NI NCS Graduates make a real difference to local community as part of national NCS Action Week.

A team of NI teens gave up their evening to volunteer as part of national NCS Action Week

NI NCS Graduates make a real difference to local community as part of national NCS Action Week.

NI NCS Graduates make a real difference to local community as part of national NCS Action Week.

On Tuesday 14th March, a team of teenagers came together to dedicate their time to Aughnacloy Care Home in Lurgan with essential work as a part of Action Week, a national event promoted by National Citizen Service (NCS), the UK’s flagship youth programme. The week is designed to showcase young people’s enthusiasm for creating real positive change in society.

Northern Ireland National Citizen Service (NI NCS) marked Action Week with a range of projects across Northern Ireland as part of a new graduate development initiative to give our graduates the opportunity to continue on their volunteering and social action journey. A number of NI NCS graduates in the Lurgan/Portadown area joined forces with the Regional Youth Board, a group of engaged graduates representing all graduates in NI, to carry out a project that would have a positive impact in the community. Following a process of discussion and research, the board identified a beneficial opportunity for young people to interact with and support older members of the community, through developing a partnership and project with Aughnacloy House, Lurgan.

On the day the NI NCS graduates had the opportunity to get to know some of the Aughnacloy residents through conversation set against a wide range of activities, including pampering sessions, baking, arts & crafts and a quiz.

The event was a real hit with the residents, with them saying : "This is the best night I have had in the two years I've been here, can you all come back next week!" "Aren't these young people just brilliant. They bring so much fun and laughter with them" "It's great to see young people taking an interest in a load of old ones like us!"

It also was a hugely memorable night for the NI NCS graduates. They said, "I have had so much fun tonight, I'll definitely be back" "Tonight has shown me that we are all the same, young and old we all just want to laugh and have fun!" "I am definitely going to look into volunteering in my local nursing home" "All the residence living here want is some company - and that's something anyone can give".

Photographs taken during the evening can be viewed here.

NCS is a once–in-a-lifetime opportunity open to all 15 to 17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland. It is a unique two or three week full-time programme open to all NI teenagers and is focused around fun and discovery, with participants volunteering at least 30 hours to a community project they create to address an issue important to them.

To date up to 7 million additional hours have been dedicated to local communities as a result of NCS. In Northern Ireland, over 1500 graduates have taken part in the programme to date, dedicating thousands of hours to their local communities. Peace building charity, Co-operation Ireland runs the programme in Northern Ireland.