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National Citizen Service: The importance of accessibility

Our NCS programmes ensure that every young person can take part. Today, we’re sharing Michael and Andrew Mills’ NCS experience, how the programme was made accessible to them as wheelchair users and the programme’s impact on the brothers.

13 June 2022

Michael and Andrew Mills had never stayed away from home for more than one night. They both have Goldberg Shprintzen Syndrome and require wheelchairs to get around and needed one-to-one staff support all day and night-time support. Their family support worker Sean was employed by Catch22 and stayed in a room with both boys to support them throughout the night when needed. As the parents knew Sean already, they were comfortable with him and knew the boys would be cared for correctly on the residential and put their mind at ease.

New experiences

Along with a total of 29 young people, Michael and Andrew stayed at the Kingswood Dearne Valley, which was very accommodating and provided a hoist system for high rope activities so the boys could get involved. They had never done a zip wire or high rope activity before and getting to do this was a real highlight of their NCS experience. 

Andy having fun with his charity’s mascot for social action, and then being the first team member to light the fire during Bushcraft. 

 

For half of the week, the group took part in indoor workshop sessions led by Catch 22 staff which included mascot making, learning First Aid and stress ball making. For the social action, the team were very keen to get involved with helping children and chose Zoe’s Place which is a Liverpool based charity that helps children and young people who are terminally ill. 

The social action planning took place at the Hugh Baird College, Thornton Campus in Liverpool and they used the college minibus to get about to deliver their project. The boys got really involved and took part in car washes and a bucket collection at the local supermarket and enjoyed this element of the programme! 

Michael enjoying some Archery and the Zip Wire! 

The impact of accessibility

If there any barriers that Catch22 faced for the programme, they were overcome with one-to-one daytime support and night-time care for the boys on the programme, as well as accessible coaches and activities for the boys. Getting involved in every aspect, Michael and Andrew and their team felt independent for the first time. 

Carla is one of the full-time staff members at Thornton College and worked with the boys every day. She was amazed by how many of the activities the boys could get involved with, such as using a hoist system which allowed them on the zip wire.  

Having access to activities such as a zip wire, archery, planning and delivering social action makes a massive impact to young people like Andrew and Michael who had never spent even a night away from home. They were able to build confidence, independence and friendships as a result of being on the NCS programme.  


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