Around 400 young people and their guests packed the Citygate Church in Bournemouth for the latest NCS (National Citizen Service) graduation event led by BCHA.
The 15-17 year olds all successfully completed the government’s youth empowerment programme, during which they improved their communication skills, boosted their confidence and volunteered hours to social action projects estimated to be worth £93,000.
Bournemouth-based charity organisation BCHA, which has been helping homeless and vulnerable people for 50 years, is the largest provider of the NCS in the Poole and Bournemouth area.
Anna Garrett, NCS project worker at BCHA, said “NCS aims to build skills that will make participants stand out to employers and universities, and the graduation is always a joyous occasion providing a great opportunity to share experiences and achievements in what has been for most, a life-shaping experience.”
NCS begins with a residential course, followed by workshops to develop essential and practical life skills, and finally, involvement in a social action project they feel passionate about.
Anna continued: “During July and August we took 399 youngsters to the Isle of Wight where they stayed in tepees and took part in challenging activities such as mountain boarding, coasteering, paintballing, quad biking, paddle boarding and rock climbing.
“This part of the programme takes many of them out completely out of their comfort zone and as well as developing team building skills is a great boost to their self-confidence.”
The young people went on to raise the money for and complete 36 social action projects, including redesigning a garden at a domestic abuse refuge, supporting cancer patients alongside Wessex Cancer Trust, and transforming an unloved, box room at the Cherry Tree Nursery horticultural project into a relaxing, comforting space for service users.
NCS courses run in the summer and autumn and BCHA is encouraging teens and potential team leaders to sign up for the next course starting in October.
All NCS participants receive a First Aid at Work certificate, 30 hours Volunteer Certificate and a Unique NCS Graduate certificate signed by the Prime Minister Theresa May.
BCHA would also like to hear from social action projects which would benefit from NCS help.
You can also email BCHA directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 01202 410550, where project leaders will be happy to answer questions.