National Citizen Service teens get involved in a summer of social action in Rochdale

Date published: 14 September 2020

This summer, teens in Rochdale have been inspired into action by the challenges faced in our communities during the Covid-19 pandemic, giving their time to contribute towards a total of nearly 25,000 hours of voluntary work across the North West.

When lockdown came into effect, many teens across the UK were desperate to step up and support their communities. However, research from National Citizen Service showed that nearly half (44%) of 16-17-year-olds didn’t know how to get involved to help.

That's where National Citizen Service (NCS) and their Keep Doing Good campaign stepped in, delivered by Manchester-based The Growth Company, offering teens the chance to pledge 16 hours each towards a national total of one million hours of volunteering and social action.

Spending time doing good with NCS has given young people the chance to make up for lost time and build skills and resilience alongside their peers.

One young person taking part in NCS said: “It’s been the best thing I’ve done this holiday. I really think others should come and do NCS as it’s been so great; doing new things, meeting new people, learning things about them and about myself.”

Over the summer teens have got involved with a huge variety of sustainable and meaningful projects. They've cleaned up parks and community gardens, picked up litter on beaches and in woodland, helped charity shops with their post-Covid donations and raised money for local causes across Greater Manchester.

In Rochdale young people have been supporting WHAG, a charity founded in 1981 to offer housing and support to vulnerable homeless women. Over time their work has expanded to include domestic abuse services for both women and men and their services are also provided across Bury and Cheshire West and Chester to those experiencing and fleeing domestic abuse.

NCS teams went to WHAG's private housing accommodation site and volunteered their time to various gardening and maintenance projects, including planting vegetables, fruits and flowers that the service users can enjoy once they are ripe for picking. Despite only spending three days with WHAG they completed a good variety of tasks, much to the delight and thanks of Sharon Molly, the Service Manager for WHAG at Rose Court.

Sharon Molly, WHAG Service Manager said: "Each year NCS support us with our garden project, where the young people and our service users get together and make our green space a place to enjoy. Not only is this a health benefit for our service users but also supports their mental health. The project also allows the young people an insight into what supported accommodation is, why people may end up there and what support is offered.”

This autumn, NCS will continue to offer programmes and activities for 16-17-year-olds, directly through their schools and colleges, with additional opportunities for young people to take part during the half term break.

Teens who have taken part in NCS can also access an extensive network of further opportunities, allowing them to continue doing good for their communities. Local Action Groups will be held monthly from September, bringing together engaged and committed young people, linking with youth services, local authorities and charities.

For further information on NCS and its Autumn programme, visit:

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