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Jul 27, 2015

Young people become ‘Ambassadors’ with Community First run National Citizen Service 2015

The National Citizen Service is a government funded national volunteering programme for all 15-17 year olds. Here in Wiltshire we have been delivering the NCS programme since its pilot year in 2011. The National Citizen Service runs during July and August and provides opportunities for all young people regardless of any challenges young people have faced and are facing in their lives. Over the five weeks of the programme young people are thrust into two action packed residentials, where they will overcome fears, challenge themselves, find out about who they are and learn the importance of team work and develop leadership. This then provides them with the confidence to gain employability and life skills in a supported environment away from their natural habitat. They gain qualifications in First Aid, Sports leadership, and a Leadership Award.   

NCS is all about Social Action. Young People taking responsibility in supporting a project that means something to them and making a difference. After all the confidence building they are now ready to explore what matters to them and going out to make that difference to the community they live in. We have had young people take part in a 24 hour survival challenge in the New Forest to raise awareness and funds for Wiltshire Homeless charities. They have chosen to volunteer at Wiltshire Foodbanks, worked with local children’s charities to provide a summer activity programme to children in need and young carers , Restored old furniture to sell on in the community and raised money for the MS Society.   They then receive a certificate signed by the Prime Minister along with other awards at a graduation event.

A massive development for us that has come out of the NCS programme is our Ambassador programme.   Ambassadors are now a vital and important part of delivering NCS at Youth Action Wiltshire.   All our Ambassadors were participants on a NCS programme previously. Those that wish to give something back and support the staff in the delivery of our NCS programme have all gone on to succeed in area’s they may not have done before. They are volunteering their time to return and gain skills in how to work with young people, how to lead sessions, and deliver emergency mental health first aid.   At 17/18 Years of age it is the desire and commitment to get stuck in and work long hours, unsociable hours, all for free that stands out. Wanting to support other young people to develop just like they did and ensure everything runs as it should.   It would be difficult to have one stand out Ambassador such is the achievement of all of them but like most participants most Ambassadors have their own story to tell.

Achievements that would not have been possible had it been for opportunities to develop skills at such a young age.   After successful completion these are some of the amazing successes. One Ambassador was offered a placement as lead sports director at a Summer Camp in America two years running.   One Ambassador offered a paid position with the Charity Catch 22 to lead on their social media delivery. One Ambassador gained a University place through the work carried out as an Ambassador. Three Ambassadors selected to represent Wiltshire at the National NCS Leaders Residential in London. One Ambassador was chosen to work in Tanzania on a marine project for three months. One Ambassador became a valuable member of our sessional work staff.

It is these achievements that our Ambassadors have overcome adversity, to want to develop skills and gained support that makes us proud to deliver such a high quality Ambassador programme.  

What is it like to train with NCS?

Below we hear from 2015 Ambassadors (young people) and Cleo Evans:

Lucy Owen Baines: "All of the training has given me an insight into my role and will enable me to be confident about delivering and supporting the Wiltshire Young Carers team."

Elley Timmins:  "I am so more prepared and more confident about my role on NCS.  I now know how to lead and support young people". 

Kieran Major: "I am so excited that I am to help the Splash programme this summer.  I have loved learning how to run games and ice breakers.  Having been involved with YAW since 2012, I am just so excited I get to help support one of the projects.”

Joe Triki: "This will really help me achieve my goals of volunteering overseas, and learning about empowering young people is something that will help develop my skills further.  I am supporting the NCS programme this summer having graduated last summer from an NCS programme with Youth Action Wiltshire.”

Ryan Rogers: "I had such an amazing time last summer on NCS, I really wanted to come back and help make it as good for other young people.  I want to join the police force and this position is a great opportunity to lead, and support young people on the NCS programme.” 

Emily Kelly (Yr 10 Work Experience Placement):  “I feel so lucky I got to take part in the training and meet this year's ambassadors.  They made me feel so welcome and it has made me want to do NCS and then be an Ambassador myself over the next two years.” 

Cleo Evans Youth Action Wiltshire Programme & Volunteering Coordinator.   

"Our Summer Programme would not be able to run as well as it does without the vital skills, energy, passion, enthusiasm, and leadership from our Ambassadors.  They give up their time, to come and support our young people across all our projects to ensure everyone has a positive experience.  They are crucial to the success of our summer programmes.  All our Ambassadors have come through our projects as participants and apply over the winter and go through an interview process.  They have all just completed their first year in further education and embarking on their own career paths.  Sometimes the Ambassador programme can help get our young people back on track, others use it as a way to help develop career skills.   They show the desire and enthusiasm to volunteer their time to help young people.   We are still looking to continue to grow our Ambassador programme and would love to hear from anyone individual or businesses if they are interested in sponsoring or supporting our Ambassador programme.  While the Ambassador programme begins in July and finishes at the end of August, I am looking at way's on how we can continue to grow this programme to make it a year round opportunity.   To find out more about our Ambassador programme, You can email me at cleo@youthactionwiltshire.org or contact 01380 729813.  If you are also interested in any of our programmes for your child please visit our website www.youthactionwiltshire.org or call 01380 729813 to find out more. 

Keywords: Wiltshire NCS
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