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My NCS experience was nothing short of amazing!

10 September 2021  |  Jill Lundberg  |  Posted in:

In our series of case studies about NCS, let’s hear from Georgie O’Reilly, in Year 12, who took part in the NCS programme this summer and loved every minute of her experience.  NCS is run in partnership with The Yorkshire Cricket Foundation and offers fantastic opportunities for Year 11 and 12 students each summer.

My NCS experience was nothing short of amazing , originally I didn’t intend on doing NCS this summer as I thought I’d have other things scheduled. I was convinced by some of my close friends and I decided to sign up. The most brilliant part of it all was that I didn’t know what to expect so everything and everyone was so amazing.

The experience started with a ‘stepping out of your comfort zone’ week , in which the first day was a full day of outdoor activities involving very funny and wet canoeing , in which we were asked to trust one another and do some counterbalances on each side of the canoe which ended in a hilarious near capsize. The other activity was high ropes at Marrick Priory which pushed everyone out of their comfort zones. The rest of the week was all based at school. We did many sporty events such as a mini olympics (in which the team I was in won!!), we also learnt very useful self-defence, heard inspiring stories from two ex-athletes and had our teamwork pushed by both of them in team activities.

We had a talk on how to improve our public speaking by loud speaker and on the last day of the first week we had Rachel, a parliament expert, visited and educated all of us about parliament and voting and how laws and topics are discussed. By the end of the week I had made a lot of new friends and already felt comfortable in the group .

The NCS group was split into two and we completed all of our activities and community projects within these groups. On the Friday, we briefly decided on the main idea of a community project which was mental health. The whole group as a collective really found mental health resonating with all of us personally, whether we had gone through something like that or knew someone who did. So as week two started, the ‘community’ week, we all made a final decision on what we were going to be doing and that was Move4MentalHealth. A campaign in which we set out to raise over £300 to afford a mental health first aider within a local school, by setting up a justgiving page and a petition for it to be a legal requirement for all schools in the UK to have a mental health first aider (which sadly didn’t go live). We also collectively did 300 miles of walking, running, rowing and cycling to emphasise the 300 we were trying to raise and overall raise awareness for mental health in youths especially considering the pandemic and the awful knock-on effects of it. This idea was decided by all of us as it was something we were all passionate about and we really believe that we can make a difference.

During that second week we managed to raise about £450 and we surpassed 300 miles, we also got out into the community and made our voices heard. We took lots of posters into local shops and made Move4MentalHealth heard outside of Richmond. However, I’d  personally say the highlight of this community project was that we were able to get Rishi Sunak, our local MP, into Richmond School and we were able to speak to him about our project in which he also showed a lot of interest in. This also enabled the group to use some of the public speaking techniques that we absolutely nailed. However, none of this would have been possible without the amazing support of Matty, Ellie, Alex and Dan, our brilliant NCS leaders, who also made the whole experience way more memorable. So overall, I would say my NCS experience was a total success and it has given me so many skills and passions that are going to stay with me and be so useful for later life.

Georgie O’Reilly

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