Reaping the rewards of volunteering

Young people taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, SUS-180606-114630001
Young people taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, SUS-180606-114630001

They say you reap what you sow and young people throughout Hastings and Rother Young are proving there was never a truer word as they celebrate their community contributions as part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, held to coincide with Volunteers’ Week (June 1-7).

The NCS programme is provided by Ashford based charity CXK, which supports children, young people, adults and families.

Young people taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, SUS-180606-115347001

Young people taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, SUS-180606-115347001

CXK’s CEO, Pauline Smith, says over the past year, more than 60 Hastings teens have taken part in the programme, donating 1,800 volunteering hours to local charities and causes. “Those hours have been dedicated to a range of projects designed to better the local community,” she said.

“One team dedicated their hours to fundraising for the Barby Keel animal sanctuary, Bexhill, through a quiz night and ten mile sponsored walk; using donations to purchase and construct a shed to create much-needed extra storage space.

“Other initiatives included raising funds for the Conquest Hospital’s MRI scanner appeal through bag packing, busking and sponsored walk events. Another team painted a mural for Hastings bereavement charity, Dragonflies. More than 100 young people in the local area have already signed up to take part in the programme this summer.”

Each programme includes 30 hours dedicated to a community project, with participants planning and delivering a social action project that gives something back to the community. Pauline added: “Independent research found that after completing NCS participants say they feel more equipped to tackle problems in their community, and more able to have an impact on the world around them.”

NCS graduate Shane Daily, 16, says NCS changed his life. “It made me way more active and gave me the necessary skills I will need for the future,” he said.

“You meet many people along the way and have great laughs. Also, you feel good about yourself knowing you have done great work while having fun.”

Pauline said: “NCS is the country’s fastest growing youth programme in a century. From 2000 to 2015, data from the Office for National Statistics showed that 16–25 year olds went from being the least likely group to volunteer to the most likely – and the same findings mentioned NCS as a possible reason behind this change.

“NCS has empowered many young people to take action in their communities and helped develop skills and experiences which will be valuable throughout their lives.

“Volunteers’ Week is a great time to celebrate how young people are making a difference.

“NCS can help get young people started on what will hopefully be a lifetime of participation in their communities.”

For more information visit: www.cxk.org

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