Young people from Dacorum have been learning new skills while working in their communities during the summer holidays.
Hertfordshire County Council’s Youth Connexions has supported 413 young people to take part in the National Citizen Service (NCS).
The four-week programme saw the young people choose a worthwhile community cause, plan and budget for the project, raise funds and carry out the work. As well as learning how to successfully manage a community project, the youngsters also took part in team building exercises, ranging from rock climbing and mountain biking to a new sport called geocaching, developing their communication, trust, listening and leadership skills. They also gained skills in a variety of areas including first-aid, digital media and sign language.
The social action projects were decided by each team, and were very varied. Some teams chose to raise awareness of social issues such as homelessness and smoking, and found very creative ways to do so including a moving, hard hitting film about the effects of smoking on babies. Other causes supported were food banks, a women’s centre and cancer support. Many teams decided to improve local facilities used in their community, and got busy digging, planting, painting and even building with bricks, to create a barbeque at a centre for people who have severe learning difficulties. The teams have already raised the impressive sum of £4,529, with further fundraising activities planned.
Participant Rhiannon who took part in the Three Rivers team said: “When NCS is over, I’ll happily look back and say I’ve achieved the best I can and it’s all thanks to an amazing, supportive team.”
Charlotte, a member of the Welwyn Hatfield team, said: “I’ll be more confident in future and able to work with people I don’t know.”
Parents have also valued the programme, with one parent saying: “My daughter has been a lot happier while she has been on NCS – she has really enjoyed it”.
County councillor Richard Roberts, executive member for children’s services said: “Yet again, young people in Hertfordshire have shown their willingness to stretch themselves in learning new skills, along with great enthusiasm for contributing to their local community. Well done to all involved in NCS.”
For information about the work of Youth Connexions, including NCS, visit www.youthconnexions.org