Cirencester students give back to their community on NCS action day

Five students from Cirencester College donated their Saturday to make positive changes in the local community as part of Action Day, a national movement organised by the National Citizen Service (NCS).

The students cleared and rebuilt a sensory garden, encouraging wildlife and creating a visual space for residents at Ashley House in Cirencester.

Action Day is an annual event which aims to showcase the true power of young people, using the skills and experience of NCS graduates which they have gained on programme, to continue to make positive changes in their local area.

Taking place in the summer and autumn, NCS is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity open to 16 and 17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland. It is a unique two to four week programme that helps young people build skills for employment, such as resilience, confidence and leadership, trust between people of different backgrounds, and give back to their local communities through a social action project.

Projects in Gloucestershire, which are being designed and carried out by NCS participants, range from building a sensory garden to aiding and assisting the Cirencester Foodbank, and are currently supported by partners including BUPA.

Lucy, 16, from Cirencester, said: “Building the garden was really rewarding. It felt great to give back to the community and help the residents at Ashley House, and I am excited to carry on and plan more events to help local people in Cirencester.”

In Cirencester hundreds of graduates have taken part in the programme to date, dedicating thousands of hours to their local communities. Nationally, 12 million hours have been donated by nearly 500,000 NCS participants across England and Northern Ireland.

Leanne Packer, from Reed in Partnership, says: “We were so pleased to see so many NCS graduates coming back to help make Action Day a success in Gloucestershire. The passion and drive that young people have to make a difference has been inspiring to see, and I’m proud that so many of our graduates have selflessly given up their weekend to engage with issues in their local area.

“Social action is a core pillar of NCS, and it’s great to see so many young people continuing to have a positive impact on the world around them after completing the programme.”

Karen Fraser, Vice Principal at Cirencester College said: “The College is a strong advocate for NCS and the skills it develops in our young people. The contribution these learners have made to our local community is fantastic and in doing so, they have also developed key employability skills which will help them in their working life. They have worked hard on the sensory garden and we are very proud of what they have achieved.”

To find out more about the NCS programme visit www.ncsyes.co.uk or if you have a community project that you would like some support with, please email ncs@cirencester.ac.uk.  If you are aged between 16-17, and would like join the programme this summer, come along to our open event on Thursday 27 June between 5pm and 8pm, or email ncs@cirencester.ac.uk.