Gaining skills for life not just for summer …

I am a huge believer in teaching our kids life skills, they are paramount to their growth and future contributions to society. I also believe there is only so much we can teach them as parents before we need to let them go and gain a few skills for themselves without our influence. Having grown up abroad I had the privilege of experiencing many diverse cultures first hand, and this is partly why I am so pleased to have been asked to share my thoughts on the NCS programme. It really will give our young people skills for life not just for summer.

My own daughter is 15 this year and is very keen to join next year’s programme. And to be honest so am I. Sure I can teach her how to iron, clean, cook and be a nice human but the proof as they say is in the pudding! How will the skills I have taught her fair when she is out there in the real world? How will she cope with cultural differences? I hope she embraces them as I have taught her, but until she is given the opportunity we won’t know for sure.

The NCS programme offers an opportunity for young people for diverse backgrounds the unique opportunity to share in a single experience. Helping them to become better individuals within their collective social groups and ultimately better citizens within wider society. And lets face it with the current state of media, the mob mentality and various other ugly aspects of society we could do with helping to build up the future contributors to be productive contributors in this fast passed world we live in. Solution finders not problem makers. For that I am all in.

This summer will see more than 100,000 teens from across England and Northern Ireland come together in a common purpose. Building community projects together, developing new skills and living together as a supportive unit. That is 1 in 6 of our 16 year olds gaining invaluable life skills, building friendships and making a difference together.

But that still leaves 5 in 6 missing out on the experience.

The programme runs over the summer holidays, and yes to most of us that could be a barrier with holidays that have already been booked. However if you register for further information with NCS they will endeavour to get your teen a spot on this year’s programme at a time that suits you. That is a win/win scenario in my book! They get to spend their summer gaining life skills, forging new friendships and contributing towards the community and still get to go on the family holiday.

So if your child is in Year 11, talk to them about NCS and register over on the NCS website here. There are still plenty of places available for this summer, and would also make a great addition to their CV and application forms going forward. The cost of the the whole experience, including food, accommodation and travel is just £50 (which is less than a day or two in a holiday club). Bursaries are also available on a case by case basis, along with support for teens with additional needs, something I personally am very pleased about for my Aspie.

If like me you also need some cold hard facts as to the benefits of your teen joining this years programme here are some for you:

  • To date almost 400,000 teens have taken part.
  • More than 7 million (that’s 7,000,000) hours of community action have been completed.
  • For every £1 spent the NCS’ Summer 2016 programme delivered between £1.15 and £2.42 worth of benefits back to society, making it a great investment opportunity.

I hope you take the time to look into this programme for yourself and make the positive decision to help your teen gain skills for life not just for summer.


Sophie x




Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post for the National Citizenship Service (NCS) who provided the factual information quoted. However all opinions are my own and based on actual experience of relatives having completed this programme in the previous two years.