The National Citizen Service (NCS) is the government’s largest youth initiative aimed at those who are currently, or soon to be, 16 or 17 years old. It was designed to support the coalition’s vision for building the Big Society and it is the first year it has been officially rolled out in the Poole and Bournemouth area.
The scheme aims to help young people with the transition to adulthood by bringing together people from a range of different backgrounds, to make a difference in their communities.
The group unanimously chose to work with the Lilliput-based charity, which offers free specialist palliative nursing care to around 650 local people living with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.
The 15 teenagers have been in the programme for four weeks, which began with a range of outdoor pursuits and team building exercises, followed by project work and skill building.
In the final two weeks the group planned, designed and presented their ideas for the Lewis-Manning Hospice garden, before arriving on-site to create their chosen design.
The ‘Tree of Life’ sculpture, which has been erected in the hospice’s wooded area of the garden, is to be a lasting sculpture that patients and their families can use to hang or display memories, inspirational messages and bucket lists.
Participants Ruth Jennings, Lauren Gower and Chloe Sparks said: “We started four weeks ago as a group of strangers who became a team, working hard together to give back to the community. The final week at the hospice was fantastic and we are very proud to have pulled together to build the ‘Tree of Life’, creating something positive.”
Elizabeth Purcell, chief executive at Lewis-Manning, added: “I am absolutely delighted that the young people in the National Citizen scheme have chosen to enhance the environment at Lewis-Manning Hospice with their art work. It’s been great to have them here and we have all really enjoyed their energy and enthusiasm.”