Now in its third year in Northern Ireland, and with over 900 young people graduating, our ambition is to ensure as many young people as possible regardless of background, ability or ambitions, get the chance to experience and reap the rewards of NCS. NCS originally started in England six years ago and already over 100,000 young people have taken part.
It’s important to us that as many young people as possible get to take part so the programme takes place outside the school timetable during the summer holidays. With the backing of the government, participation fees are capped at £35 with financial support available on a case-by-case basis.
There are a number of compelling benefits to taking part. NCS will improve your child’s CV by giving them important skills for work and life that are hard to teach in the classroom alone. The programme will help your child contribute to their local community and in so doing meet new people from different backgrounds and develop their social skills.
The programme consists of 5 parts and is pretty much full time for the first 3 parts (with rest breaks in between!). Part 4 is flexible and can be delivered at times agreed by the team. While we want all of our NCS participants to attend the graduation celebration, this is not a requirement and they will still get their certificates.
- Firstly, the young people spend 4 nights away from home at a high quality residential centre getting to know the team and being challenged by instructor-led group activities such as kayaking, high ropes and orienteering.
- In the following week they spend 4 nights at a centre closer to home learning new skills such as digital media, first aid, survival skills (maybe even a bit of cleaning and cooking!), meeting with organisations in the local community and starting to think about their social action project.
- Week 3 will be 3 to 4 full days with your team (not overnight), agreeing on what to do to make a difference in the community and crucially, planning for how to deliver a high quality project. At the end of this stage, teams will pitch for any funding they might need to help them deliver their action plan.
- Once funding is secured, it’s time to make the team project happen. Projects range from fundraisers for chosen charities, awareness campaigns for local and youth issues, or regenerating public spaces. This stage is 30 hours and can be carried out at times that suit the team, up until 24th August.
- Finally, it’s time to celebrate with graduation – receiving a certificate signed by the Prime Minister and a 100 hour Millennium Volunteer award (supplied by Volunteer Now). NCS graduates will be kept informed of unique opportunities to continue volunteering and stay connected to each other and their local community.