Local teen features in national campaign for National Citizen Service celebrating their work in local community

A local teenager from Wigton has been selected as one of just 22 young people to take part in the national campaign for National Citizen Service (NCS), the country’s flagship youth programme delivered by Inspira in Cumbria and Lancashire.  Inspira have been a lead organisation in the development of the programme, and they are proud to have one of their NCS graduates featuring in the campaign which kick starts this week.

Oli Coulson was invited to feature in the campaign, entitled ‘Our Future’, as a result of his increased confidence and leadership skills following his involvement with the NCS programme. Recent business research commissioned by Inspira underlines the importance of such personal development programmes in providing the essential experience and employability skills valued by employers.

Employers in Cumbria cited adaptability, positive attitude, leadership and life experience as qualities of an outstanding employee, and Oli’s achievements highlight the worth of the NCS programme in making young people stand out from the crowd and prepare them for working life.

Alongside other NCS graduates, Oli was instrumental in setting up ‘Verity’s Voice’, a charitable organisation dedicated to his late mother, which is aimed at reducing the stigma attached to mental health, and, helping people through various mental health problems. At the end of last year, Verity’s Voice received funding from 02 Think Big and Starbucks in order to help with their worthwhile cause and mission.

An image featuring Oli can be seen on billboards around the country and was shot by the world famous photographer, Rankin. He will feature alongside fellow NCS graduate, Jermain Jackman, who took part in the programme in 2012 and went on to win the BBC’s singing competition, The Voice, in 2014.

Oli, 17, who attends Nelson Thomlinson School is one of more than 130,000 teens to have taken part in NCS since the programme launched in 2011.

Speaking of his experience on the shoot, Oli said: “I had such a great experience on NCS and I hope by being part of this campaign that I can raise awareness of the programme, and inspire other teens to say ‘yes’ to it too. NCS has opened up so many new doors for me. Since taking part I’ve gone on to start my own charity, Verity’s Voice, get involved with and lead Social Action Projects, and of course the fantastic NCS Leaders program – and being part of a national campaign shot by Rankin is another amazing experience to add to my CV!” 

Appearing on billboards throughout January, Rankin’s iconic visual representation reflects a positive portrayal of this country’s teenagers, emphasising to parents and guardians in particular that their future is our future. The ‘Our Future’ campaign represents the belief that the emerging generation – labelled ‘Generation Citizen’ – is a generation that wants to do the right thing, but needs the right tools, opportunities and respect that comes from programmes like NCS.

Speaking of his involvement in the campaign, Rankin adds: “I was thrilled when I was asked to shoot the National Citizen Service campaign, as the aims of the programme are very dear to my heart. I had to work hard and consistently knock on doors until they opened. The young people who sign up to NCS are just starting out, just starting to knock on their own doors. Those who take part are showing that they have ambition to get out there and they are grabbing hold of their future – they should be an inspiration to us. That is what I wanted to show in my image: strong teenagers taking control of their futures. I hope it inspires other young people to do the same.”

NCS is open to 15-17 year olds in England and takes place outside of term time in a two or three week full-time programme focused around fun and discovery, plus 30 hours committed to a community project that benefits both young people and society. Teenagers on NCS build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and adventures, making new friends, and contributing to their community. The programme is recognised by UCAS and helps teens frame their skills and experiences for interviews and university applications. Government backing means that it costs £50 or less to take part, with bursaries available for those who need them.

Speaking of Oli, father Ian Twentyman said, “I am so proud of Oli for stepping out of his comfort zone and trying something different by going on NCS. The difference in him is amazing. Not only has Oli made so many new friends, but he is so much more confident and determined to succeed now. I fill with pride when I see him in the campaign shot by Rankin. NCS really has been a life-changing experience for Oli and it’s been fantastic seeing the change in him!”

Speaking of Oli’s involvement in the ‘Our Future’ campaign, Andrew Walker, Head of Sixth Form at Nelson Tomlinson said: “We’re really proud of Oli’s achievements since taking part in NCS. What’s unique about the programme is the fact that it takes teens  outside of their comfort zone, and through a programme of personal and social development, accelerates their transition to adulthood, and raises their aspirations and sense of self-worth at a critical decision-making point in their lives.”

Recommend NCS to your teen today at www.ncsyes.co.uk.


Oli Coulson is available for an interview.

For further information or images, please contact: Inspira Cumbria on 01931 711 300.

About Rankin

Rankin made his name in publishing, founding the seminal monthly magazine Dazed & Confused with Jefferson Hack in 1992. It provided a platform for innovation for emerging stylists, designers, photographers and writers. In 2001, Jefferson and Rankin launched AnOther Magazine, which focused on fashion, originality, and distinction.

Tapping into the consciousness of the 90s and 00s with his intimate approach and playful sense of humour, Rankin became known for his portraiture of bands, artists, supermodels and politicians. Having photographed everyone from the Queen of England to the Queen of Pop, Rankin is often seen as a celebrity photographer. However, his plethora of campaigns and projects featuring ‘real women’ marked him out as a genuinely passionate portrait photographer, no matter who the subject. Personal or commercial, Rankin’s images have become part of contemporary iconography, evidence of his frankness and passion for all aspects of modern culture, and its representation in the photographed image.

Rankin has published over 30 books, is regularly exhibited in galleries around the world, as well as his own London gallery. His affiliation with charities has seen Rankin travel the world, creating powerful campaigns both as a photographer and a director.

About NCS

National Citizen Service (NCS) is a once–in-a-lifetime opportunity open to 16 & 17 year olds across England.


It is a unique two or three week full-time programme focused around fun and discovery, plus 30 hours committed to a community project that benefits both young people and society. On this government backed programme, participants build skills for work and life, while taking on new challenges and adventures, making new friends, and contributing to their community.


Government backing means that it costs just £50 or less to take part in NCS and bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is provided for young people with additional needs.


NCS represents great value for money for parents as participants spend up to two weeks away from home with all meals and activities covered. The first week is spent at an outward bound facility participating in activities such as abseiling, water rafting and canoeing. The second week teens live away from home, typically at local university halls of residence, learning how to be self-sufficient, developing new skills and finding out more about the needs of their local community.


Taking place outside school/term time, teens can sign up for the part-residential experience and participate in either the spring, summer or autumn programmes.  In every programme they will experience four sections that focus on personal and social development including leadership, teamwork and communication skills. Not only do 16 & 17 year olds have the chance to give something back, but it also looks great on CVs and helps with job, college and university applications, building future aspirations. NCS is now recognised by UCAS and taking part is a sought after addition to any CV.


In 2013, NCS Trust, an independent social enterprise, was established to manage NCS and execute the ambitious expansion of the government backed programme.

To find out more information about NCS or to sign up to NCS visit NCSyes.co.uk. Like us on facebook.com/ncs, follow us on Twitter @ncs or subscribe to NCSYes channel on YouTube.