Safi thinks it’s time for a change
20 Oct 2023
They say a change is as good as a rest, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth for 16-year-old Safiya – Safi – from Leicester, having spent a fun-packed five days on the new NCS Change It experience. Designed to equip young people with the skills to positively impact their world, the residential adventure saw Safi rock climbing, abseiling, and co-founding her own political party!
“I was tempted by the thought of doing something completely different with my summer holiday,” explains Safi. “I’m interested in politics, I’d like a career where I can influence and help people, so the Change It camp sounded perfect when NCS came to my school to present it.”
NCS – National Citizen Service – is a government-backed programme for all 16 and 17 year-olds to build confidence and skills for future work and life. New for 2023, and delivered by Ingeus and its partners, there is a trio of residential experiences: Live It, Change It, and Boss It. Each promises a generous helping of outdoor sporting challenges and friendship-forming activities to ignite career aspirations and kickstart independent living. It runs at youth hostels and adventure camps across England and costs £95 (with bursaries also available).
Safi stayed at YHA Castleton in the Peak District and unearthed a love of volleyball, which she’d never played before. She learnt CPR life-saving techniques and as co-prime minister of her group, developed real-life policies to debate with the other fledgling parties. Culminating in a general election decided with a moo-off (trying to keep a straight face while an opponent moos in your face!), the week flew by according to Safi. Amongst all the fun, Safi also appreciated the skills she was developing:
“Initially I was a little nervous, going out of my comfort zone with rock climbing and abseiling. The leaders were terrific though, nurturing and encouraging. Where we stayed was really homely and I loved the mix of independence and fun, with the more thought-provoking, serious activities.
“NCS taught me to listen and understand other people’s points of view. I also developed my social skills and lots of us have set up a chat group to keep in touch. I’ve just moved schools to sixth form, without any of my existing friends. NCS has helped enormously, giving me experience of being in a new setting, talking to new people and not being embarrassed.”
Safi is now studying A-levels in history, politics and psychology at Loughborough High School and hopes her drive for positive change will lead to a future career in law or international relations. She’ll also be using her powers of persuasion to encourage her brothers and cousins to attend NCS in the future.
“If you want to meet new people and try new things, all in a friendly setting with great people helping you, then NCS is a must-do,” she adds.
Working in partnership with the Youth Hostel Association, Ingeus works closely with community groups, local authorities and the wider youth sector to enable young people to take part in NCS. At YHA Castleton it enlists the expertise of Flying Futures CIC
and Pilot IMS Ltd to deliver unforgettable NCS experiences for young people, just like Safi.