The National Citizen Scheme – NCS for short – is an initiative which promises the experience of turning ‘no you can’t’ into ‘yes you can’.
That sounds like a strapline which certainly matches the vision and ambition of Wolves Foundation, so it is little wonder that Wolves’ official charity is such a keen supporter.
NCS is a project usually run over a fortnight to which 16 and 17-year-olds can sign up and become engaged with their communities in some form of social action initiative, as well as developing their skills and sense of teamwork along the way.
Prior to the pandemic it often included a residential trip away from home, and while that hasn’t been possible with the most recent cohort, there was still the chance for plenty of activities, and plenty of fun!
The most recent NCS programme came to an end last week but there are still places available on the next activity, later this month, and the message for those just coming out of Year 11 or Year 12 is simple: ‘Why not give it a try?’
Not to mention that all who take part in the forthcoming project will, providing they complete the whole scheme, be entered into a competition to win a range of prizes such as tickets to a match, a signed ball or a tour of Molineux.
“The young people on our most recent NCS programme had a really enjoyable time,” explains Jonathan Warburton, Education & Skills Manager with Wolves Foundation.
“NCS have different phases one of which is called ‘Be Epic’, which is about challenging yourself, teambuilding and getting to know other people from across your city.
“So for the first couple of days staff took the participants to Rock UK, a Centre based in the Northamptonshire countryside which offers a range of different activities.
“They took part in archery, high ropes, a climbing activity called Jacob’s Ladder, orienteering, bushcraft – which is making your own fire – and other survival skills and raft-building, which always goes down well.
“Normally those sort of activities take place for a week and then everyone heads back to Molineux for the second week to think of ideas for social action projects which they pitch to staff in a Dragons’ Den type environment.
“The project that wins is then the one which the participants plan and deliver out in the local community putting into practice the teambuilding elements of the programme.
“This time we also did a Community Mapping challenge where we created a monopoly board and the participants went out and about in the city getting pictures of themselves at different community landmarks.
“It was an opportunity for them to go and see what Wolverhampton has to offer and learn more and hopefully feel some pride in their home city.
“NCS offers young people a great chance to meet others from across the city who share similar experiences and is particularly valuable during what has been such a challenging time over the last year.
“Many of the young people have had their issues during this period and it is great to see such a diverse mix out there enjoying the activities and making new friends rather than having to be stuck at home.”
Kurran Kullar, a student on the Foundation’s degree programme who is a Team Leader on NCS, added: “Working on the NCS programme has been so rewarding, not only for the young people but for staff members like myself.
“Watching the whole group come together and try to tackle issues in Wolverhampton and being so proactive in developing and improving themselves has been fantastic to see.”
The feedback from participants on the Foundation’s NCS programmes continues to be hugely positive, with a host of ‘fantastic’ given as the description of the experience and both their impressions of the staff.
Among the highlights listed were ‘games with the whole group’ and ‘having the chance to get to know and converse with others’ and all who left feedback said they would recommend the scheme.
The next NCS programme will operate along a similar basis, kicking off on August 16th and running for two weeks. Anyone interested can actually search for the project and sign up on the NCS website – wearencs.com – or email Scottlangford@wolves.co.uk for more details.