Voice of the Community
NCS- Will you say YES? By Joely Clark, Molly Catterall & Eleanor Temple
r i d a y th e 1 3 th ( un l u c ky f or s o m e) wa s a c t u a l l y a we e ke nd f ul l of f un a nd adventure. For those 32 intrepid explorers, w h o co m pl ete d th e N C S residential at Peat Rigg, the journey had just begun. The group, consisting of just six boys and 26 girls, were there to either improve some key skills, stretch their comfort zones or simply because it would enhance their university applications. Through the winding roads of the Yorkshire countryside, the young peopl e began to speculate
about what was to come. Upon arriving, feelings of anticipation and excitement heightened as we were introduced to our leaders – people who we later to come to know as people we could trust. O n e th i n g wa s for s u re : this experience was going to provide a challenge that we had never experienced before. Immediately, we were thrown into the deep end with the announcement that we were doing orienteering (in the pitch black)! Having just been put into our teams, the idea of working with people that we didn’t know seemed daunting. Not only this, but the 100 acres and having
to walk into the unknown left us uncertain … especially when discovering fields of sheep. After the compl etion of this ‘ice-breaker’, we knew that the rest of the weekend would be amazing. Each team had to complete the following activities: cratestacking, archery, bushcraft, zipline and abseiling. Also every morning and afternoon, each team h ad review meetings where we would el ect team l eaders and refl ect on the da y’s activities to highlight our strengths and weaknesses. All of these chall enges were designed to enh ance our collaboration skills and stretch our comfort zones. Not onl y did this experience push us physicall y, it also aided our emotional development as we forged friendships quickly. Over the weekend, the weaknesses list shortened as we grew as a team and got to know each other better. To finish off this brilliant
or many, the residential to Peat Rigg allowed them to step out of their comfort zones, overcoming personal fears such as heights, achieving so through zip wire and abseiling. For me personall y, it was not in fact the adrenaline pumping activities which pushed me out of m y c o m f or t z o n e , b u t th e requirement to communicate with people I did not know, as up until this point I often found it difficult to find the words to express myself to others. Throughout school, I have found co m for t wi th i n a fa i r l y c l o s e friendship group which was carried through up until sixth form. Up till now, I’ve seen no real need to branch out and find more confidence, and so on the first day, I found
myself in a slightly shocked when surrounded by new faces. Being split off into groups with teamwork and communication becoming a central theme my comfort zone was definitely stretched, yet as the days went by, the easier it became. Truthfull y, I went into the NCS project believing it would make an impact onto my university application, rather than my life. Upon refl ection, it h as offered much more. I have found myself in a position where I can comfortably speak in front of others much more than before, without fear of judgement; demonstrated within activities following the weekend, such activities I would not do before this valuable experience. N C S tr u l y d i d e x c e e d m y expectations, marking a change in my self-confidence and as a result of this, my personality.
By Jenny Dalton, Abbie Norman and Shami Gundu
h e n th i r t y c i t y te e n a g er s a re ‘stranded’ in the middl e of the countryside you can expect a few things. One, they will complain about the cold, the mud and the smell of sheep poop. And two, there is a possibility of complete anarchy when there is no Twitter, no Facebook, no 3G and no phone signal... However, somehow, all thirty of us managed to survive. Yes, ninety percent of us were wondering if a zombie apocalypse had broken out in the three days that we were gone and every time someone got a glimmer of signal, half a bar at best, there was an outcry of “SIGNAL!” before a mass rush to the said magical spot to try and capture a moment from back in civilisation. When we went abseiling on day three (off a sixty foot bridge might I add!), and we came to realise that somehow the people
Top tips to triumph In the testing season By Bryndleigh Elliott-Wright, Elizabeth Massingham & Alexandra Pinyoun you find yourself drowning in Dostress during the exam period?
You’re not the only one; many other students find themselves in the same position as you in the run up to exams. They may struggle with organisation, preparation and stress. One of the most important aspects to being successful is organisation; ensuring you are fully prepared for the exams ahead is key. Creating revision timetables to balance out college life, social life and revision is a great way to ensure this. Websites such as www. getrevising.co.uk can be extremel y useful; they give you a step by step way to produce your own personal timetable. Remember when making your timetable
news style mock-up and a heartwarming song. This residentia l was the best way to kick-start our NCS experience, as not only did it challenge us but it provided us with a flavour of the NCS journey that we had yet to complete.
Surviving without phone signal: The NCS Experience
Stretching comfort zones Self confidence By Izaak Oliver
experience, we were given a task to summarise our experiences in a creative way and sh are all that we had learnt with our leaders and new-found friends. Each group put their own unique twist on this; the presentations included a big brother sketch, a
to never allocate yourself more than one hour without a break. Creating, labelling and organising folders for each of your subjects will also help keep your work organised and in one place. Separating them using dividers for each unit or topic of work, will make it easy to refer back to your previous work when the time comes to begin revising too. Now you are prepared to revise, you
in the surrounding villages managed to live normal lives without the internet, and it dawned on us that our generation had become so attached to it. We also, on this trip, were able to clarify that our suspicions were incorrect and a zombie apocalypse had not broken out. It felt as if we had been sent back to the Stone Age and became part of the TV programme 10,000 BC. This feeling was magnified times one thousand when it came to starting fires with bits of metal and some dried wood, it was as though the cavemen themselves had returned. The entire weekend was a wakeup call of adventures and new experiences which took us out of our city comfort zone and threw us back in time to life without mobile phones and technology. For some of us, the loss of phone signal was a nightmare. However, towards the end of the weekend, we began to realise that maybe not having phone signal wasn’t the worst thing in the world to happen to the modern teenager.
need to consider the methods you’ll use personally; these will differ from person to person. Highlighting key words or post-it notes with information o n i n d i f fere n t co l ou r s a re g re a t methods if you’re a visual learner. If you’re kinaesthetic learner flash cards may be more helpful for you to use; they allow you to create games based around your subject information. Other methods include making mind maps of the important and key information, or making a glossary of key words as in many exams, not using key vocabulary can lose you marks. Completing and marking past papers is also an easy way to revise as it’s possible that the question on your exam will be a re-wording of a past one. Before an exam do not cram everything in the night before. Give yourself plenty of time to revise, so just go over the night before key parts and make sure you are one hundred percent sure you know what will be coming up. Make sure you get a good night sleep the night before the exam, so you wake up fresh and ready. Drink lots of water and don’t
forget to eat as well. The most important thing to remember is don’t over work yourself, as this can cause many issues. On the day of the exam, make sure you have something to eat before you go into the exam. Make sure you have a clear pencil case in with everything you need to use, and take in a clear bottle of water. Some exam boards allow you to take sweets in as long as they don’t have a wrapper and are in a clear bag, which can help some peopl e concentrate. When you get the paper check all the information on the front, as it is there for a reason! Then have a highlighter at the ready, so as you read through the question highlight the keywords that will help you answer the question, and always re-read it. Then look at how many marks it is as it indicates how many points you will have to make. Remember in maths or equation questions always show you’re working out, as you can pick up marks for this even if your answer is wrong. We would like to wish you good luck for all your exams and hope you follow some of our tips, as they’ve worked for us!
Voice of the Community
Steph McGovern Teesside through and through
Social Action - The Junction
Joy Up The Junction By Joely Clark
n Friday 19th February, a group of determined young peopl e ( i n c l u d i n g m e) , f ro m M a c m il l a n A c a d e m y, N u n t h o r p e S c h o o l , Middlesbrough College, Prior Pursglove, Redcar College, Scarborough 6th form, Whitby College, Stockton Riverside and CCAD had a plan. We were all part of Imagine You Can’s February 2015 National Citizen Service (NCS).
By Karl Gergely, Abbie Norman & Jenny Dalton
uring our February NCS project we were visited by one of the BBC TV Breakfast presenters Steph McGovern. She is particularl y adept in the field of business, presenting a range of companies in different lights. Moreover, she h as flourished in her role, despite backlash over her background and Northern origins. Since her secondary school days, Steph has been involved in media and has always had a keen interest in spreading the local news. She spoke about her struggl e to get to her current position at the BBC, in which her accent played a part. However, despite this she carried on working through the obstacles to become a permanent member of the BBC. When presenting she prefers to be more h ands on to make the broadcast more intriguing for the viewers; a contrast to the sometimes more traditiona l s tyl e of news presenting. She often presents live reports and memorises all of the information that she is required to say to the public. Although she does make errors she isn’t fazed by any of this and continues to present the report in the manner in which she
has become well known for. Whilst beginning life at the BBC, Steph had an unexpected run in with a famous face. She mentioned the fact that on her first live radio broadcast she ran into Bono, from rock band U2, and went on to say that after an awkward handshake fail, Bono pull ed her into a rib crushing hug. Not onl y that, but moments later Chris Evans, walked in and waved hello. Only later did she find out, Chris had assumed Steph was simply Bono’s squeeze and introduced her to the country on live radio as “the girl I thought was Bono’s bit on the side!” Steph capped off her speech to us with an inspirational lesson, which revolved around the significance of staying true to yourself. This is especially salient, with the NCS team aspiring to venture into the ‘big, wide, world’ in the near future. Steph McGovern is an excellent example of both perseverance and commitment; her case is especially rel evant with Steph being from Teesside. Her views were relatable and she came across as a grounded, easy-going individual. Furthermore, she is a success story, which many youngsters across the region can hope to emulate, sometime in the near future.
Our plan was to ‘Do Up The Junction’ in Redcar. This was going to form the social action part of our NCS project, which encourages young people to make a difference in their local community. The Junction is a local based charity committed to making a positive change in the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged young peopl e, a ged from 14 to 25. They offer a range of valuable services including counselling, family support and access to facilities and information such as training and employment opportunities. Upon research of the Junction, all of us felt that it that was a very worthwhile cause that we were very capable of helping. Building on our research, the CEO of the Junction Foundation, Lawrence McAnelly, came to speak to us about the important work that the Junction does – he explained his ideas for the refurbishment of part of the Junction’s offices, thus helping us plan our own designs. After hearing his talk, we were more enthused than ever to decorate and ‘Do Up The Junction’ in the best way possible. In conjunction with this, our NCS team also decided to create a promotional video for the charity to effectively advertise the amazing job the Junction do, on a daily basis. Our task was to decorate three areas of the building: the kitchen, the guidance room and the entrance – immediately we got to work on sanding down the walls ready for a first coat of paint to be applied. Within, the first two days, we successfully managed to get all the paint on the walls so that on the last day, we could bring our vision for the Junction to life. Each group had their own tree to draw and paint, which incorporated many bright colours into the design, this along with a chalkboard wall ensured that the building was looking a lot happier than formerly. We bought the decorating materials
and new kitchen appliances to ‘Do Up the Junction’ such as a cooker, microwave, toaster, tables, chairs and cutlery with the help of funding provided by Starbucks…all in lime green of course. The Starbucks funding for the project was secured by Alexandra Moylan-Jones who is an NCS graduate from the summer 2014 NCS project. Alexandra pitched for the funding at a Dragons Den style interview in December 2014., As the last hours of the project drew to a close, it was clear that we had achieved our aims for the project and we had helped to make a difference in our local community. It was a great experience especially as most of us had never met before we started our NCS project. We made new friends and learned how much could be achieved working together as a team. For more information on the Junction Foundation, visit http://www.thejunctionfoundation.com/
Craig McCann - “ Do one more thing every day” By Alex Pinyoun
raig McCann is a Paralympian, who competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Before we researched about him or met him, we stereotyped him; we thought he would have been an aspiring sports enthusiast right from day one. However he has an unusual twist to his story, which makes him stand out from the crowd. Craig’s story is interesting and inspirational, as he has defied all odds and worked hard to represent Great Britain. His story starts with him being a typical teenage boy and not wanting to be in school or working hard to do well. This caused him to leave school with no qualifications and essentially “a sheet of paper that said thank you for being there, hope you enjoyed your time and see you later.” He also struggled to find motivation at college and left with similar results. He soon decided that he needed to get his life back on track and so made the decision to join the armed forces. His lack of qualifications meant that his choice
of jobs was limited, but found a position and attended the standard military medical examination, expecting to pass and begin his nine year term in the Royal Air Force. However, the doctor discovered an issue with his hearing, and, after further tests, they discovered that he had a brain tumour. After an operation to remove the tumour, Craig told us about the difficulties he faced during his recovery. He had suffered some nerve damage which meant he
faced physical difficulties to rebuild his strength to walk, but the recovery was also mentally challenging: as he felt isolated and exhausted in hospital. During this time however, his doctor gave him a piece of information that has stayed with him for the rest of his life – he told him that nerves grow back 1mm a day, but that if he kept active, they would grow back quicker. This idea that he should do ‘one more thing everyday’ stayed with him, and helped him reach many goals. Since then, Craig has gone on to beat personal demons such as depression, and took up sport whilst taking a law degree at uni. He initially took up rowing, but was spotted at a ‘Paralympics Potential’ scouting event by the British Disabled Fencing Association, and went on to represent Great Britain in the London 2012 Paralympics. He then took up cycling, and is currently the British number 1 paracyclist. Craig’s talk was inspiring and motivational and made us realise that, no matter what difficulties you face in life, with the right philosophy and outlook, you can achieve everything you want.
Voice of the Community
NCS Graduation Night Imagine You Can NCS Spring 2015 Graduation Night
By James Mercer
e organised our Spring Graduation at Macmillan Academy along with some influential guests to celebrate the completion of our NCS project. After a long two hours of rehearsing scripts, our soonto-be graduates started to arrive, along with family and friends, to see the result of all our hard work. The evening kicked off with a short clip showing what we got up to on our outward bound experience at Peat Rigg. It was amazing to see it from a different angl e, with the view from a Go Pro stick making zip-lining look awesome! After a brief introduction from Kris, one of our leaders, we introduced Bryndl eigh and Joel y to remind us about two guests who’d spoken to us earlier in our project: paralympian C ra i g M c C a n n a n d BB C presenter Steph McGovern. We saw some of Steph’s talk,
which reminded us of her main message: don’t change who you are and be proud of where you come from. Steph’s inspirational talk was followed by ‘NCS Newsnight’ where we interviewed several l o c a l p o l i t i c i an s . I t wa s interesting to find out how the different parties viewed issues surrounding young people, such as the voting age. Then we invited two NCS graduates and leaders, Beth and Alexandra, to the stage. They spoke about how many different opportunities h a d b e e n o pe n e d u p to them th anks to the NCS
programme, and told us that although we’d finished our project, we would get many more chances to develop our skills. Their key message was ‘you haven’t done NCS, you are doing NCS’. Af ter th e i r ta l k , th e y introduced a film we’d made to promote The Junction. I t wa s g re a t t o s e e th e final result, which I’m sure will be a great tool to help more people hear about the charity. This was followed up by a brief speech from Lawrence McAnelly, CEO of The Junction, who thanked us for our hard work during
the project. Next came the moment everyone h ad been waiting for! Our local MP for Middl esbrough South and East Cl eveland, Tom Blenkinsop, came to present us with our certificates, and we all felt proud as we collected them to rounds of applause. Tom gave a short speech, telling us how good it was that we were getting involved in projects such as NCS and that he hopes the programme continues. A f te r a f i n a l g o o d b y e messa ge, we s ta yed for drinks and chatted to the
friends we had made during the project. Will Goodhand, Conservative candidate for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, came to join in with the festivities and speak to us. It was a sad moment when we had to go, but many of us made plans to meet up with our new friends again. Overall, it was a brilliant night where we celebrated our success, had a few laughs and were congratulated by influential guests. But it certainly wasn’t the end of our NCS experience; it was clear that it’s only just begun!
The NCS Voice of the Community Written by the NCS Students from East Cleveland, Redcar, Middlesbrough, Stockton & Whitby.