NCS and Future Foundations: A Summer to Remember

28 September 2012 | ResolutionPossible

This summer two of our directors had the privilege of meeting some truly inspiring young people through National Citizen Service (NCS) and Future Foundations. NCS is ‘a life-changing experience for 16-17 year olds in England’. Young people from different backgrounds apply to participate, and embark on a summer filled with adventure, learning and community development. Future Foundations is one of the organisations that delivered the NCS programme across England.

Marijn delivered workshops to hundreds of young people who had just emerged from a tough few days. They had shown up expecting to live in cosy accommodation and instead were sent off to experience life as a refugee, camping outside with only the basics to survive. During the workshops they learned more about the issues that force people to leave their homes in volatile regions. Marijn posed a challenge to the participants, asking them to come up with ideas  for solving conflicts and keeping communities safe. They certainly rose to it, coming up with suggestions like transparency of companies using minerals from conflict areas in their products as well as raising awareness about recycling your old mobile phones and other electronics so that less new raw materials need to be mined. Many also agreed that using a clever marketing strategy to encourage people to buy ‘conflict free products’, much like the organic and fair trade labels with consumables, could encourage companies to take more responsibility. Whatever suggestions they came up with, we came across challenges straight away, highlighting that solving conflicts, especially when there are economic interests involved, is extremely complicated. The discussions among the groups were inspiring and we learned so much from these young people.

During NCS participants also worked in teams to run projects benefiting their own communities. Lizzy went to the graduation ceremony for one of the groups as part of a panel to judge these projects. Each team gave a presentation explaining their idea, how they put it into practice and what they achieved. All of them were impressive but the project that won over all the judges was ‘Buddy Up’. The team saw a problem in their community – people with learning disabilities feeling isolated – and decided that perceptions needed to change. So they ‘buddied up’, each spending time with a person with learning disabilities to get to know them and include them more in the community. They spoke with confidence, passion and determination – and they even hope to roll the project out nationwide.

Thanks to Future Foundations for including us in a summer to remember!

 

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