This week the first wave of young people from Barrow, Lancaster& Morecambe, South Lakes, West and North Cumbria headed out on their once-in-a-lifetime journey with National Citizen Service (NCS).
Travelling to outdoor centres at YMCA Lakeside and Dukeshouse Wood in Hexham, they will be pushed out of their comfort zones, engaging in outdoor activities and developing their confidence and team leader skills.
NCS is run in England and Northern Ireland, by the NCS Trust. Inspira manages the programme in Cumbria and Lancashire with a series of delivery partners on behalf of the Trust.
“This year we are taking out over 4300 young people from Cumbria and Lancashire,” said Pete Alger, Inspira’s Director in charge of NCS. “It is a huge logistical operation, working with numerous partners but so rewarding when you see the young peoples' experiences first hand."
NCS is a four-week programme, which comprises a week in an outdoor setting, a week getting a taste of independent living in a university-style environment where they develop life skills like confidence, leadership and communication to boost their CV or UCAS personal statement. Following that, the young people are ready to make a difference in their local community by planning then delivering their own social action project.
Last year, social action projects have included raising awareness and money for mental health, and the environment.
To date, almost 500,000 young people have taken part in NCS and have dedicated 12 and a half million hours to community action.
Independent research has found that after completing NCS participants say they feel more equipped to tackle problems in their community, and more able to have an impact on the world around them.