teens have got involved with a huge variety of sustainable and meaningful projects. They've cleaned up parks and community gardens, picked up litter on beaches and in woodland, helped charity shops with their post-Covid donations and raised money for local causes across the region.
Spending time doing good with NCS this summer has given young people the chance to make up for lost time and build skills and resilience alongside their peers.
One young person in Manchester said: “It’s been the best thing I’ve done this holiday. I really think others should come and do NCS as it’s been so great; doing new things, meeting new people, learning things about them and about myself.”
What have young people been up to?
- NCS teams in Manchester partnered with the City Council to help clean up urban green spaces in the city centre. An increase in footfall and usage during COVID-19 had left these parks and open spaces in need of some TLC, and young residents were up for the challenge, working to ensure the public can continue to enjoy their precious time spent outdoors.
- Young people in Liverpool reached out to residents at local care homes through pen pal letters, in a bid to tackle social isolation in the community as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- In Rochdale young people have been supporting WHAG (a charity founded in 1981 to offer housing and support to vulnerable homeless women) by planting vegetables, fruits and flowers that the service users can enjoy once they are ripe for picking.
- Teens in Blackpool have been rolling up their sleeves to clean up their local area, including helping local football club AFC Blackpool get their grounds 'match-ready' for the football season.
- Weather didn't dampen the spirts of West Cumbria's NCS teams. They spent a couple of rainy days working on a wildflower meadow at Bankfield Mansion
- Young people in Warrington partnered with Elle for Elle (a charity that supports women in refuges who have been affected by domestic violence) to make up care packages for some of the women in local refuges.
- In Bury, teams of young people partnered with Incredible Edible, a nationwide scheme that makes use of local green spaces and growing patches to bring value to the community. Throughout summer the Keep Doing Good teams have been helping clear up the overgrown areas used as a Forest School, getting them ready for learners to return.
- One NCS team in Blackburn used their digital skills to create an online campaign using social media and video to challenge negative stereotypes associated with young people.
- In Oldham, young people decided to raise awareness of the homelessness affecting their area by recording a podcast. The team wrote to their local MPs about the issue, and Jim McMahon (MP for Oldham West and Royton) joined them virtually to have a discussion and commend the team on their work.
What comes next?
This autumn, the Growth Company will continue to work with NCS to offer programmes and activities for 15 - 17 year olds, directly through their schools and colleges, with additional opportunities for young people to take part during the half term break.
Teens who have taken part in NCS can also access an extensive network of further opportunities, allowing them to continue doing good for their communities. Local Action Groups will be held monthly from September, bringing together engaged and committed young people, linking with youth services, local authorities and charities.
If you'd like further information on NCS and how you can get involved visit wearencs.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.