The young volunteers designed and carried out not one, but two volunteering projects to support young homeless people.
The National Citizen Service (NCS) gives young people the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone, learn new skills and then work as a team to make a difference in their community. It is delivered by Young Bristol in Bristol and Prospects in South Gloucestershire.
As part of the scheme, young people meet with representatives of different community organisations including 1625ip's Upfront Peer Education project. Upfront prevents youth homelessness through workshops delivered by young people who have experienced homelessness. These workshops challenge misconceptions and educate young people about the realities of leaving home in an unplanned way.
NCS Young Bristol volunteers were so inspired they chose to hold an event in Bristol's iconic Bear Pit, raising awareness of the work done by 1625ip supporting young people faced with homelessness. They also supported Off the Record, another local youth charity offering support with mental health issues. They raised money and donations from local businesses to put together care packages (which include toiletries, food, cutlery, a blanket, a survival handbook and information on services) for 1625ip to distribute to young people they house.
Meanwhile NCS Prospects volunteers in South Gloucestershire chose to revamp the garden of a house shared by young people currently being supported by 1625ip, with residents also joining in. As a team they attracted donations from across the community and helped create an attractive and beneficial shared space for the residents to enjoy.
1625ip Deputy Volunteering Manager Thomas Dunn commented:
"It’s good to see our peer education project inspiring groups from the wider community, especially young people, to support us. I am impressed with the NCS teams' enthusiasm, skills in negotiating and their ability to turn a project around so quickly with excellent results. We look forward to working with NCS in the future."
Young Bristol volunteer Tia Riley commented:
"We chose 1625ip as they are our age group so we can connect to them and their stories more easily. Homelessness is hard to deal with at our young age and our group wanted to help people in need. We thought that 1625ip would allow us to do this as we know the struggles of people our age."
Lynne Speak from Prospects commented:
“The National Citizen Service award is a great way to help both young people and the wider community. Our group worked closely with 1625ip residents giving them a chance to understand and empathise with the young people living there. It also boosted their confidence, team working, practical and life skills as they raised the money and acquired the tools required to create the garden.”
Notes to the editor
National Citizen Service
National Citizen Service offers 15-17year olds the opportunity to build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and meeting new friends.
They can develop skills and awareness around teamwork, outdoor activities and local community issues and projects unlocking their potential to make a positive impact in their communities.