At the start of National Volunteering Week, NCS is launching a countrywide pledge to enable one million hours of doing good for teens to help them take an active role in helping the country recover post the extraordinary summer of COVID-19.
The Million Hours Initiative is launching with a collaboration with the Charity Retail Association [CRA] to help get charity shops open and earning again. As charities struggle with loss of revenue during lockdown, there is an urgent need to support their reopening plans now the government has announced that shops in England can do so from 15th June.
The charity shop sector is reliant on volunteers but many are elderly and the CRA estimates that over half may not be able to return to their former positions immediately. To get this vital revenue stream flowing again it will be necessary to recruit a new army of volunteers to support up to 9,500 shops across England during their staggered openings.
From the 8th June teens will be able sign up at NCS to help their local charity shop to open again. Charities such as The Air Ambulance Service and Barnardo’s will be some of the first to benefit from having a pipeline of new volunteers.
As the UK’s flagship youth programme, NCS understands how 16 and 17 years olds are desperate to step up and support their communities – many already are, but nearly half [44%] don’t know how to get involved to help. Often volunteer roles are for over 18s only.
NCS Trust CEO Mark Gifford explains: “NCS is perfectly positioned to harness the enthusiasm and talent of social conscious teens looking to make a positive impact in their local community. Since we launched our ‘Staying Connected’ hub on the NCS website last month, over 600,000 young people have engaged with it. The age barrier of being under 18 should not hold back this huge group of young national citizens who are ready to play a valuable role in our country’s recovery.
‘With many young people missing out on their planned work experience, volunteering will also provide an alternative route to develop essential life skills that can’t be learnt in a classroom environment. NCS will enable 16 and 17 year olds to turn a summer of disappointment and restrictions into a summer of ‘No We Can’.”
This announcement follows the news of a repurposed version of the traditional NCS programme for this extraordinary summer. The Trust is also delivering content through NCS digital channels, focussing on the skills and life lessons not learnt in the classroom.
Archie Mortimer, 16, South West London is signing up…
“I’m getting a bit of schoolwork but there’s nothing really to do, I’m just sitting around the house doing nothing.
“All the days are rolling into one at the moment, so it’s just something to do, get out of bed for, that could be quite exciting and fun.
“I have talked to a few friends about it, and they’ve said they’d be interested because they are just like me, they are quite bored and want something to do.”
Nearly 100,000 teens have already accessed the content within the newly launched ‘Staying Connected Hub’ and there have been over 600,000 interactions with the content on social channels enabling young people across the country to make new connections during lockdown.