Autumn NCS Success!

Accrington Stanley Community Trust’s NCS team recently delivered a 2-week programme for the engineering students of Nelson and Colne College.

National Citizenship Service (NCS) was founded in 2009 with the goal of helping young people motivate themselves to achieve their potential. So far NCS has delivered programmes to over 600,000 young people.

Kicking off the programme was a trip to Dearne Valley Activity Centre near Doncaster, where our young people were encouraged to take part in a range of outdoor activities such as Abseiling, Zip-line, Bushcraft to name a few.

Following on from the enjoyable trip to Yorkshire, was a trip to The Anderton Centre just outside of Chorley were again the young people were able to experience a host of outdoor activities including water sports where students threw themselves into kayaking and paddleboarding. Which saw a number of young people threw themselves into the water literally in a thoroughly enjoyable day, despite the November temperatures!

Next up was a second trip to Dearne Valley where the young people took part in the activities which they didn’t quite get round to on the Monday, rounding off a fabulous three days away from the college as most young people found themselves taking on first-time experiences and forging unforgettable memories.

That was hardly the end of the NCS experience as the NCS team went back into the classroom to deliver thought-provoking workshops intended to help the young people think more about the world they live in.

Thursday’s workshops began with Your Voice Matters, where the Young people were encouraged to think about how getting involved with the democratic principles of this country is rewarding.

We split the young people into small groups and asked them to design their own island. As they were finalising the formation of their teams, NCS staff handed each young people a polling card, informing them it was vital they kept hold of this until the end of the session.

When designing their own island, young people were asked to consider many factors when creating their idyllic civilisation, ranging from constitutional hierarchy to a national animal, really getting across a large scope of consideration.

Once each team was ready, one-by-one they all presented their islands to each other, in an attempt to convince their peers that they had created the ideal civilisation. After all the groups had presented their creations, each team was led from their classroom to a ballot box in the cafeteria. They were then asked to hand over their polling card and in return received a voting card. Once each team had voted, the results were tallied up and the winner announced, followed by a reminder that if as little as two votes had been changed from the winning team, the overall result could have been different, reinforcing the importance of making your voice heard.

The afternoon saw the young people were presented with our Food for Thought workshop where the young people were encouraged to think about how their diet and how changing their shopping habits could lead to massive monetary savings.

Each class was separated into small groups and handed a plate with 30 sugar cubes on it. Confusion was rife amongst the young people’s faces, but not for long as it was quickly explained that pictures of different fizzy drinks would appear on the screen and their challenge was to estimate how many sugar cubes were present in each drink.

Most young people underestimated the amount of sugar in each soda by some distance, and were taken through a presentation regarding sugar, hydration and sleep, informing them how to stay healthy all through the day.

Finally the young people were invited to test their taste buds in an attempt to decipher the difference between branded and unbranded foods. There was a pretty even split between correct and incorrect guesses but even those who could see through our rouse accepted that realistically, there wasn’t much of a difference between the two.

After the tasting session had ended, the young people were informed that even small changes towards unbranded food could save them £80 off a monthly food bill, urging them to prioritise which branded products they rely on.

Our Enterprise Challenge took part on Friday where the young people received an educational session guiding them through the harmful effects of stereotyping and sexual harassment, closing the session with the challenge of creating their own app, being asked to consider factors such as cost, accessibility and advertising. Once finished, each team was asked to present their innovations and then presented with a potential business problem and asked to figure out a solution to it the best they could.

Our final session of the week was our Community Mapping session which tasked the teams to follow our very own custom Monopoly board – Stanopoly, based around the sprawling metropolis of Burnley. Each time a group landed on a particular Burnley landmark (which could be anywhere Burnley Market Hall and Towneley Park), they were asked a question about the site which they were situated at, with only a correct answer giving them the opportunity to buy the landmark. After a trip around the town, the teams headed back to Burnley Bus Station, waiting for the results to come in. Once the winners had been revealed there were some non-serious calls for a recount, but all-in-all it was a thoroughly enjoyable walk around the town.

A great first week at Nelson and Colne College and there would be much more to come in the second week!

It would be an action-packed start to the second half of our programme as young people were thrown right into our Social Action session, planning all the ins and outs of a charity football tournament amongst themselves. The young people were tasked to prepare everything which would be needed to ensure the tournament ran smoothly, including which charity to raise money for – Pendle Hospice.

Throughout Monday the young people were visited by the Footlights drama team who delivered Confidence Building sessions, encouraging the young people to get involved with small performances in front of their classmates which was an overwhelming success.

Tuesday afternoon saw the football tournament played out with nine teams taking part. The teams were separated into 3 groups, with the winners of each group then progressing to a winners’ group where the eventual winner would be crowned, with second and third places in each of the original groups being put into another group too. As a result of the collections on the pitch the young people of Nelson and Colne college raised £115.

On Wednesday and Thursday, the young people were visited by a guest speaker and also taught lifelong skills in the form of mock interviews, leaving them prepared for job applications once they leave education.

Friday was our final day at Nelson and Colne college and that saw all our young people take part in their graduation ceremony. An extremely fun afternoon saw the young people enjoy an obstacle course, inflatable sumo wrestling and a bucking bronco as their NCS experience came to a superb end.

All in all, we presented our NCS programme to 110 young people from Nelson and Colne College across a thoroughly enjoyable two weeks.