Dame Rosie Winterton met with young people from Doncaster who had given up their time voluntarily and commit to 30 hours of social action as part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme through the Club Doncaster Foundation.
15-17 year olds from all backgrounds come together on NCS for a shared experience lasting three to four weeks – mainly in the summer holidays, after GCSE exams. They push themselves out of their comfort zones and learn important life skills, whilst living away from home, and then work together to plan and deliver a project to make a difference to their community.
This summer the young people chose a project about which they feel passionate, helping the elderly. They have been working all week at St Catherine’s Hospital, at the elderly rehabilitation service, where they carried out activities such as gardening, tidying up and improving the look of the hospital ward and running the café on the ward.
Dame Rosie said: “It’s been absolutely inspiring to see the work of these young people on the programme. They’ve obviously had a fantastic time over the three weeks and what they’ve said to me is that it’s been about working together in teams but also making new friends and new horizons.”
She continued: “What has been interesting is the number of people who come back to volunteer as graduates so it’s clear that there’s progression within NCS and something that hugely impacts society.”
At the end of the three weeks participation, participants attend a graduation to celebrate their personal achievements and the positive impact they have had locally.
NCS participant, Alix Costin commented: “It feels amazing to know that you’re giving something back to the community. I’ve loved every second of our NCS experience but I think the social action project week has really inspired us, it’s so rewarding to know that doing something so simple like gardening can have such a huge impact on people in Doncaster.”