Posted in Lifestyle, Travel, Uncategorized

Summer activities with National Citizen Service

The summer holidays are approaching and if your kids are anything like mine they will be complaining from day one that they are bored but not interested in going to any of the places you suggest. If like me you also have a child in year 11 you will know that the summer holidays are even longer than usual as they undertake their GCSE exams and will need something to keep them busy before embarking on new adventures come September.

I first heard about National Citizen Service (NCS) a few weeks ago when my daughter was told about it at school, a few of her friends have already signed up and she is still contemplating it, her biggest worry is that she wont know anybody that goes at the same time as her. My 19 year old daughter says one of her biggest regrets was not signing up to NCS. She didn’t even tell me about it when she left school because she wasn’t interested in going but loads of her friends went and still rave about it and meet up with people that they met on the residential and she feels like she missed out on a great opportunity!

So you are probably wondering what NCS is?

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What is NCS and how does it work?

NCS is a 4 – 6 week programme aimed at 15 – 17 year olds where they come together in their local community to build life skills and take part in a residential trip full of adventure. The programme is split into 4 phases:

  • PHASE 1 – ADVENTURE
A five-day, four-night residential based away from home with fun activities such as canoeing, rock climbing and abseiling. A chance to meet new people and enjoy some adventure, fun and freedom!
  • PHASE 2 – DISCOVERY
A further 5 days and four nights in a uni-style environment where you’ll develop life skills like confidence, leadership and communication to boost your CV or UCAS personal statement.
  • PHASE 3 – ACTION
Working in teams, you’ll put your new skills into practice by delivering a community project of your choice. Plan, fundraise, make a difference!
  • PHASE 4 – CELEBRATION
You and your mates will get together to celebrate your achievements. NCS opens up a world of opportunities, giving you exclusive access to work placements, volunteering and events
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We all know that it is easy for teenagers to get caught up in certain crowds and with individuals that we may not think is a great influence or our little cherubs and many people complain that government cuts mean there is nowhere for their kids to go to pass time and enjoy themselves. NCS is a government backed scheme and was established to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society. NCS helps them to become better individuals, and in turn better citizens by bringing young people from different backgrounds to share in this unique experience.
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It is inevitable that there will be marathon sessions of FIFA or Fortnight and probably binge watching a few Netflix series but if you want to get your teen off the sofa this summer then checkout the NCS website where you can sign up! There are still plenty of places available and you can fit it around other commitments over the summer such as family holidays. This year more than 100,000 teenagers from different backgrounds will come together in common purpose on NCS. That means one in six of the cohort of 16 year olds will live together, develop skills together and build community projects together.

So I imagine you are wondering how much it costs to keep a teenager busy for four whole weeks?

Well this is the good part… It’s £50!

Yes £50 includes all food, activities and accommodation, probably less than you spend on one days childcare, and bursaries are also available on a case by case basis. More than 400,000 teenagers have already taken part in this government backed scheme since it started in 2011 and I am off to try and convince my daughter that taking part is going to be so much more fun than me dragging her around all the museums in London over summer.

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*written in collaboration with National Citizen Service and all images provided by them
Posted in Photography, Uncategorized

Photography project – The garden edition

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I have come across quite a few garden blog posts recently and they all seem to be full of bountiful blooms, immaculate lawns and ornate décor. Then I look out of my window and just see a mess of overgrown bushes, withered flowers and a dilapidated shed.

A few years ago I decided to give my shed a makeover, I painted it in a pretty off white shade and hung bunting around the top but I have since filled the shed with everything I don’t need from the house so it has become a bit of a dumping ground. My neighbours then put in a new fence and all the greenery on top of the shed died revealing a hole in the top and a load of dead roots.

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My plan is to hire a skip and get rid of the lot! I would also like to cut down the bushes and start over with a blank canvas but in the meantime I have challenged myself to photograph the garden focusing on details and textures. It is quite a small space so I wasn’t expecting to find a lot but it’s amazing just how much detail there is in a garden environment.

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One thing I have noticed recently is the abundance of berries that have started growing, although I have no idea where they came from, this is an addition to the garden that I really like and would love to grow more fruit.

I often look for places I can visit to photograph but actually there is so much to see on my own (back) doorstep that I should pay more attention too!

Have you found anything interesting to photograph lately?