[T]oday (2nd of July), the first wave of young people from Barrow and Carlisle left the comfort of their homes and families to set off on a once-in-a-lifetime journey with National Citizen Service (NCS).
Over 100 young people made their way to Howtown and Ullswater Outward Bound Centres where they will be pushed out of their comfort zones, engaging in outdoor activities and developing their confidence and team leader skills.
The first wave from West Cumbria began the programme last week and the first wave from Kendal and North Lancashire will set out on the 9th of July.
NCS is run in England and Northern Ireland, by the NCS Trust. Inspira manages the programme in Cumbria and Lancashire with a series of delivery partners on behalf of the Trust.
“Inspira has been involved with NCS from the inception of the programme in 2009,” said Dave Todd, NCS Contract Manager for Inspira. “Over the years the numbers have grown significantly, and this year we are taking out over 4000 young people from Cumbria and Lancashire. It is a huge logistical operation but so rewarding when you see the young peoples’ experiences first hand.”
NCS is a four-week programme, which comprises a week in an outdoor setting, a week getting a taste of independent living in a uni-style environment where they develop life skills like confidence, leadership and communication to boost their CV or UCAS personal statement. Following that, the young people are ready to make a difference in their local community by planning then delivering their own social action project.
Last year, social action projects have included rising awareness and money for mental health, homelessness and foodbanks.
To date, NCS graduates have dedicated nearly 12 million hours of community action. Each programme includes 30 hours dedicated to a community project, with participants planning and delivering a social action project that gives something back to their community. Independent research has found that after completing NCS participants say they feel more equipped to tackle problems in their community, and more able to have an impact on the world around them.
From 2000 to 2015, data from the Office for National Statistics showed that 16–25 year olds went from being the least likely group to volunteer to the most likely – and the same findings mentioned NCS as a possible reason behind this change.