The NCS experience has been incredible!
“Would I recommend NCS to other students? Absolutely I would. It’s an amazing opportunity to grow your confidence, meet new people, improve yourself and have your voice heard within the greater community” – words from James Lunn who recently completed the NCS programme. Read on to find out more about his experiences.
When NCS first came to our school to do a virtual presentation, I would admit to being quite sceptical as I didn’t fully understand what it was. Eventually, I convinced myself to go as I thought “It’ll be a good thing to put on my CV at least”! Very soon after we began the two-week programme, it was clear that it was going to be far, far more.
I’m very glad that I did choose to do it as the experience as a whole has been incredible. The two weeks started with a day filled with outdoor activities, beginning with canoeing over a lake, which forced us to trust whoever we were working with as we learned to steer and coordinate the canoe between us. We then moved onto high ropes at Marrick Priory. This was a huge obstacle for me as I have always been quite scared of heights. Thanks, however, to the support of friends and even people I had barely talked to from other schools, I managed to overcome the fear and complete every single high rope there, leaving the day behind with no regrets.
The week continued with more team-building exercises, including mini-Olympics and Danish longball, a game most of us had never even heard of before. We also had experts come over to give us talks and crash courses in their field, including an ex-Olympian, a self-defence teacher, public-speaking trainers, and an expert in politics who talked us through voting, how they pass laws and how to start up a petition. By the end of the week, I had become completely comfortable being in the group as I had got to know everyone at least a little bit through the activities.
On the Friday we decided on a community project for our group to do, which we settled on mental health as this seemed to strike a chord with almost every group member. Moving into the second week, we arranged exactly what we would be doing for mental health, which we wanted to raise awareness for young people’s mental health, especially after the pandemic. We also wanted to raise £300 pounds for a member of staff at our school to become trained in mental health first aid. We began by creating leaflets and a gofundme to collect donations for the £300 goal. We then started handing out these leaflets to businesses in the town and by the end of the first day, we had raised around about £40 pounds. However, overnight, after members of the group had contacted their families, we had raised over £100! This was amazing as it gave us the motivation to continue pushing with our goal, and in just three days, we managed to raise £450 towards our cause.
This gave us the confidence to try something more ambitious. We contacted our local MP and Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to come over to Richmond School so that we could pitch our idea to him and see what the government was doing about this issue. And, to our surprise, he agreed to it. This was by far one of the best moments of the two weeks as it showed us that our voices can and will be heard, we just have to actually use our voice in the first place.
Would I recommend NCS to other students? Absolutely I would. It’s an amazing opportunity to grow your confidence, meet new people, improve yourself and have your voice heard within the greater community.
Of course, none of this would have been possible without the support of our amazing NCS supervisors: Alex, Matty, Dan, and Ellie, so I would like to thank them for helping us grow our project and get it to reach heights we never thought it could.