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Salford Lads Club NCS
Over the past few weeks I’ve been working with over 1000 volunteers on the NCS programs in Manchester

The National Citizen Service (NCS) is a UK Government voluntary personal and social development programme for 15–17 year olds in England and Northern Ireland

Over 275,000 16 and 17 year-olds have already taken part in NCS and had an experience to change their lives

Each of the 1000+ young people have been working on Social Action Projects across Trafford and Salford raising awareness and fundraising for charities in tackling issues such as Cancer, Homelessness, LGBT, Mental Health, Domestic Abuse, Disabilities and many more issues

At Altrincham HQ our role was to inspire and empower the young people to promote the Social Action projects via Social Media and to truly show the impact of what great work they do in the local communities

It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences we’ve worked on. Being able to help so many fantastic charities and here is what I learnt from working with 1000+ NCS volunteers

Positivity over criticism is a big YES from us

If I could have bottled the positivity in each of the NCS groups, the world would be an infinitely better place

These young people believe that what they’re doing is changing the world … and it is

Self improvement and actions of individuals added up create a massive tidal wave of change

Not once did they use their platform as volunteers to criticise others and not once did they ask others to do things they weren’t prepared to do themselves

Older volunteers could learn a lot from the mantra “Positivity Over Criticism”

You read the list before

Cancer, Homelessness, LGBT, Mental Health, Domestic Abuse, Disabilities and many more

There’s an idealism in the Social Action projects the young people choose

The great thing about NCS is that the young people aren’t told by adults what projects to deliver – they literally have a collective idea of what is important to them

People are at the heart of what they choose and they truly want to help solve national problems at local levels

If you could distil what causes they chose in one phrase – it’s High Impact Charities!!!

Manchester Conference Centre NCS

Inclusive, Positive, Engaging, Community focused is what we believe all voluntary groups should be

And inclusion is something that NCS groups had by the bucket load

Inclusion with local stakeholders, other NCS groups, NCS Facilitation groups, community groups

Whilst they want to do the best for their chosen charities and social action projects, what really stood out was the comradery with other NCS groups

Support rather than competition was definitely the spirit of the day

If people don’t know about the Social Action Projects, then communities can’t get involved

This was the generation that grew up with Social Media – the digital natives that spend 2 hours on Social Media before arriving to start the NCS work at 10am

But using social media for community work is a different beast that using social media for fun and friends

Many of the audience were more used to Snapchat and Instagram than they were of Twitter and Facebook (where many of their audiences eyes were)

What really stuck out was this years NCS groups were more visible than ever this year before due to having a very specific idea of what content works on Social Media and how to reach out to Hyper Local / Micro influencers

Plannning + Action on Social Media = Massive Results

Transparency is more important than ever before with charities

Just 26 per cent of people said they trust charities, according to a survey for the volunteering organisation Pro Bono Economics by FTI Consulting.

Think about that – only 1 in 4 people say they trust charities.

That’s why transparency is key whether you are doing an NCS Social Action project or running a voluntary group

At every stage of the journey the NCS groups were totally transparent about what funding they won on Dragons Den Pitches, how much they raised for the charities down to the penny and what the impact of their work was in terms of the specifics of what it was able to fund

It’s important to be open. It’s important to be transparent. It’s important to highlight the true impact of what you do

And for that the NCS groups must be applauded

Victoria Baths NCS

“Alex has recently become involved with Salford Foundation, specifically the NCS program, and has been brilliant.

His knowledge of social platforms, both for personal and professional use, have given our young people the knowledge there were lacking on the internet.

Prior to his presentations I met with Alex on a couple of occasions to discuss exactly what we were looking for. Alex tailored his presentations to the news of our young people and was, and still is, a pleasure to work with.

I would highly recommend him to anyone.”

Joe Quigley, Salford Foundation

“What an engaging afternoon.

Alex entertained and engaged a bunch of teenagers and did an amazing job. It’s hard to keep them entertain let alone enthusiastic but he managed to do so for over an hour.

Alex sparked some ideas for me and I thought he’d be an amazing friend to have. Thank you Alex.

From Wave 3 NCS and myself”

Kathline George, SEN Teaching Assistant, Cedar Mount Academy

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Altrincham, Sale, Salford NCS is ran by Salford Foundation

Manchester and Stockport by The Challenge

For a list of national organisations running NCS check the full list here

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Please call Alex on 07806774279 or email

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Alex McCann

Author Alex McCann

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