Well done Belfast YMCA! As part of a consortium of youth organisations Belfast have been successful in securing a 4 year contract for the delivery of the NCS programme. In conjunction with Greenhill YMCA Belfast have already supplied 3 years of NCS programmes and assisted nearly 100 young people enjoy personal development and social action training. Its great to know will continue to create opportunities for the next four years.
Taking place in NI from 2015 in summer and autumn, NI NCS is a once in a lifetime opportunity for all 15-17 year olds in Northern Ireland to build skills for employment such as resilience, confidence and leadership, build trust between people of different backgrounds, and create stronger communities where giving back is a way of life. After completing the initial programme, participants become NCS graduates, with access to a wide range of opportunities and support to continue making their mark in their communities.
NI NCS is open to all, regardless of background, experience or whether their strengths lie in sport, creativity or academics, with additional support provided to young people with learning or physical needs.
In Northern Ireland, over 900 graduates have taken part in the programme to date under the direction of Co-operation Ireland and partners Belfast YMCA, YouthAction NI, Start360, Volunteer Now, St Columb’s Park House and YouthWorks CIC, dedicating over 12,000 hours to their local communities. Nationally, two million hours have already been volunteered by over 130,000 NCS participants to communities across England and Northern Ireland since 2012.
An independent evaluation of the NCS has shown a significant increase in a young person’s interest in their local area since taking part in the programme. Three quarters (74%) of teenagers post NCS agreed they were more likely to help out locally. Parents too noticed the difference after NCS, with four in five saying their child knew more about tackling problems in their local area and 83% of participants feeling more capable than they had realised*.
NI NCS teams will run this summer and autumn in 16 areas through Northern Ireland. These are East Belfast; Lower Falls/Greater Village; Shankill/Ardoyne; Rathcoole/Greencastle; Ballymena; Portrush/North Coast; DerryLondonderry; Omagh; Castlederg; Kesh/Ederney; Enniskillen; Newry;Armagh; Cookstown; Lurgan/Portadown; Newtownards/Ards Peninsula.