Over the past 5 years, students at Lancaster & Morecambe College have taken part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) autumn programme and so they were thrilled to receive a visit from Mark Gifford, the new CEO of the national youth development programme, who spent a day on the campus, meeting students and finding out about the successful partnership the College has built with NCS over the last 5 years.
Since starting his new role in March, Mark Gifford has led NCS through a range of adaptions to ensure young people were still able to participate, despite the restrictions put in place across England. The re-purposed NCS programme focuses on social action, volunteering and supporting young people’s mental health, with over 1,400 teens from across the North West taking part in the ‘Keep Doing Good’ activities, contributing a total of 28,000 hours of voluntary work in their local communities.
LMC’s Principal, Wes Johnson, was pleased to welcome Mark Gifford and Inspira CEO Mark
Bowman to campus, saying;
Citizenship is at the heart of Lancaster & Morecambe College’s core values and we have enjoyed a long and highly valued relationship with NCS & Inspira over several years, benefitting hundreds of our students.
We were therefore delighted to welcome Mark Gifford to our college to share the experiences of our students and staff, including thoughts on how NCS can evolve to meet the needs of young people during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mark's visit to Lancaster & Morecambe College began with a tour of the College grounds, where he observed a group of Public Services & Sports students developing team building skills in a session delivered by the British Army's North West Outreach Team. He also spent time with a group from the Child Education course taking part in a lively 'Bite the Ballot Debate', an exercise that helps prepare them to be active and engaged on political issues.
The College's Hospitality & Catering students, who all volunteer to support the Eggcup Food Poverty Project, impressed Mark and visiting managers from Inspira & NCS, when they served a delicious afternoon tea they had prepared themselves. Since April, the College has prepared over 18,000 meals for the Eggcup project, helping to support vulnerable people across the community and the students were keen to discuss their plans for more volunteering opportunities with the VIPs.
The day ended with the sports students delivering their social action project presentation, focusing on young people’s mental health, to the NCS CEO who was particularly impressed with their plans to create a community garden in the College grounds where students can go to take time out to relax.
Following the visit, Mark Gifford said he was pleased to see just how well the relationship with Lancaster & Morecambe College and NCS has developed over the years.
NCS is enabling 16 and 17-year olds to turn the year of disappointment and restrictions into a year of 'No we can'. By delivering NCS, Lancaster & Morecambe College are giving their students a valuable opportunity to develop essential skills for life and help get the country back on its feet through social action and volunteering.
Inspira CEO, Mark Bowman, echoed the sentiments and reflected on the strong relationship with Lancaster & Morecambe College,
Each year we have worked with Lancaster & Morecambe College, we've always been amazed by the response of the young people taking part and giving back to their communities. This year has been extremely tough on many people, including this cohort, so it is great to see the young people in action and the resilience they display.