Friday 20 April 2018

National Citizen Service (NCS)

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I first heard about the National Citizen Service (NCS) when I was working in a local secondary school and have always thought of it as something that I would love my children to do. My daughter is now in year 9 so still 2 years away from being able to take part but I will be encouraging her to sign up for it as soon as she is eligible!

So what is the NCS and what makes me want my children to take part? Here is what the people at NCS says about it:

NCS is a government backed programme established in 2011 to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society. By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens.

NCS is open to 16 and 17 year-olds across England and Northern Ireland. The two to four week programme, which takes place in school holidays, includes outdoor team-building exercises, a residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’, a community-based social action project and an end of programme celebration event. 
At a time of huge political uncertainty, where division is more evident than togetherness, NCS is a powerful tool to ensure the next generation see more in their similarities than differences.
I feel my daughter would benefit from taking part in the challenging activities on offer on the NCS programme. She has tried some of them before but its good to face your fears and get out of your comfort zone. I know that I feel better for conquering my fear of heights when doing high ropes or abseiling:

I know that in Guides and on PGL holidays I loved the waterspouts elements. We have had a taster day as a family and my daughter loved this part of a school residential. My son has never been as keen on water based activities but he is a strong swimmer so by the time he is old enough to participate I hope he would enjoy them more! Some other children haven't had the chance to enjoy the fun that being on the water can be:

The second element of the NCS course is a residential to learn life skills is another great part of the programme. I think it should be compulsory for every young person to obtain basic first aid qualifications:

All of these activities would enable my children to mix with children from a wide range of backgrounds with differing abilities. Working with others is both a vital skill and helps to knit society together as unfortunately modern Britain isn't always as cohesive and mobile as it could be. 

The community based social action plan element is an important part of the NCS programme for me. As a family we regularly engage in charitable events and I have encouraged my children to help those less fortunate than them. Putting something back into the community is definitely an important part of being a responsible individual. Thanks to the NCS more than seven million hours of community action have been completed.

Taking part on the NCS programme would not only benefit my children but could make a difference to society too! They would be following the 400,000 young people who have already undertaken the programme. There is no financial barrier to taking part (a relief for those of us on low incomes!) as the cost is only £50 (which includes food, accommodation and transport) for which bursaries are available. Despite the low price for every £1 spent, NCS’  2016 summer programme delivered between £1.15 and £2.42 of benefits back to society. So that's a win all round!

In 2018 over 100,000 teenagers will be taking part which is 1 in 6 of the cohort. If your child is in year 11 why not have a look together at the NCS site? Help them become an even better citizen whilst having fun building their confidence, making new friends and learning life skills that can’t be taught in a classroom. Programmes are flexible so you can still have that family holiday you have planned! We only have 2 years to wait before my eldest can join in.


  1. Coombe Mill (Fiona)23 April 2018 at 13:50

    Oh I love that face of misery at walking too far! I bet he hasn't thanked you for posting this one, it made me smile, my triplets would be just the same. I must say I found the old trail fascinating with the bridges appearing seemingly out of nowhere, especially the 'Ghost Bridge'. That sounds like quite a challenge you are planning for the summer.

    Thank you for sharing with me on #CountryKids

  2. Oh I love how rugged it and his face at walking to far! Shame about the weather but that just added to the fun!!!

  3. Fascinating! I've never seen, nor really heard of, a disused canal. Love the ghost bridges, and well done that young man for persevering in the mud, even though he let you know it was a chore! #CountryKids

  4. Sensational Learning with Peng25 April 2018 at 18:18

    I think this looks great, but oh the look on your poor son's face! Amazing to see how nature has taken over, with the trees and fields now, where the canal used to be. Very interesting to see x #CountryKids

  5. I love that photo of your son! And the ghost bridge is very atmospheric. Looks like a really interesting walk. #countrykids


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