Inspira help NCS young people get involved in social action Between July and December approximately 1000 young people in Cumbria, Lancashire and Northumberland will have been inspired into action by the challenges faced in our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. By giving their time, the young people will have contributed towards a total of over 8,000 hours of voluntary work and social action projects across the Inspira delivery areas. “It is an amazing effort”, said Pete Alger Director at Inspira, responsible for NCS. “2020 has been like no other year, so we are really proud of how the young people in the NCS community have responded to the challenges.” When lockdown came into effect, many young people In Cumbria, Lancashire and Northumbria were looking for ways to step up and support their local communities. However, research from the National Citizen Service (NCS) showed that nearly half (44%) of 16-17-year olds didn’t know how to get involved to help. “As part of Inspira’s work, we deliver the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme. Due to COVID –19, we had to change the usual structure to one which was and is COVID safe, but still enabling young people to come together and do good in the summer and in autumn,” continued Mr Alger. “We gave young people the chance to pledge up to 16 hours each towards a national target of one million hours of volunteering and social action.” Getting involved in a huge variety of sustainable and meaningful projects, the young people cleaned up parks and community gardens, picked up litter on beaches and in woodland, helped charity shops with their post-Covid donations and raised money for local causes across the Inspira delivery areas. Susan Cammish, Nature Ranger with Allerdale Borough Council said, “despite the torrential rain, they stayed on task and achieved some great outcomes for WNP and the Get Cumbria Buzzing initiative. They worked safely and confidently to the instructions given.” As schools returned in the new academic year, Inspira continued to offer support through NCS as part of the School Support programme delivering programmes and activities for 16 - 17-year olds, directly through their schools and colleges. “This initiative enables schools and colleges to pick thematic sessions which help young people with well-being, employability and post COVID socialisation,” added Mr Algar. Young people who have taken part in NCS can also access an extensive network of further opportunities, allowing them to continue doing good for their communities. Starting in September Local Action Groups are held monthly bringing together engaged and committed young people, linking with youth services, local authorities and charities. For further information on NCS, please visit wearencs.com.