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NCS: Building young people’s confidence and independence

Every young person who takes part in our NCS programmes has the opportunity to develop new skills and build their confidence. Here, we find out what difference this made to Amara, as she prepared to head off to a new Sixth Form.

18 July 2022

At school, *Amara had a few friends but she was quite isolated from her peers so her parents were keen for her to join the NCS programme with Catch22 and meet new people before going to Sixth Form. The programme was adjusted to suit her needs as a wheelchair user with two carers – her usual home carer, and her older sister who would be responsible for any personal care and support needs during the programme.

Outdoor adventures 

The first week was held at an outdoor activity site and Amara stayed in an accessible dorm room near the rest of her team so that she could be with her team for all of the evening activities before everyone headed off to bed. All the activities on site were accessible to Amara, for example the climbing activities used an adapted harness that allowed for Amara to be hoisted up the climbing walls without needing to use her arms.

Taking part in all of the activities helped Amara to create friendships with the rest of her team and allowed for plenty of socialising time that she didn’t usually get at school. As this was a small cohort, the group made great effort to get to know each other and to include everyone in all games and activities.

Aberystwyth University

The second week of the programme was based at Aberystwyth University in Wales. As a University, they were already well adapted to allow access for everyone with lifts and routes suitable for wheelchairs available in all areas.

During this week, Amara became more independent and even requested at times for her sister and carer to step out of workshops so that she could take part without them. Her friendships with the rest of the team continued to grow, as the young people in her team took turns to help Amara move around the site in her wheelchair. They also supported her to take part in games such as rounders and dodgeball by pushing her wheelchair for her. As a result, Amara built independence, away from her carer and sister, which was exactly what she wanted to do.

At the end of the week, a talent show was held which Amara was initially too shy to sign up for. However, with the encouragement of her team and one of her new friends volunteering to take part with her, she was a performing act!

Social action

For the final two weeks of social action, Amara was fully integrated into the team and continued to build her independence and confidence whilst getting involved in designing and delivering a social action project. All of the four weeks together helped to bridge the gap for Amara going onto a larger Sixth Form and allowed her to meet new friends outside of school.

*The service user’s name has been changed to protect their identity.

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