I was really pleased to be able to join young National Citizen Service (NCS) participants at River Bourne Community Farm on Friday to help them prepare a series of social action projects that will benefit the local community.
Sixty 15-16 year-olds from several local schools have come together to take part in the youth programme through July. Their NCS experience began with a trip to Wales, where they took part in team bonding and adventure activities including hiking, gorge walking and rock climbing.
Since returning, they have been working in four groups to develop their social action projects which are designed to benefit local community initiatives and charities.
Friday afternoon was spent running a Dragon’s Den style panel that reviewed the projects and offered advice and guidance on making them a success.
Eleanor, Katie and Jack, all aged 16, are part of a group that has planned a fundraising bingo night in support of Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
Katie said: “There are several animals and species found primarily in Wiltshire that are classified as endangered. Our plan is to raise awareness and raise money that will help the Trust with their conservation work.”
“We’ve had a great experience on NCS. It’s been loads of fun and we’ve made friends from other schools. The team work has been brilliant!”
Chinmay and Alexander’s group has two objectives - to help Victoria Park become a safer space for the local community and raise funds for Barnardo’s. They are planning a Family Fun Day in the park.
Alexander said: “We think loneliness among young people is something that should get more attention and are hoping to raise money to help Barnardo’s provide support to those that need it.”
“We also love spending time at Victoria Park and think the whole community can benefit from any work we can do help improve it - whether just by collecting rubbish or helping recycle.”
Other projects will see the young people building plastic sculptures from disused bottles to highlight the environmental impact of single-use plastics. They hope to approach Salisbury Cathedral with a view to having it displayed in an art exhibition in the future.
It was great to spend time with them and I look forward to hearing how their projects go. The programme is a brilliant opportunity for young people to get out of their comfort zone and lead on some projects that are going to have real impact in Salisbury and Wiltshire.
Several of their fundraising events are happening this week and I’d encourage everyone to get out in support of the young people:
Monday 22nd - Quiz Night - Salisbury Baptist Church at 6pm
Thursday 25th - Quiz Night - St Paul’s Church at 6pm
Thursday 25th - Bingo Night - St Osmund’s Church Hall at 6pm
Friday 26th - Family Fun Day - Victoria Park at 1pm
Best of luck to everybody involved!