NCS Summer 2016 Away Residential Blog

NCS Summer 2016 Away Residential Blog

NCS Summer 2016 Away Residential Blog

Week One - July 2016 - The 'A-Team' - NCS Summer 2016

Our group had mixed emotions when we first arrived on our NCS programme, most of us felt nervous and scared because we had never done anything like this before.  There was an element for some of us where we felt curious and excited about what lay ahead, too.

The away residential is all about pushing yourself and your personal boundaries. The variety of challenging activities helped with this.  We have taken part in the following activities; 
  • gorge walking,
  • hill walking,
  • team building,
  • canoeing,
  • lakeland coasteering along with fire and shelter building.

It’s been such an exciting and challenging week.  Most of us thought the gorge walking was the best activity ­ as it was very exhilarating and so much fun!  We all feel that we have worked hard to get to know people, especially those we wouldn’t normally mix with.  Our team work skills are growing every day and we are part of a very encouraging team.  We all agree that the whole experience so far has been so enjoyable.

We feel we have learnt a lot about stretching our comfort zones, taking on new challenges and making new friends. We all recognise that we are learning new skills for the future and can see how this will help us in our future with regards to personal life skills, career choices and getting on better with others.

The only thing some of us would do differently is to start interacting with others sooner, as we recognise now that we are more able than we thought at building new relationships and friendships with others.  And if we had started that process sooner our team would have grown closer from the very beginning.

There have been so many highlights for our group over the last week, it is hard to think of just one.  The stand out activity was definitely gorge walking, but it has been an amazing experience so far and we have all enjoyed meeting new people and bonding as a team.  

Our hill walk on the first day was a great start to our week as the extreme change in weather when we got to the top meant we all got to huddle together in a storm shelter ­ which was the start of our team bonding process.

The strength of our team and it’s members is already evident, we can already see how our new friends are developing, growing and progressing.  We have managed to coax people to take on new challenges, started to develop the leaders of the future and emotionally support others.

We look forward to our next challenge as we take on another 5 days of personal development at Dukeshouse Wood residential centre. It all started with YES!

If you would like to take part then call 0191 247 4020 or visit to book a place.


Week two- August 2016 - The 'A-Team' - NCS Summer 2016

The ‘A-Team’ has continued on their NCS experience this week, and has taken part in what is called the ‘Home’ residential.  The group have spent this last week at Dukeshouse Wood, a Northumbrian residential centre.  This phase of NCS is all about the young people identifying who they are and what they have to offer, as well as learning more about Northumberland and identifying what things matter to them in their community so that they can start thinking about their Social Action Project. I caught up with the group to find out how they were getting on…

We feel sad there we are almost half way through our NCS experience because we will not all be together after NCS, and we will all miss each other! We are all feeling far more confident as we continue on our NCS experience; we have worked together so well over the past two weeks, and in the beginning we hardly knew each other. NCS has made us feel more engaged, which is great because it is better to be involved in experiences like this, instead of doing nothing at all over the summer.

We have done so much this last week on our Home Residential - it has been a lot of fun! We have started choosing our Social Action Project (but I won’t say too much yet as we have to do a pitch to the NCS Dragons for our funds) furthermore we: created a group flag; visited historical and cultural sites in Morpeth; took part in Northumberland Youth Service’s version of the ‘Pointless’ game show to help us learn more about Northumberland; played ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here’ to help us to develop team work skills; fostered risk taking and challenge and develop communication and decision making too and performed in a ‘Lip Sync Battle’.

We have enjoyed spending more time with our new friends that we have made during our NCS experience. We have also enjoyed taking on more responsibility - as it will help us to make more independent decisions in the future. We quite enjoyed visiting the historic and cultural sites in Morpeth as it allowed the group the opportunity to socialise more in our groups, and with the public. We also got to learn interesting facts about some of the historic and cultural sites.  We learnt that Dr William Turner has a garden dedicated to his work in Carlisle Park and it features examples of his work including herbs that were used in Elizabethan times. 

We have really enjoyed organising our own activities instead of relying on other people. Our whole group have made this experience what it has been for each of us. We have worked really well together over the past two weeks: it’s been such a positive experience and we are glad to have met each other.

We feel like we have learnt so much over the last two weeks. We’ve learnt about the need for resilience and how important it is to keep pushing yourself, or you won’t get very far in life. This whole experience has really helped us push our boundaries, we’ve done things over the last 2 weeks we never dreamed we would ever do; like gorge walking; carrying out a risk assessment to keep people safe; delivering presentations to strangers and getting to know new and different people.  We have also learnt how important it is to be punctual, if you’re not punctual you could miss something really important, like a meeting or a train and we have learnt how to organise activities on a budget. When we went to Morpeth we were almost over charged by £31 on our lunch bill, so we now realise it’s important to be thorough and make sure you check things to ensure you stay in budget. 

We don’t really know how our team could do any better, as the group all get along so well. Some of us would try harder to make sure that our say was counted, as sometimes peoples ideas weren’t given the merit they deserved for one reason or another, so I guess you could say we need to learn to listen to everyone and what they bring to the table so no one feels left out.

The highlight of our week has been the way that everyone in our group has bonded as a team.  It is hard to believe the majority of us didn’t know each other two weeks ago. The dancing we did as part of the ‘Lip Sync Battle’ was our absolute highlight this week.  It really helped us all come together as a team, and for most of us was something completely new and totally stretched our comfort zones, it was such a good laugh!  We all really enjoyed our trip to Morpeth this week as well, it was interesting to learn some of the history behind the town - we learnt a lot of things we didn’t know. 

NCS has been such an amazing experience so far. We can’t wait for Social Action and to do something positive in our community! It all started with YES!

If you would like to take part then call 0191 247 4020 or visit to book a place.