More than 500 young people from across the greater Exeter area will be setting out on a summer of adventure as they take part in this year’s National Citizen Service programme.
Designed to support young people as they ‘come of age’, National Citizen Service (NCS) is delivered in Devon by the CITY Community Trust.
It is also supported by local businesses who give their time in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ session.
The programme consists of four phases, which include a week’s stay in the Brecon Beacons, social skills development which support the transition to adulthood and a social action project.
Danny Harris, deputy head of community at CITY Community Trust, who oversees the programme, said: ‘NCS aims to be a rite of passage for 16 and 17 year olds, supporting young people as they transition to adult life.
‘We aim to help them develop their life skills, strength of character, including sense of well-being, confidence, self-awareness and sense of social responsibility.’
He added: ‘NCS was established because of concerns that young people were coming of age in a country that was becoming more divided and experiencing declining levels of social trust.’
NCS was formed to meet three main needs:
• Social cohesion - Building stronger, more integrated communities.
• Social mobility - Equipping all young people with essential skills for work and life.
• Civic engagement - The need for a more engaged society in which young people are more aware of and willing to help tackle problems in their own communities.
At the end of the programme the participants plan and deliver their own social action project. Part of their experience is to pitch their projects in a ‘Dragons’ Den’ style presentation.
Danny added: ‘Phase three is all about social action and delivering in the community. This is where the NCS experience all comes together. All the fun and inspiration from the first two phases means they are ready to step up and deliver their own social action project. Plan; fundraise; make a difference.’
The groups present their ideas to a team of 'Dragons', made up of local business leaders, who watch the presentations and give feedback.
More than 30 business leaders are taking part over the next five weeks. The first Dragons’ Den group will feature Simon Bowkett CEO at CoLab, Ben Jordan, Owner at the Bear Trail and Richard Carpenter from Enterprise Assist. Group two features Simon Kitchen, Head of Communities with DCC, Adam Stone, CEO from Rokk Media and Steph Darkes from Exploring Exeter.
CITY Community Trust is Exeter City Football Club’s partner charity. It delivers programmes and activities relating to health and wellbeing across Devon.
For more information about NCS visit https://www.exetercitycommunitytrust.co.uk/ncs