Youngsters from the Burton Albion Community Trust have completed the summer of a lifetime after finishing their four week stint on the National Citizen Service programme.
The acclaimed programme offers 16-17 year olds the terrific once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help build skills for work and life, whilst taking on new challenges and meeting new friends; with the summer intake now finishing the project.
The young people celebrated the end of the project on Monday night with a Graduation Evening at the Pirelli Stadium; with everybody involved receiving certificates signed by Prime Minister David Cameron.
The youngsters then led the remainder of the evening, speaking about their experiences and recalling the past four weeks with videos and photographs before a light-hearted awards presentation took place to acknowledge the group’s characters!
The NCS initiative all began with participants enjoying a two week residential away from home learning new skills and gaining confidence, whilst also meeting new friends in the process.
In the first week alone there were 19 different activities inside five days; designed to build new skills such as teamwork, communication, confidence, and social interaction.
Based at the YHA National Forest in Moira, Swadlincote, the second residential week was used to carry on the momentum in terms of the team bond and also gave the young people an opportunity to be around their local community, visit local business and key community figures and start to build ideas as to what their social action project would look like.
Throughout all phases of the programme, there was daily guided reflection, where staff and participants would get together and discuss what skills have been acquired through each activity, and how this can help them not only with the remainder of this project, but for their future careers and personal lives.
During Week Two, local MP and Burton Albion supporter Andrew Griffiths took time out of his busy schedule to talk to the young people about his role, the local community and highlighted areas of need which would eventually help with the planning of their social action project whilst those on the NCS scheme also visited Trent and Dove Housing Association and the Fire Service.
Week three was spent at the Pirelli Stadium, where the participants began to put all their new found knowledge and ideas down on paper as the planning phase kicked in to action.
The NCS group consisted of two teams; both of which developed a number of ideas to present at their Dragons Den presentation later that week with the Dragons consisting of MP Andrew Griffiths, Phil Brown (Managing Director of Knott, and Director of Burton Albion), Mary Brearley (Managing Director of Reabrook) and Andy Taylor (Community Manager of Burton Albion Community Trust).
Week 4 brought about the Social Action Project where the Young people, after advise from the Dragons, put their plans in to action and began work on their respective projects.
Project 1, working with Trent and Dove Housing Association, involved clearing a section of the Kingfisher Trail beside the canal, and then renovating a community garden on Masefield Crescent whilst Project 2 involved providing food parcels for homeless and vulnerable people.
Young people raised funds through bucket collections and bag packing B&M Bargains in Swadlincote, as well as a leaflet drop to encourage people to donate food. All food parcels were then donated to the Soup Kitchen in Cross Street, Burton.
Both project proved to be a success, with a number of the young people keen to make these project more long term.
David Jones, Director of Housing Services for Trent and Dove Housing said ‘Trent & Dove is delighted to be continuing our highly successful partnership with the Burton Albion Community Trust by taking part in the delivery of the National Citizen Scheme. We hosted a group of 16/17 year olds who had a tremendous week planning and delivering improvements to the Kingfisher garden and organising a community fun day, which was a great success.’
Burton Albion Community Trust Education Officer Paul Whitworth added ‘After the success of our summer programme we can’t wait to run NCS again in October. The young people involved during the summer have had a fantastic experience, gaining new skills they never thought they would have. They’ve also made new friends for life and will never forget this experience. It’s an opportunity not to be missed.’
Burton Albion Community Trust Chair Fleur Robinson concluded: ‘It has been terrific to see those participating in the NCS initiative go on such a worthwhile journey that hugely benefits both the individuals and the local community.
‘The partnership between the Burton Albion Community Trust and the National Citizen Scheme has proved to be a very fruitful one and we look forward to continuing the initiative this coming Autumn,’
The next NCS programme will kick off during October half term, with youngsters being encouraged to get in touch with the Community Trust. There are 30 places available with youngsters urged to sign up early to avoid disappointment.
The entire NCS experience, including residential, accommodation, food, transport, taster sessions, training, and graduation party is just £35 per person with bursaries also available.