The impact of helping vulnerable young people onto NCS

The impact of helping vulnerable young people onto NCS

Our Inclusion team is dedicated to supporting all young people to take part in our programmes by helping to remove any barriers they may face. Here, Naomi Divall, one of our outreach sales associates in London, shares how she assisted a vulnerable young person in Croydon to sign-up and make the most of her NCS experience with us.

Jodie*, 16, had never stayed away from home before and felt uncomfortable speaking to new people. After working with her social worker at Croydon Council, I was really happy when she handed me Jodie’s application. Due to the support that Jodie was receiving in her home life, we decided it would be best for her to be matched with a Personal Coach so she could get more out of the experience. When I finally met Jodie at the first meeting with her Personal Coach, it made the many hours on the phone taking her medical and support information worth it! She was hesitant but quietly interested in what NCS had to offer and knew that it would be good for her.

In the first week, the young people took part in outdoor adventure activities where Jodie had the opportunity to face her fear of heights through rock climbing and going on a zip-wire. With the help and encouragement of her teammates, she felt able to try things that she never would have dreamed of doing before. Jodie says:

If it wasn’t for my team mates telling me I could do it, I don’t think I would have been able to. They gave me the confidence to believe in myself.

NCS also gave Jodie an opportunity to practice living away from home and being independent, such as learning to cook and providing for herself. She says:

Everything that you would normally have done for you, you had to do for yourself. I didn’t know I could do half the things I did.

Jodie also learnt how to live with people who are different to her. When she first arrived on NCS, there were others in her group from school who she had never spoken to before. Jodie was surprised how quickly she made friends on the first day and meeting people was her favourite part of NCS! She’s now close with the other people from her school and has made long lasting connections.

It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter how popular or not you are, you shouldn’t judge people like that. You should judge people by getting to know them.

And although Jodie didn’t immediately get on with some of her team, over the summer she learnt how to work and talk with them in order to complete tasks and achieve their goals.

If you’d seen me before I took part in NCS, I tried to fight with everyone and be rude to people. But if I’d tried to have a fight while on the programme it wouldn’t have got me anywhere but kicked out. In school I didn’t realise that until it was too late.

Jodie came to NCS not knowing what to expect, and having attended court only days before starting could have easily backed away from the opportunity. But through persistence and determination, Jodie overcame her fears, made new friends, and changed her outlook. She leaves NCS not just with a certificate but with life changing experiences.

I’ve been trying to change for years. Everyone around me has been trying to get me to stop arguing, to stop trying to fight, and to stop doing negative things for no reason. I’ve now learnt that isn’t the answer. It’s a big difference.

My confidence and social skills have definitely grown because of NCS. I learnt a lot and now know that I can deal with anything if I put my mind to it. I think it’s going to be really helpful for the future.

Jodie is an amazing example of the many young people who grow whilst taking part in NCS. Her words clearly show that NCS gives young people a unique opportunity to get out of their comfort zone and prove something to themselves.

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