A limited number of places are still available for 16-17 year olds to take part in a life-changing programme this half term.
National Citizen Service (NCS) is a country wide programme which brings together groups of 16-17 year olds to help build their confidence, mix with different social groups and inspire real change through local community-based action projects.
As part of the NCS autumn programme, groups of teens will be changing the lives of others and their own as they gather in Littlehampton, Chichester, Bognor and Midhurst from 25 to 28 October.
For 16-17 year olds living in Chichester & Arun, there is also still time to sign up to a residential stay at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight from 21 to 24 October where they will have the chance to take part in exciting activities including coasteering, kayaking, bush craft & mountain boarding. The cost is just £50 with bursaries available.
Sophia Cobby, 16, from Bognor, was part of a NCS group in Bognor which raised money for charity through holding a tea party, weeding and painting at Genesis church.
Sophia said: “Money raised went to My Sisters House charity. The woman was so overwhelmed that she cried and we got a mention in the local paper.
“NCS got me my first job. The manager said NCS looked really good on my CV and gave me a job. NCS boosted my social skills and boosted my confidence due to the social mix in the group.”
Jaz Holden, 17, from Littlehampton, said: “I didn’t really want to go but I met a friend at NCS induction and that encouraged me. I felt inspired by the end of week one and we bonded really well. In week two I pushed myself to do more and get involved.
“NCS made me a lot more confident speaking to people whereas before I wouldn’t. If you’re on the fence, push yourself to do it. My group was like family on NCS.”
William Dunn, 16, from Stedham, previously took part at the NCS programme in Midhurst, said: “The highlight was overcoming my fears on NCS. I now want to go to Sandhurst College. NCS helped me understand different types of people and improved my patience and leadership. In the future I would consider being a grad for NCS, to be an officer (uniformed services) and to help people.”
Over the summer, there were a range of inspirational projects developed by groups taking part in the NCS programme.
This included renovating Stedham Campsite, a video to raise awareness of teen suicide, a sponsored sleep-out to highlight the isolation felt through mental illness, and a campaign to help teenagers develop essential life skills they currently lack such as ironing and electrics.
Stephen Hillier, Cabinet Member for Children – Start of Life, said: “NCS is a great way for young adults to build up confidence or get a boost on their CV which will make them stand out against the crowd.
"The team leaders see first-hand how these teenagers change in just a few days. Sometimes the programme helps them to make better decisions and life choices but other times their NCS journey teaches them about leadership, team building and independence.”