Welcome to our guest blogger Dexter, working on the National Citizen Service in Kirklees. He is looking for organisations who would love to work with him and his merry volunteers this summer.
Who do you picture when you hear the word volunteer?
Not many of you will be imagining a bunch of fresh faced 16 year olds straight out of their GCSEs.
Not yet anyway. It will be a hard picture to avoid this summer. 390 young people from across Huddersfield will be embarking on the journey of a lifetime, redecorating, gardening and fundraising their way through oodles of community projects.
The youngsters will be taking part in National Citizen Service (NCS), a government funded programme that sees them pushing their comfort zones, learning new skills and giving back to the community.
My name is Dexter and I work on the NCS programme at Huddersfield Community Trust (HCT). I’d like to talk a little about how NCS is changing perceptions on volunteering forever. I’ll also mention how local organisations can get involved with these incredible young people.
In 2015 NCS groups at HCT volunteered 4000 hours and fundraised over £13,000. All for much needing local organisations. The young people are given the framework and guidance to set up their own projects and that is why it works so well. NCS is empowering young people to make the changes that they want to see.
In October 2015 one group of NCSers took to the streets of Huddersfield to conduct bush tucker trials. They were eating bugs, hot sauce and other horrible things, all to raise awareness and funds for Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.
In February 15 one group visited Leonard Cheshire care home, they socialised with the service users and spent the day gardening.
In August one group spent a day recording information off headstones at All Hallows Church Almondbury. This information was compiled into a booklet that is now used to help locate specific headstones.
And back on a rainy day in July one group hopped on a bus to wales. They carried this forget me not banner up mount Snowdon and raised over £1,200 doing so.
That was just a sneak peek at some of the work that went on last year. Proof that inspired young people are out there doing amazing things in West Yorkshire. NCS sets young people up to be volunteers for LIFE. They often stay on with NCS after their project to do more community work. Better still, some stay on with their partner organisation and volunteer on a regular basis. There is so much more to come, NCS is going to massive in 2016.
We are currently looking for around 25 groups, organisations, and charities to collaborate with NCS in summer 2016. The projects are completely self-managed so will not be a burden to you or your staff. It could see 500 hours and over £1000 invested into your organisation. If you could benefit from being involved with one of our inspirational teams this summer, I’d love to hear from you.
Take a chance on today’s youth, you will not regret it.
Rachael previously worked for Leeds City Council where she led the city’s partnership work on good community relations and migration, as well as developing innovative ideas for working with communities, including Poverty Truth Leeds. Before that she worked in the voluntary sector at Involve Yorkshire and Humber Leeds Accommodation Forum as well as working internationally for the Football Supporters’ Federation. Rachael is Vice Chair of Leeds Irish Health and Homes and a trustee of Togetherness for Peace, and a founder member of the Leeds City of Sanctuary movement. She was previously a company director of Melting Pot social enterprise – teaching marketable catering skills to people with mental health problems. In 2011 Rachael was awarded an international Winston Churchill Fellowship for the US and South Africa to look at the question: Are Harmonious Cities Possible? In her spare time, Rachael’s interests are football, photography and fiction.