The National Citizen Service (NCS) is designed to help 16 and 17 year-olds build skills for work and life, whilst taking on new challenges and meeting new friends.
The 4 week placement brings together young people and helps them develop greater confidence, self-awareness and responsibility. It encourages personal and social development by working on skills like leadership, teamwork and communication.
In the third week participants develop a social action project and spend 30 hours putting the plan into action in their community. The team set up a Just Giving page and held a family fun day in Braunston where they raised over £500 to fund the project. In addition, they successfully secured donations from Homebase and Marks and Spencer.
I asked NCS Team Leader Rita why they chose Evelyn Wright for their project.
“One of the volunteers had a relative previously at Evelyn Wright so it was a popular decision amongst the volunteers. The team were passionate about helping the elderly and bridging the gap between the generations”.
The three days consisted of gardening, activities such as animal therapy, singing and just spending some time with the residents. Resident, and keen gardener, Bob even joined in with the gardening which bought tears to the eyes of the staff. The volunteers spent time playing board games and getting to know the residents which was a particular highlight for one volunteer, Charlie Williams.
“I was unsure how the residents would react to young people but they’ve all been really lovely and enjoyed our stay. I enjoyed talking, having tea and cake with them and getting to know their story. I would love to keep coming back to see everyone.”
As the project came to an end, I met with the volunteers and although at the beginning of the project they were slightly apprehensive to they all agreed this soon changed as the week went on. Volunteer Anna Duff said
“It was difficult because I don’t have much interaction with the elderly but now they recognise me, they are very smiley. I have enjoyed painting the fence and putting up the lights because the residents said they loved the colour. They are all very grateful for what we have done.”
It was a wonderful week for everybody involved in the project. The volunteers thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the residents, bridging the gap between generations and making a difference in their local community. The employees were delighted with the transformation and seeing the residents faces light up when the garden was unveiled was a special moment for the home.
Rita summarised her experience as exciting, challenging and special.
If you are interested in volunteering at any of our locations, find out more by visiting http://bit.ly/2wXJ5Ht