Nathan Clarke and Jack Sherratt were on hand last week to visit one of the Leyton Orient National Citizen Service (NCS) teams as they delivered part of their community social action project (SAP)
The NCS is a government initiative, intended to encourage 16-year-olds to provide a 30 hour project designed, developed and delivered by themselves, within their local community using support and guidance from their local football club who supply the mentoring and expertise to help the young people conclude the project.
‘Clarkey’ is the O’s NCS ambassador and has already been to see the project participants when they were on one of their week-long residentials in Thurrock last month, joining them for dinner followed by judging some of the team-building assignments they had been given as well as giving an inspirational speech.
The 60 young people were divided into four groups that then had to devise the social action projects that have included a charity car wash, hosting a ‘games day’ at a residential care-home in Cheshunt, helping with the delivery of the Waltham Forest Summer@Score sports programme at the Score centre as well facilitating a 5-a-side football tournament for attendees of the Coping Through Football scheme.
Coping Through Football is a project that harnesses sports’ best attributes to help build the self-esteem of mental health service users and seeks to provide an alternative to the traditional reliance on medication as a treatment for depression. Sonia Smith, project co-ordinator said: “It’s wonderful that the young people want to come and get involved with the project. The participants really appreciate it and have thoroughly enjoyed the tournament. They (NCS) did a similar thing last year and are always welcome.”
Once all the SAPs are complete the participants will be invited to a graduation event in October where they will receive a certificate from the Prime Minister amongst other things!
“I hope to be able to make the graduation,” added Clarke. “It would be excellent to see all the guys rewarded for their hard work. I didn’t have anything like this when I was their age and think it’s a great idea, a real insight for them into planning and responsibility.”
“It’s been brilliant,” said Christopher Reed aged 16. “I’ve learned a lot and made new friends. I’d do it again if I could and certainly recommend it.”
Anthony Folkes, NCS team leader commented, “It’s really great to see young people from different backgrounds, areas and cultures all coming together and working as a team. They break down their own barriers and achieve such a lot in a short space of time. I get a lot of personal satisfaction from the project; it really is worthwhile.”
There will be an Autumn NCS running during the October half-term week. If you would like more details, please contact Phil Rudling at Leyton Orient Community Sports Programme on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0208 556 5973.