So what’s NCS really like? Gurpreet, Bryony and William are three of our grads who’ve actually done the programme in different locations. We asked them to describe their NCS experience for each phase of the programme and here, they’ve given us all the scoop on Phase 3 & 4 – Action. Check out what you can really expect when you go on NCS!
What did you expect from phase 3 and 4 when you signed up?
G: I thought it would be a week where we worked together on a social action project for our community.
B: I expected it to be hard work trying to come up with a project with no money. Before I signed up, I didn’t even know who I would be doing the social action project with, so obviously I was cautious about how the 2 weeks would go.
W: Again, with this one I didn’t know what to expect. I had a very basic idea of what would happen and had no idea of how intense it would be and how integrated I would become into the project.
How did you decide on your social action project?
G: After visiting the young person’s care home in Phase 2, we wanted to spread the message that ‘disability doesn’t define you’ and we wanted our area to understand that these people are just like them.
B: We were in a building close to a homeless shelter, so it seemed like the best idea. We also agreed that making someone else smile and happy instantly makes you smile and happy, so that’s what we all just decided to do! From then on, we were team smile!
W: We shortlisted a bunch of ideas on certain issues we wanted to tackle in the community then discussed which were the most relevant and the most practical projects to carry out. We then narrowed it down to about five or six ideas, then had a vote on which we would choose. It ended up being a project based around helping LGBT+ people in Horsham.
What planning did you do as a team? Did your team leader help you?
G: As a team, we worked independently with the support of our team leader to come up with ideas for our social action project. We decided we would go to our town centre wearing bright orange t-shirts and wristbands while holding bright orange balloons! We hoped this would attract the public and help us spread the word by mouth.
B: We did it all by ourselves – we planned our fancy dress trek and our night under the stars. We also did our very own social media campaign with videos! Obviously we had a leader there if we needed help but it was very much all our ideas and hard work!
W: We first spent time planning what we’d do for the project and came up with the idea of doing a flash mob to raise awareness, and painting a mural that expressed our project’s artistic values. There were a lot of things to do, so we sorted ourselves into different roles in the group to be able to get everything done quick and efficiently. The group leaders gave full support but they let us be the driving force which was great!
Where did you plan the social action project? How was this decided?
G: We did all the planning for our social action project at the university where our NCS week was based. We stayed in a classroom where we had access to a computer and whiteboards to help us plan everything out.
B: We were told which building we had to meet in so that’s where we went but everything else was just group discussion and agreement.
W: We planned it at Forest School in Horsham, as that’s where Phase 3 and 4 were based.
How far did you have to travel to the social action project and planning destination? How was this?
G: I didn’t have to travel too far to get to the university as it was very close to the town centre. This made it easy for us to walk to the town centre for our social action project. We mainly stayed in the shopping centre but then went down to the local park too.
B: It was just 5 minutes in the car! When we had to travel to our trek we just popped on a train – the train station was right next to our building so it was no fuss at all!
W: For the most part, we didn’t have to travel far. Most of the things we needed to do, including our final flash mob, were done in Horsham near Swan Walk. We did our first flash mob at a fair in East Grinstead. We helped with the fair then did our flash mob to raise awareness. We could afford this due to winning extra support from the ‘dragons’ in our recreation of Dragon’s Den, so we could cover our project costs.
Were you happy with how the social action project turned out?
G: I was very happy with the way our social action project turned out. We managed to reach lots of people in the area and tell them a bit about our campaign and how we were part of NCS.
B: We were all so happy and proud of ourselves after raising awareness on social media and raised enough money to donate around 20 bags to a homeless shelter. We didn’t carry it on so much as a team, but I know whenever I see a homeless person, I will always buy them a hot drink, or a cold one in the summer!
W: Yes, I am very happy with how it turned out. It had a major impact and got lots of people involved and was successful. I had written a poem for the flash mobs which got a very positive response. Everyone loved it! And our project continues today as we are trying to set up an LGBT+ support group in Horsham. Our project was also nominated for the NCS Social Action Star Award!
A big thanks to Gurpreet, Bryony and William for their contributions. Now you’ve got the lowdown on phase 3, find out what happens once you’ve done NCS – Graduation!