The first week saw the team going to Bridgwater for their first residential; for most of the young people it was the first time they had been away from home without family and also not knowing anyone as for most, it was the first time they have met. The team of 15 young people got straight into activities such as low ropes, mountain biking and kayaking to name, but a few; this really helped the team bond – nothing like being chucked straight into the deep end!

Week two was another residential in Parkend, The Forest of Dean. The young people displayed excellent teamwork qualities throughout this week during activities such as bridge building, shelter building, topical debates, sexual health, CV writing and visiting social action projects in the local communities around Gloucestershire.

NCS Team Dom decided in week two that they would like to raise money for two local charities; The Pied Piper Appeal, who support local sick and disabled children and Gloucestershire Bundles, who provide emergency packs of toiletries, clothing and equipment to pregnant women and families with children up to the age of eleven, who find themselves in crisis situations. NCS Team Dom also decided to complete a project at Gloucestershire Bundles with an outdoor garden project.

The third week was a very successful one – fundraising. The team took part in the Hempsted Car Boot, successfully completed their 828m Burj Khalifa Climbing Challenge at The Warehouse Climbing Centre and finally did a bucket collection and sweet competition in The Kings Walk Shopping Centre and bag packing in B&M. The total raised by the amazing 15 young people over the three days was just over £1,200, which is evidence in itself of the teamwork and bond they possess over such a short period; an absolutely amazing accomplishment.

The final week was spent at Gloucestershire Bundles, working on the large front garden area, the side entrance and the back garden. The team worked very efficiently and tirelessly over three days to make sure they got the project done and to an excellent standard. The team had car tyres, a bench and chair donated by local companies, which were then up-cycled and placed in the back garden, an area where the group of amazing volunteers can enjoy - if they get a spare minute to have a cuppa, which is very rare! The team attended Gloucestershire Bundles once finishing to project to present the work they had done to some very pleased volunteers and to also enjoy some amazing home cooked cakes and biscuits made by the Gloucestershire Bundles team – rude not to! The young people then stayed to lend a helping hand to price up donations for their newly new sale they will be holding at Severn Vale School in the near future.

Team accomplishments have been mentioned above, but there have been many individual achievements, which did not go unnoticed and here are a couple.

An email from a young person’s father:

“Thanks again, also personal thanks for making the past 4 weeks so terrific for her. I'm not sure if it came across initially that she was a little introverted and low in confidence, but I pretty much had to force her to sign-up, yet she's loved every minute of the 4 week programme. So all your hard work is really appreciated this end. The travelling from the Cotswolds has also helped with public transport worries and built on good logistics practice”.

Another young person wrote a thank you letter stating:

“I just want to thank you because although it’s only been 4 weeks my life has really benefited from this as I’ve been able to do things, such as talk to strangers and face or conquer some of my fears, which I’ve never done before. My parents (especially), friends and family have noticed a huge difference in my confidence and I hope it continues to grow. But most of all I would like to thank you for making this a summer I will never forget”.

The NCS programme has a massive impact on young people’s lives, whether that’s personally, socially or for future prospects such as higher education or employment.

I would personally like to finish by saying a massive thank you to all the members of NCS Team Dom. I am very proud what you all have accomplished over the 4 week programme and wish you all the very best in all of your future ventures.

Matt Jones, NCS Programme Leader.