This week JVN’s Youth Co-ordinator Mike has been volunteering at Gilwell Park campsite for the second of three weeks of JLGB’s Redbridge NCS programme for 16-17-year-olds of all faiths in the Redbridge community. Here is his report…
This week, the focus of the NCS programme was to learn a specific skill in order to develop a social action project to benefit the local community to be put into action next week. There were a variety of skills on offer including photography, dance and graphic design, and each day the participants would learn more about their skills from a professional in the business. At the end of the week each group had to present an idea for their project “Dragons’ Den” style to four expert judges from JLGB, Redbridge CVS, LOCOG and JVN’s old friends the Pears Foundation. The group I was helping with, whose skill was photography, presented their project – to put on an exhibition to comabt stereotypes of the homeless people in Redbridge – exceptionally well and were given £700 pounds to develop it, the joint-highest sum awarded.
As well as social action planning, the participants were also given workshops on the theme of interfaith and social cohesion led by members of the Interact and Three Faiths Forum educaiton teams. They were also taken on trips to learn more about businesses and charities relevant to their special skills, including the BBC, LOCOG, the Ilford Recorder, CAFOD, Drugsline and Jewish Care.
By the end of the week, all the participants and staff had throughly enjoyed themselves, myself included. It was uplifting to see the way young people could be inspired to ignore social and religious devisions between them and work together on a voluntary project which would not only benefit those in the local community, but which would also contribute hugely to their own personal development into young adults. My reservations about NCS have been completely destroyed, and I would throughly encourage any teenagers reading this to get involved!
To learn more about the NCS programme, visit www.jlgb.org/ncs. To learn more about JLGB’s work, visit www.jlgb.org. And, as always, if you have been inspired to volunteer, visit www.jvn.org.uk to find the perfect opportunity to suit you.