County Councillor Teresa Heritage, Deputy Leader of Hertfordshire County Council and Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said: “It is fantastic to see so many Hertfordshire young people keen to make a difference to their local areas and gain a better understanding of what it is to be an active and enthusiastic member of their local community.
“The young people who have completed NCS have gained an enormous amount of knowledge and increased their self-confidence and resilience this summer. I hope that it stands them in good stead as they move towards independence and plan for their future.
“Young people have supported a huge number of local charities and community organisations, as well as generously donating their time to rejuvenate public spaces.
“Their contribution is greatly appreciated by communities across Hertfordshire.”
The programme that each of the young people completed included discussions on a range of subjects including mental health, careers, living independently and homelessness. They also learned vital new skills such as first aid and sign language.
The young people planned and organised a wide variety of social action projects across the county. These included:
- Organising intergenerational events at residential homes for elderly people, incorporating a range of activities from quizzes, tea parties and music performances.
- Helping out at local animal sanctuaries and providing hands-on help with the day to day care of the animals.
- Completing gardening projects in local communal gardens, residential homes, hospitals and public spaces, including a public underpass.
- Making over and refurbishing local community centres.
- Producing videos to raise awareness of issues such as deaf awareness.
- Collecting donations for local food banks.
- Organising stalls to promote the awareness of issues which affect young people, such as mental health.
- Organising and taking part in “Fit and Fed” projects for children who maybe hungry and/or isolated during the school holidays.
- Helping create care packages for homeless people in support of a local homeless charity.
Young people who took part in the programme also gained a lot from the experience:
Hafsa, 16, said: “NCS is an opportunity to meet completely new people and step out of your comfort zone and learn a lot more than I thought I could ever learn. It teaches you responsibility and independence as you are away from your family.”
Mikey, 15, said: “I thought certain ways about certain things and NCS has broken down these stereotypes.”
Halle, 16, said: “It’s been a great experience and an important time to meet people of different cultures and religions.”
Niral, aged 16, said: “NCS pushed everyone out of their comfort zones. It was great to socialise, make friends and be part of a team.”
Tia, aged 16, said: “I am more independent and more mature because of my NCS experience. I have become my own person.”
Taran (16): “NCS has been great – a once in a lifetime opportunity! By completing our social action project I have become more confident and caring.”
Hilary (16): “Knowing that I have had an impact on the residents at Loughton Hall has boosted my self-esteem.”
Kassim, 16, said: “We have had to learn to work as a team and now feel really comfortable with each other.”
Jaival, 16, said: “I’ve learnt communication and leadership skills which are good for my CV.”
Ella, 16, said: “NCS has really motivated me to find a job.”