National Citizen Service sends young people out on Outward Bound adventure.

ob ncsOn Monday June 30 we waved goodbye to four teams of 16 and 17-year-olds as they boarded the coach destined for Ullswater Outward Bound Centre. The following Monday we did the same as another 44 young people set off.

As the schools break up for summer, thousands of 16 and 17-year-olds are starting their National Citizen Service journey.

Designed to help young people transition from school and develop skills of life and work – NCS is a three-week part residential programme, culminating in another 30-plus hours volunteering on a community project.

Inspira delivers the NCS programme in Cumbria and Lancashire. Sarah Williams, Inspira’s area manager in Furness, explains what the first week is like

Set on the edge of Ullswater, the Outward Bound centre is the perfect setting for intrepid mountain adventures and canoeing on the lake. The food is brilliant (especially the chocolate brownies) and the rooms very comfortable. They even have a couple of yurts in the grounds complete with open fires.

In addition to their Inspira group leader, each team is also assigned an Outward Bound instructor – ensuring all our participants have the appropriate level of support during their OB experience. We also have our invaluable Wave Leaders in place to oversee all the teams and make sure everything goes according to plan.

The first week at Outward Bound is all about team bonding – the teams can go canoeing, climbing, cliff jumping, ghyll scrambling, and sailing, and go on the all-important overnight expedition. Involving a 10-15km walk depending on how energetic everyone is feeling – the teams then set up the camp base, cook tea, spend the night under the beautiful Lakeland stars and walk back to the OB centre the next day.

From experience the expedition gels the team – individuals’ strengths shine through, especially when they help out and encourage their team members who are perhaps struggling with some of the activities. Towards the end of the day our NCSers get the chance to just chill and talk to their new-found pals, reflecting on what they have learnt that day before retiring to their rooms and crashing out, physically exhausted by the day’s activities. Some of the boys had a rude awakening when they found a bat in their room; the bat is apparently now named Herbert.

Friday morning comes round too quickly and everyone needs to pack up their belongings and get ready to board the bus back to Barrow. Friday afternoons are great fun in our centre and it’s really heart-warming to observe the NCSers as they return from their first week full of their experiences and with the start of what may become lifelong friends.

NCS prepares young people for moving on in their lives, whether this be into employment with training, an apprenticeship or further education. The skills learnt will also help with longer term goals and aspirations such as going to university; buying their first car or house; anything which involves important decision making. It is a great adventure for young people and most young people say they would recommend it to their friends. We have places for August 4 so please phone 01229 824052 or email for more information.