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NCS Times - Voice of the Community

Rejuvenating the Rose Garden

Maxi’s Mates - Our Social Action Project By Matthew Morton By Sarah Winspear

and Jacob Packer

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y group’s NCS Social Action project is to rejuvenate the Rose Garden that is opposite Redcar Racecourse. Before we started wor k , th i s wa s a rundown old flower patch at the entrance to the estate on Lakes Avenue. This area used to be known as a ‘Rose Garden’ and was appealing, but now has stagnated due to no longer being maintained. The public had lost interest in the site which resulted in overgrowth; we decided to reverse this. It wasn’t an easy task to redesign the gardens as we had to consider that it needed to be low maintenance; drivers need to be able to see over the garden for safety reasons and people often walk through the site. Our main ideas were to firstly include a centre piece. Stacked plant pots with flowers are ideal as they are not intrusive enough to block a driver’s view. The overall design has three circle flower

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beds with a variety of colourful flowers. This will be appealing to look at and will mark a change from the previous overgrown bushes. I am proud of taking part in this project as it is a long term benefit to the local community. It will be seen by lots of people due to the site’s proximity to the racecourse. I have enjoyed my experience as it has allowed me to give back to the community I live in and I am also developing my ability to volunteer and work as part of a team. These life skills will certainly benefit me in the future.

My Experience at Ford Castle By Sav Lloyd

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CS has been a great opportunity to make new friends and learn new things. Before I started this project, I knew nobody in my group. This naturally caused anxieties; I questioned whether I would make any friends on NwCS at all. This fear disappeared once I began touring the castle whilst we were on a tour, I made friends with Sammy and Dilbag. We bonded well and, before long, all of our group became friends. I had lots of conversations within the group which accelerated the team-building process. During the week, our friendships developed more and more through activities such as capture the flag and climbing. This made the NCS experience worthwhile; the activities were even more exciting due to these friendships within our group. Something else that was part of my NCS experience was mixing with other people my age who I would not otherwise see. The dorms at Ford Castle were for 11 NCS participants. I only knew two of these people before starting the project, who were my friends from school, meaning that this was a great opportunity to mix with new people. I hence made nine new friends from my dorm, who were nine friends I would not otherwise have had if not for this away residential part of my NCS Programme. Despite still having a core group of friends at the end of the residential, I broadened my social horizons on NCS which will surely benefit me later in life.

s p a r t of ou r s u m m er N C S Programme we were abl e to do 30 hours of volunteering; this involves working with the community to deliver Social Action. We initially went into Guisborough and researched what problems the local people had within the area. We found that more decorations were needed in the area and certain local charities didn’t get enough re s ou rce s . S o m e of ou r g rou p members were interested in animals so we decided that we could link this to our Social Action. We eventually came across Maxi’s Mates, a charity that was originally based at Waterfall Kennels, but now re-located to Carlin Howe. We sent a few members of our group to look around and see how we could help. This new location was in dire need

of renovation, so we decided that we could use the skills that collectively we have as a group to improve the site (e.g. artistic and gardening skills). Our plan is to make the place more appealing to the general public so more dogs there get a better chance of being taken home. To do this we will paint a mural, create a memorial garden for any dogs there that have died in the kennels and clear up the overgrown field. It can then be used for fun days, so the dogs can have a place to play around. This will benefit the community because it will support a very local charity that is currently struggling for any other h ands-on support. This will also get many stray dogs off the s treets and into homes where they can be treated properly. This will improve the community of Guisborough by decreasing the amount of stray dogs in the area.


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NCS Times - Voice of the Community

The NCS Experience By Rhys Petrie

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aying YES to NCS was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made; other than meeting some incredible new friends, I have also developed my personal and social skills. From the first week alone I enh anced my ability to work in a team as a result of the amazing activities I participated in. The activities were canoeing, Jacob’s Ladder and the Obstacle Course. These activities encouraged me to work as part of a team; these are the skills that will remain with me for the rest of my life and will be a valuable asset for my future. As well as this, I developed my ability to publically speak. The residential on the second week involved demonstrating our

many interesting projects to the whole group. The support of the leaders and my peers gave me the confidence and self-belief to speak to a large group of people, despite not being very confident where public speaking is concerned beforehand. In school you hear the same s ta te m e n t s over and over and over again: How do you write a CV? Wh at is going on in politics? You don’t learn any life skills! Here at NCS I have learnt about politics with guest speakers such as local Labour MP Tom Bl enkinsop and local, national and global issues with Graham Hubbard. We discussed the election of new Prime Minister Theresa May, the EU Referendum and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of

the Labour Party. These public speakers helped me to increase my knowledge of these issues; it h as opened my eyes to a broader way of looking at things and enabled me to see a range of views within politics. Fo r i n s t a n c e , w h e n To m Blenkinsop spoke about the EU referendum, he expressed points that I didn’t even realise would affect us in the North East, in some cases I wasn’t even aware the issues existed! Furthermore, we h a d c l a ss e s o n h ow to

A New Lease of Life for Saltburn

write and structure a CV. This included advice from business people who told us key points for any CV. This taught me quite a lot as, at the age of 16, I had little experience about what to include. Currently, whilst writing this article, I am in my third of the four week NCS Project. This means th at I am currentl y planning my Socia l Action Project after the skill building of the previous two weeks. This is exciting as our team is working

on a project that will have an impact on my local community. To do this, we are raising money and awa re n e ss for m e n ta l health issues, most notabl y depression. All funds will be going to Kevin Fryatt’s support group for the now unemployed SSI Steel Workers, who have been devastated by the closure. We will be raising the money by participating in Kevin’s Fun Day and by organising a charity dip in the North Sea at Redcar Beach.

NCS; Helping with the transition to College By Steven Kippax

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By Caitlin Shade

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o create more business opportunities in Saltburn, we have decided to create a tourist information leaflet as part of our NCS Social Action. This will include business locations to attract people who only visit Saltburn for the beach, allowing them to find the other treasures which are part of the beautiful seaside town. Furthermore, the tourist information leaflet will inform people of the different activities that are occurring by the beach. Visitors can also become informed about small business that can be found in the beach area. Our leaflet will be a great use for tourists that aren’t sure of the prime locations around Saltburn or the events that are occurring. Over the past week we coll ected information about Sa ltburn from business owners, locals and tourists to get a wide range of opinions. This helped us to write the leaflet in order to inform tourists of the businesses that they wanted to visit and it helped us promote the businesses that not enough people know about. Researching the local area allowed us to fully understand Saltburn and the community that lives there; this

informed us of what to include in the Tourist Information Leaflet. We also took part in Saltburn Food Festival, a key community exercise. We found that there were no opportunities for the guests to relax. Hence, we decided to create a “chill out area”, which will allow them take a break from the action packed day. Aside from relaxing seating, we promoted NCS and charities in the local area. In the chill out area there will be fun games, bean bags, a photo booth and live music which will be the perfect chance for people to have a seat and admire the area that they’re in. One of the guest speakers Lorna J ackson who was part of our NCS programme inspired us to help out with the Saltburn Food Festival. She is an organiser of the Food Festival who explained that the day included different local businesses who promote themselves and treat the guests to new experiences. We learnt from her how important community events are as they bring everyone together.

s we leave secondary school, we are thrown into a whole new world full of choices; many of us choose to go down the college route. However, with a nine-week summer holida y we can often find ourselves isolated from society meaning we enter college lacking the social skills we need to have the best possible college experience. However, the National Citizen Service has provided us with a four-week experience that has improved our chances of being successful at college exponentially. First of all, we were each presented with a group of similar aged people – many of whom we didn’t already know. This meant that we had to quickly increase our confidence in order to make new friends. Thankfully, as the days went on our confidence increased and we found we could make friends (even those of us who have problems with anxiety). Therefore, I would say the National Citizen Service is an essential programme for all students making the transition to college as it really does give you the self-belief that you can be thrown into a new place with new people and thrive. Whether it be an improved knowledge of politics or a well-tuned sense of teamwork, we have collected many skills that can be transcended into use for college life. In the first week of our programme it was mainl y our teamwork and social skills that were worked on, due to an actionpacked week at Ford Castle involving many outward-bound activities. These new skills will surely be useful in college as we will be able to make new friends and work with new people with ease. This is a necessary challenge as our old friends will no longer be present. Once we had

completed our first week, our second week focused on our ability to present. This will also be necessary for college as we may have to present our work classmates. Furthermore, we developed life skills such as CV building and the ability to deliver work in the community. The knowledge of community issues such as unemployment and depression helped us later on in the project. Moving in to the third and fourth week, we learn how we can undertake social action to improve our community and this will help us be considerate, polite and helpful students in college. All in all, the National Citizen Service has been essential in providing a smooth transition between secondary school and further education (i.e.; College, SixthForm) and has provided us with skills that will last us a lifetime. It was an essential experience th at I would recommend to all sixteen year olds because it has allowed our life chances to be improved significantl y. All of us on this summer project are thankful for the opportunities NCS has given us and we look forward to seeing each other again as we transition into college.


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NCS Times - Voice of the Community

Unexpected Experiences By Hollie Dean and Matthew Clarke

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CS can be a source of exciting new friendships a s we l l a s un ex p e c te d experiences. For instance, on the 8th of July, Group B went canoeing. There was a accident; Dennen dropped a paddl e into the lake which roll ed down the river. Someone then helped b y t h r o wi n g t h e p a d d l e back, which failed, so I then attempted to help. Suddenly, we were submerged into the ice-cold water. What followed was 10 seconds of frantic scrambling for air; I couldn’t swim! Luckil y the lake was only one-foot-deep, so I was in no real danger. Looking back, this was part of the thrill of spending a week outdoors. S o m eth i n g eve n m ore unexpected happened to my friend, Hollie. To bring some fun to Ford Castl e, I ran a disco for the final two nights. This brought our entire NCS programme together through dancing and entertainment. It was a great wa y to end the away residential, which

completed our team-building experience. We spent time with another NCS programme, from Newcastle. Our two projects shared the disco fun together. Friendships were built, and even a surprise relationship.

A s i d e f ro m o t h e r yo un g people on our NCS project, we also made friends with members of a different NCS provider. This shows how we used our new social mixing skills further; it was fun to

By Tom McGairy

By Eleanor Macgregor and Brandon Mullan

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how the week away at Ford Castle was so worthwhile for us in developing social skills. Even if developed social skills does not provide useful in the future, I will always have those extra Facebook friends!

Wood You Survive?

Believe, Achieve and Receive hroughout my experience during N C S I h ave n ot i ce d that my confidence has increased. “Before joining NCS I was quite a shy person; I would be scared to get up and talk in front of peopl e at school. This began to change on NCS after learning to present our ideas in front of a group. On the first day of this week, I knew that I had to face my fears. I managed to do this and consequently can now confidently speak in front of a crowd. NCS is hence definitely a great way to interact with new people and do things you would otherwise have not been able to do. If you have the opportunity to participate in NCS I would definitely take it; I am a completely different person than I was before.” – Eleanor “Throughout my experience during NCS I believe that I have pushed my physical boundaries and have improved my team building skills. There were various activities where I pushed my comfort zone to try new things. For example, there was rafting, caving, a 12 mile walk and orienteering. On the subject of the 12 mile walk I actually did not complete it because of an accident that occurred from another member of the group. I felt disappointed that I could not finish the walk but, heard from the other groups that it was quite a challenge and when they returned they were shattered so I was quite lucky really!” – Brandon “NCS has made not only a few people’s lives different but has affected a wide variety of young adults. We may not have believed we complete the project at first but as we progressed everyone believed in themselves and each other. Each individual has achieved something different whether it being an increase in confidence like me or increased independence and responsibility. We have learned the ability to interact with other people and have gained friendships. I’m very happy I participated on NCS and others would agree with me too.” – Eleanor

meet more new people at Ford Castle. Before NCS I would have been reluctant to make friends with certain members of our own NCS project, never mind people from a whole different area of the country! This shows

and Scott Mann

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ave you g ot w h a t i t takes to survive in the unknown? Ever wondered whether you’re cut out to thrive away from modern society? Well we certainly found out! On day three of our residential at Ford Castle, Northumberland, we braved the blistering heat, travelled along the narrow paths, slipping and sliding in the treacherous conditions. Our aim was to set up a camp and fire; a true outdoor challenge! U p o n d e c i d i n g w h e re to make camp we began by splitting up to coll ect resources; dry wood for the fire, sturdy branches and bracken for the shelter as well as ivy and larch to secure the structure. The whole group persevered, making a Y-frame from robust branches and a beam spanning between t w o te n a c i o u s tre e s t o establish a frame. The next stage was to lay branches out and cover the surface with moss and bracken for waterproofing, weaving it as tight as possible. When confident that the shelter was complete, we were subjected to rigorous safety measures to

deal with anything they could throw at us. Sure enough we passed this test; we knew we had to make a strong shelter th at could withstand the elements. Only a few drops of water made it through and the structure held up. Our next priority was fire. When camp was arranged, as a unit (commanded by Caveman Scott) we worked tirelessly taking it in turns to use a broken fire steel in the hopes of lighting the fire. However, morale was drained after many futil e attempts. Subsequently few resilient group members remained – not to be beaten. M e a nw h il e oth er g rou p members had to fend off rival tribes in the surrounding area. Some resorted to desperate measures to restore spirits again. Paul being Paul even leapt face first into a mud

bath and then decided to pamper Warrior Max (our assistant leader) with the ultimate spa treatment and face mask. Shortl y after, our dedicated efforts were rewarded by the roar of the inferno but we had to careful not to smother it. Cautiously, we coaxed the crackling fire into a blaze. Regrettably, just as soon as fire was unleashed we had to extinguish it and leave our hard work behind at the end of the day. We endured this gruelling experience which made us stronger and able to conquer unfamiliar challenges whilst severed from civilisation. Overall, we feel that during our NCS journey, our team h as l earned how to work together to overcome any obstacl e, bond with each other as a group and make memories to last a lifetime.


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NCS Times - Voice of the Community

Life’s Challenges

Excuses for Racism?

By Beth Derry and Chloe Tyreman

is a good thing for Britain, but it Immigration is also true that it can lead to overpopulation?

The views of others can be justified in wanting to reduce immigration to prevent overpopulation. As supporters of immigration into the United Kingdom we do understand there is a limit to how many people can be allowed in to our country and given a home/ job. However, it is also important to be aware of racism in Britain. Therefore, we hope our article can open your eyes to the ignorance and brutality of racism today. In recent events there has been a lot of talk about immigrants coming into Britain. Some people believe that immigrants have come into OUR country and are consequently ‘stealing’ British jobs. However, a genuine cause in the growth of immigration is the fact that wars are tearing immigrants’ countries apart. Do we just stand back and watch innocent lives be taken away from an issue that is affecting us all? What would you do if Britain was at war and you needed a new country? These are genuine points that must be considered when thinking about immigration. A recent Daily Mail article claimed that “60% of young people surveyed in a British Council poll thought the presence of foreign immigrants was ‘diluting’ their sense of national identity”. It is therefore clear that there is a sense of apprehension about immigrants, which is likely based on truth about pressure on public services. However, there is also backlash to this antiimmigrant attitude among other young people. Poppy Elise says: “I don’t like when people say this because they are doing jobs we are too lazy to do.” Elijah’s view is similar to Poppy’s with the words: “It’s only an excuse so they don’t look lazy for doing nothing.” This shows how there are mature views on both sides of the immigration argument. Personally, I think that immigrants should be admired for having the drive and goals to succeed in a foreign country. I see attempts to reduce immigration as stopping them for realising their full potential. Some immigrants are more than willing to do the jobs that we think we are too good for because they care so much for the safety and well-being of their families, which is their reasoning for coming to this country. Maybe if we had the same mentality as them we would get further as individuals and a country as a whole. It is also however important to enforce laws that prevent recent immigrants from living in Britain with no registered job, to ensure that immigration maintains public support and is controlled. When considering racism, it is not born but bred. Therefore, we simply need to work on preventing racism developing in the first place. Currentl y, racism is a hot topic due to its discussion in the run-up to the EU referendum vote. The rate of hate crimes has increased dramatically in this period. This is because everybody had opinions, often conflicting ones. However, the reality of this is that it is an issue that keeps cropping up time and time again. We hence need to work together to prevent racism developing in the future, as it will likely not go away of its own accord.

By Georgia Dixon

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n 2013 my friend Georgina Anderson was diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. The horrific news left me numb. Georgina’s close friends agreed to support her throughout this unpredictable period of time. Millions of questions were crammed in my head. Why her? Georgina inspired the whole of Redcar and Cleveland through different ways such as music. A few days before her cover of Bon Iver’s I Can’t Make You Love Me went viral, she passed away. Her determination and courage had left me startled; she opened my eyes to a whole new world. I quickly learnt not to take a second of my life for granted. I spent the next year attending and getting involved in charity events in her name. Just like Georgina had shown me, I wanted to go the extra mile (literally). I chose my challenge and stared it straight in the face. Ingleborough Mountain. I wouldn’t describe myself as a particularly ‘outdoorsy’ person, however I felt this was a fitting tribute to my friend. It had been a year since she passed, and at this time I felt it was important to show some personal recognition for Teenage Cancer Trusts outstanding charity. Having visited Georgina in hospital, in a TCT ward, I became aware of the enormous amount of support and help the charity gave to herself and her family. The facilities were brilliant. We had a tour of the ward and it was second to none. As some people may know, being in hospital for a day is frustrating, never mind weeks or months! The staff at the hospital were extremely helpful

which encouraged me to give something back. They deserved it. As I traipsed up the mountain, it seemed never ending. I h ad one thing keeping me going and one thing onl y. I quickl y broke through my negative barricade. Georgina persevered throughout some unimaginable circumstances, I was only walking up a mountain. This pushed me further towards the top. I worked physically hard to reach the top of the mountain, and to say I made it was truly amazing. In a sense I felt I was closer to Georgina up there then I could ever be again. I took it all in. The view. The chilly breeze I had crawling up my spine. Everything. Recentl y, I h ave been taking part in NCS to expand my life skills. A key NCS principle is Inspiration. Fittingl y, we stumbl ed upon Ingleborough Mountain. This reminded me of my personal challenge from a year earlier. My team (team 5) accepted the challenge; I then witnessed other members of my team struggle with psychological perseverance. I had overcome this task before, I knew it was possible. Helping my team keep going and stay positive was a challenge in its self, as the physical side is painful and exhausting. The weather was awful which really affected how quickly we walked. Once we made it to the top, I experienced the magical feeling I had felt once before. NCS has taught me many things I can apply and use in my everyday life. Also, Georgina had a huge effect on how I manage and accept things that get thrown at me. A well-known saying Georgina said was: “You’ve just got to take it day by day.” I repeat this to myself many times a day.


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NCS Times - Voice of the Community

Leadership on NCS By George Miller NCS Grad 2014

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hen I was first approached to be an assistant team leader for NCS Imagineyoucan this year, I was trepidatious about taking on the role. This is because I had never seen myself as a teacher and mentor, however I would not shy away from the challenge. This has turned out to be such a worthwhile process due to the life lessons I have learnt and also the reward of seeing young people develop and do something productive in the community. A large part of my experience h as therefore involved taking on increased responsibility. For example, I have helped run activities such as the team building of the first day and then reflection at the end of each session. Now, when it comes to ensuring that young people are either adequately prepared for hikes, confident enough to pitch a business idea to the whole Imagineyoucan project or prepared for a Bake Sale to raise money for charity, I have taken on an important leadership role. There have been times when this responsibility has been testing, namely having to stay up until 2am to ensure all of the young people were in their rooms, however it has been worth it to take part in this amazing programme. It was rewarding to see how the young people developed day on day, especially when they smashed targets such as reaching the top of a climbing

wall. Sometimes, all the students need is some inspiration to continue and take part in a challenge. Acts such as convincing young people to take part in new things are not typical of a summer job, however extremely worthwhile. This made me feel as if I achieved something practical, as the young people will use

their experiences from NCS in the future. In conclusion, I would say that my role as part of NCS has been extremel y beneficial to not only the community due to the Social Action I have helped with, but also the young people in my NCS team and myself. I have contributed to the social mixing which is a key part

of NCS and also inspired some of my team to become further involved with NCS in the future! I would recommend getting involved with NCS to anyone, you could be a part of the experiences I have described and create amazing bonds with fellow NCS staff and see young people develop!

My Review of NCS By Connor Scott

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y experience on NCS was incredible; I enjoyed every minute. I even managed to overcome being ill for two days of the home residential. One reason why I signed up to NCS was to do some work in the community, which I had not previously done. Furthermore, I saw the second week as a great opportunity to build up skills such as CV building and presenting. This turned out to be more than just lengthy and boring presentations meaning that I benefitted my future in a fun and engaging way. I found that our team leaders followed the plan but also delivered in an enjoyable way. Despite h aving some quarrels within our team, we worked together well in team orientated activities such as group raft building. Th e f i r s t we e k i nvo l ve d a two hour coach journey, which was a little cramped but full of anticipation. This was a sampl e of the week to come which was packed f ul l of f un a c t i v i t i e s a nd free time. We hiked up a mountain, went caving, and built and rode a raft! These are things I never thought I would do in a course related to

community action. As a result of these outdoor activities, our team bonded ready for co m m un i t y a c t i o n i n th e following weeks. My favourite part of this residential was the raft building and riding. This is because it allowed us to learn about knots and come together as a team to make a group vessel, which would compete against other teams. Despite being the first person to fall into the freezing water, I thoroughl y enjoyed the experience. Aside from the excitement of building a raft from scratch, I was given the chance to swim in the outdoors. The sense of adventure was thrilling which was only enhanced after being the first to fall into the water. The key question that we then faced was; who made the best raft? Although we thought the rafts were incredibly similar (both teams managed to find a similarl y hardy design), I think that ours just had the e d g e s e e n a s th ou g h we remained perfectly balanced throughout the session! When considering the whole course, my favourite part was the first residential. This is because I impressivel y overcame a mountain and plunged into deep caves. I enjoyed the second residential

as it trul y showed that any number of people can come together as an efficient team and wor k e f fe c t i ve l y ; we mana ged to create a new political party and tried to gain seats in a simulated

election. Furthermore, we also tried to start a new company either selling products or providing a service to then pitch these ideas to a Dragon’s Den type of situation. This experience has been special

to me as I have made some great friends and had some really enjoyable experiences, w h et h e r i t s h i k i n g u p a mountain or creating a new politica l party I will trul y remember this experience.


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NCS Times - Voice of the Community

Inspiring Independence By Neville Mupazviriho

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oung entrepreneurs; where are you? Most teens today hate being told what to do and when to do it, so setting up a business would be the perfect way to earn money independently! Additionally, why do what you hate? Surely being in charge of your own future and starting your own business from scratch would be a better alternative. I bet it doesn’t sound bad! There are many role models within society to aspire to such as Mark Zuckerberg and Ralph Lauren. Be your own boss like them; this small step could lead to a whole new future. I’m not saying you’re going to become a millionaire or anything; it is far-fetched after all. The extent of what I’m saying is that there is potential to do great things. Lots of companies admire an entrepreneurial mind-set which shows you know how to work hard and independently. Furthermore, the confidence skills that come hand in hand with selling your product or service will help you succeed in every aspect of life. I myself currently have a successful egg business called Nev’s Eggs, delivering eggs on the “Cheap Cheap”. Not only that but I am also starting to develop my own t-shirt company with the aim to establish as a ma jor brand within the next 8 years. Start local and expand. It’s a lot easier than it sounds. I am not saying it happens on its own, but don’t set your sights lower than they should be. There is nothing that cannot be achieved with enough ambition. My business plan is a steady and step by step plan which allows me to be relaxed and not worry about what I have to do next. I know what is going on and, most importantly, when and where. My goal is to use as little help as possible. This is because I am still learning a great deal about the world of business. As I learn more and more, my independence further develops. A key lesson I have learned is that if you want something done, all it takes is to trust yourself.


NCS Times - Voice of the Community

The Gaping Six Weeks Holiday By Amie Watts

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he Six Weeks Holiday is a prodigy to most children. As the y s tep out of their school gates for the last time that summer, they know that the only things that await them are adventures and lazy warm days with ice-cream dripping down their arm. But for others, the Six Weeks Holiday can also become a burden, with approximately 1008 hours free throughout the summer and not one clue on how to spend them. However, when I heard of NCS, I knew that it could help me defeat boredom. This would involve four weeks with organised activities and two weeks of residential; this would also help me learn new skills for college and future life. In the first week we stayed at Ingleborough Hall, an outdoors centre in a small village close to the three peaks, surrounded by heather and sheep. It was a three-hour drive from our small home towns on the North East coast yet, with every single mile we put between us and our parents, we began to feel that bit more independent and responsible. Through the five days of residential we took part in many different activities causing us to become closer as

friends and as a unit. Now to the high point of our experience. Yes, the pun is intended, no I’m not proud. Sorry. Our adventure reall y began with scaling one of the three peaks, Ingl eborough Mountain. The harsh conditions left nothing to be desired as we began the treacherous a s c e n t , wi th l a s h i n g ra i n and mercil ess wind making every step a trial. Gaping Gill signified our first respite since beginning the hard journey, with tuna sandwiches, apples and ready salted crisps tasting like, well, calories. Energy for the burning calves and thighs was destined to be a factor in the near future. Mike, or as we were, for an unknown reason, calling him Dave led us up the last stretch of the peak. This seemed surreal, as we pierced the dense layer of fog that shrouded the peak. Th e s u r round i n g fa r m i n g landscape that preceded the Irish Sea was now replaced by an opaque wall of white. This rise had completely exhausted my energy supplies as well as my mental concentration span but it h ad given me so much more th at it h ad taken. An overwhelming sense of accomplishment and independence!

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NCS Times - Voice of the Community

Speaking Up By Mary King-Forward

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chievements - For me personall y, achieving something doesn’t mean receiving a materialistic object, which can simply be a piece of plastic to tell you that you have achieved something. Don’t get me wrong, a medal or a trophy is definitely a form of an achievement. This is something that forever symbolises your successes, which is directly shown. Importantly however, achievements can also come in many other shapes and forms. In life we have all experienced times where pressures are immense and it is tempting to just give up and shy away from challenges. I personally have faced challenges which I could have shied away from, that could have defeated me.

Did I let them? For me, life suddenly changed for the better recently. Was that change an easy ride? No it wasn’t. I felt vulnerable. In life it is important not to falter at the first hurdle, which I have learnt here at NCS and in life. My first hurdle was going into care, the atmosphere that surrounded me was dark and hopeless. The process started with a release of truth; this allowed me to come to terms with my situation. I then took a deep breath, the school mentor wide eyed and shocked. I guess the reality which was my life came across as a living hell. She looked at me sympathetically as her eyes searched the ghostly quite room for refuge. Lips then moved rapidly in simultaneous motion. But I couldn’t hear a word. I looked blankly.

My Story So Far By Chloe Haley

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y NCS experience so far is rewarding and successful; there has been some fun, exciting activities as well as the boring but interesting information on life situations such as pitching an idea and creating a CV. My first week on NCS was away at Ingleborough Hall outdoor centre. This was an enjoyable place to stay due to how lots of activities such as rock climbing and raft-building were based on site. This meant that we did not have to walk or travel far to experience new challenges. There was an exception, which was walking up Ingleborough Peak. This was extremely tiring, but rewarding. I personally had never done something like this before meaning there was a real sense of achievement once I completed this walk. For all of the activities, we worked in a group such as when caving, abseiling, rock climbing and raft building. The actives throughout the week were all fun and a good laugh. This is because we undertook social mixing and each bonded with people new to us. We also overcame new fears. For example, some members of the group had a fear off being in open water, some a fear of water completely and many of us had a fear of small spaces. This made the caving a key challenge. Notably, this involved crawling through running water and even sliding through some cavities! Something that showed how our team bonded was that we never wanted our group to split up; we always endeavoured to stick

My body was present but my mind was paralysed. Non responsive. I had locked myself in to the outside world. That was my defence mechanism. I managed somehow to get into the social worker’s car still non responsive. Where would I stay? Who would I stay with? I focused on that. I was totall y oblivious to the fact that each mile the car travelled, it was further away from that dark place, that last chapter. The monster that haunted me for three years. No looking over my shoulder; I am free. It was clear to me that I had just achieved something significant by speaking up. Time had passed and all I could see was the over powering rain beat the car, traveling as fast as my racing heart. I could feel myself shaking and freezing.

I needed to embrace my choice, my decision, my risk. After all, that’s what it was. I kept having flash backs of before and the people who I loved and how far away I was. All so that the toxins of that last chapter no longer described my life. Now, I h ave moved on from this experience and have taken up new opportunities such as NCS. Skills I have learnt such as teamwork, confidence from presenting and the ability to challenge myself will allow me to succeed later in life. So did I achieve? I moved from a dark place to a light place. I kept grounded and that drove me to excel. So that’s my achievement. No gold medal, certificate or trophy. I got a stronger me. And I am thankful for that. A victim is alone, until you speak up. You’re not alone.

together (literally at times) when navigating the caves. My second week on NCS was away at Hunley Hotel and Golf Club. This was again a pleasant place to stay where we underwent new experiences. The focus for this week was wider life skills and knowledge. I learnt new information about topics that I previously had no knowledge such as politics. I now have knowledge about the main political parties, which was put to good use once our group had discussions and even arguments about the way our country should be run. By the end of the week, I clearly developed presentation skills. I was extremely reluctant to present when I began the week, however my skills dramatically improved to the point where I managed to present in front of the whole project by Thursday. Being amongst the whole group gave me the confidence to do this; which was such a worthwhile experience! My third week on NCS was at Redcar College looking at ideas for our Social Action project. The charity we have decided to work with is The Link, who support children from the ages of 3 to 18 through difficult experiences. We also moved onto planning how we will raise money and awareness. We planned an Alice in Wonderland Themed Bake Sale at Kirkleatham and then an awareness stall in Redcar that same week. We will finally be able to show how all our planning over the last week will pay off when we raise awareness of The Link in our area and receive donations. Overall, I am extremely happy that I chose to do NCS this year as I have used my summer productively in a variety of different ways. I have developed friendships within my team, mixed with new people and have learnt new life skills like presenting and working under time pressure. I would recommend participating in NCS; you will have the opportunity to replicate the excitement of my summer!


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