My NCS Experience | Week 3 | Emily Bashforth

My NCS Experience | Week 3


So this is the final part of my NCS blog posts (until September at least) as, last week, I completed week 3 of my programme. If you want to read about my first week then click HERE and if you want to read about week 2 then click HERE.


This week was all about social action and, thankfully, only lasted until Thursday rather than Friday and didn't involve staying away from home! The week was all about designing our own campaign which would help others and was inspired by an organisation which we were assigned to work with. Here's what went down over the four days!

MONDAY:
We were to meet at our meeting point every day at 9:30am and the days would end at 5pm, when we were free to go home. I travelled on the bus each day with my friend, which ensured we arrived on time.
On Monday morning, we met our Community Facilitator aka another member of staff who would be helping our team for the week. We also spent the morning listening to a talk from another member of staff who spoke to us about what this week was all about. We then met our charity which we were to use to inspire us when designing our campaign. Our team's charity was Guide Dogs, and we met a lovely man and woman who spoke to us about the work they did. Despite the fact that they brought a guide dog along with them who decided to sit next to me and clearly couldn't sense that I am terrified of dogs, it was really inspiring to listen to what they had to say and listen to how much they have helped people.
After they left, we were put into small groups within our teams. Out of events logistics, strategy and marketing, I was put into strategy, meaning we were to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our campaign and plan the reasons behind all of our actions.
Then, we jumped straight into mind mapping and trying to think of campaign ideas. It was definitely a slow start and took a while to come up with something, although we knew we wanted to do something to raise awareness about independence for the visually impaired.
That was mainly it for the first day as it was just about coming up with ideas. It definitely felt amazing knowing I could go home to my own bed this week rather than staying elsewhere!

TUESDAY:
Tuesday was all about researching. We, once again, gathered in the morning and began preparing questions as we were going to be surveying the public out and about in the local area that day. We prepared 5 questions which we could ask and tally up answers for as they were all closed questions. The idea of the survey was to collect statistics which we could use to support our campaign and also give us some more ideas for what we could do for our actual campaign.
Despite being a shy person, I actually rather enjoyed talking to the public! Of course, many people refused to take part in the survey and couldn't get away fast enough when they heard a cry of "excuse me can I just ask you...." but many people did make the effort to answer our questions and were so lovely about it! Their answers were super helpful too.
Once we returned back to our meeting point, we put everyone's findings together and finally decided on an actual campaign idea. We were going to raise awareness for the fact that visually impaired people aren't always reliant on others and do have their own independence, which was proved to us by the Guide Dog charity. On our campaign day in September, we decided we would hand out leaflets, wear tshirts with our logo on, give out cakes and do other fun activities to get the public involved.
In the evenings each day too, we got together with the other teams and played games and reflected upon the day.

WEDNESDAY:
It was ALMOST the final day, YAY!! On Wednesday, each team was sent to a company to take a tour of their building and speak to the workers to get advice. We had been preparing all week for Thursday, when we were to pitch our campaign in the style of Dragons' Den to a panel to request funding. Therefore, we did a practise pitch to the company on Wednesday. They asked us questions and gave us helpful tips on how to improve our pitch.
When we left the Council (which was the organisation which our team was chosen to visit) and returned to our meeting area, we began perfecting our pitch. Our pitch explained exactly what we were going to do on campaign day and where the inspiration for our campaign came from. We also included statistics from our community survey.
Whilst the team were discussing our pitch, however, I didn't feel too great and suddenly burst into tears. Wow I feel like all of these NCS blog posts have just been about me crying my eyes out haha oops!
I guess I had just had enough and everything got a bit too much. I spoke to our programme leader and told her how I hadn't enjoyed my 3 weeks and she was super duper lovely about it. I then decided I couldn't go back into my team as I knew I would just burst into tears again and so I sat on the steps outside for a good hour and a half and just let it all out by myself haha. I won't bore you with any more details, however, let's just say I was very happy to get into my bed that night! :)

THURSDAY AKA THE FINAL DAY!!
Wooo it was the final day!! ....but it was almost the biggest day yet!! It was pitch day. We were instructed to dress smartly and so I wore a black dress, black jacket, black tights and black shoes (oh so colourful) with my hair in a bun. Everyone definitely looked extremely professional and as thought they meant business!
We spent the morning preparing our pitches. We had a practise run in front of a few other teams and they gave us some last minute tips on how to get it tip top. I didn't speak in the pitch myself (as we all know public speaking and I do not go hand in hand and after yesterday's events I wasn't on top form anyways) but did do the very important job of holding up a poster! Okay, maybe not so important but hey, I actually stood up in front of people! :D
When the time came to present our real pitches, we welcomed the 'Dragons' / panel and took our seats, waiting to be called up. My team's pitch wasn't too bad and when we were given feedback the panel said they enjoyed it and loved the idea of our campaign! We were rewarded with the maximum of £50's worth of funding, which we would be spending on bits and bobs such as cakes and printed tshirts to help us on campaign day.
Each team received the funding and so everyone was in good spirits afterwards. There was then a party to celebrate everyone's hard work over the last 3 weeks. Personally, I am not a party person and so ended up leaving early.

EMOTIONS:
This week's emotions weren't too different from the emotions of the previous 2 weeks, to be honest. Although, I was rather excited this week as I knew that Thursday was my final day haha! I didn't make any friends in my final days or anything and so still felt left out but I won't bore you with everything that went through my brain! I did feel rather sad still but at least it is all over and done with now! Thank goodness!

PEOPLE:
Everyone was still super nice to me this week and nobody has ever been nasty to me over the duration of my programme. It did take 20 people to walk past and ignore me, however, when I was sat outside crying on the steps on Wednesday before one eventually asked if I was okay, but I didn't mind as I suppose you just don't know what to say in those sort of situations.
The new staff we met this week were also really kind and the people in my team seemed to have a fantastic week. :)

OVERALL EXPERIENCE:
I cannot believe that I actually survived haha! During the first week it felt like this thing was going to last forever, but now I definitely feel much happier! Would I recommend NCS to others? Well, it really depends on what type of person you are. If I knew what I know now before I signed up, I won't lie, I probably wouldn't have done it, but hey, I tried it, and it's always okay to try out new things and not like them. However, if you are as shy and introverted as I am and spending time in the great outdoors with a large group of people who will probably be a lot louder than you doesn't sound appealing to you, it may not be your thing and I don't want to sugarcoat it. I was promised an amazing experience and that I would make lots of new friends and neither of those things happened. Although, even if you are shy and fancy signing up next year, I shall fully support and encourage you! You never know, you could get so much more than you think out of it and, if you do manage to enjoy yourself, make friends and have a better time than me, then I will be so so happy for you!
Life is all about trying new things, so why not give it a go!?
However, I hope my blog posts may have given you a bit of an idea about what the whole thing was like from the point of view of someone who isn't super out there and has informed you about what sorts of things you will be getting up to.
I actually wish I had something like this to read before I took part as I had no idea what I was getting myself into!

WHAT'S NEXT THEN?
I am now free from NCS until September! I will then meet up with my group every Saturday in September. On one of those days, we shall be carrying out our campaign to raise awareness and on the others, shall be reviewing our campaign and fundraising by doing a sponsored walk.

Thank you so much for reading my NCS posts! Once again, I hope they were okay and maybe slightly beneficial!

If you are taking part in NCS next year or later this Summer, I hope you have an amazing experience! If you like it, then brilliant! If not, than that is totally okay too :)

Please Tweet me any questions you have or comment them below as I will be more than happy to answer them! <3

Love, Emily :) xx

2 comments:

  1. I agree that NCS is for some people but not for others. I was one of the only seventeen year olds on the programme and I felt that the groups were cliché(y) because they were all school friends. At least you didn't get sent home like me :) At least it's something to put on the CV!xx
    Molly | Molly Louise Blogs

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    1. Yes it definitely wasn't my cup of tea! Awh I'm so sorry about that! I can't even believe I managed to survive the whole three weeks!! :O That's the main reason I did it haha - Thank you for reading, Mollie <3 xx

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