OnSide Youth Zones has been awarded funding from the National Citizen Service (NCS) under the Pathfinders programme, to engage young people from Blackburn Youth Zone in delivering social action projects in Blackburn with Darwen.
NCS is a government backed youth empowerment programme and the Pathfinders scheme is a new pilot aimed at trialling new ways of reaching more young people with the opportunities NCS provides.
NCS builds the skills and confidence of 16-17 year olds to help them get ahead in work and life. The scheme will be delivered by 6 Youth Zones in the OnSide network between October and December 2016, working with 150 young people in total.
30 young people attending Blackburn Youth Zone will partner with local residents and community groups to identify and deliver solutions to pressing local issues and needs.
The NCS Pathfinder programme will enable participants to form stronger connections with their local area, make a real difference and promote community spirit and cohesion.
Participants will commit full-time to the programme over the course of 7 days plus 30 hours delivering their social action projects. In addition to valuable life skills young people also benefit as employers look favourably on CVs referencing NCS, and UCAS recommend its inclusion on university personal statements.
NCS Trust, the not for profit social enterprise that coordinates the programme across England and Northern Ireland, granted funding to OnSide Youth Zones following a successful bid by the national charity.
Hannah Allen, Chief Executive for Blackburn Youth Zone, commented: “The NCS Pathfinder funding will provide a great opportunity for young people to give something back to their local community.
Participants will identify their social action projects with the help of local groups, individuals and businesses and we’ll announce their plans over the coming weeks and months.
It’s also a fantastic opportunity for young people to meet new people from different backgrounds and gain transferable skills that can be used in their personal lives and future careers.”
The NCS programme was established in 2011 to tackle three key social issues; social cohesion, social engagement and social mobility and so far, more than 200,000 young people have benefited from taking part across the UK.