Northumberland National Citizen Service (NCS)

Say Yes to NCS

National Citizen Service (NCS) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 15*-17 year olds across England.

IS NCS for you?

If you want to make friends, take part in unbelievable adventures and gain essential life skills then YES, NCS is for you!

Watch the video to below to hear from the people who completed the course:

What will you do during your NCS?

From raft-building to learning essential CV-boosting skills, watch the video to find out about all the different phases you'll take part in during your NCS.

Should your child try NCS?

Does NCS sound like a good opportunity for your child?

Hear some of the parents talk about the positive changes they saw in their children after taking part in NCS in the video below and find more resources for parents here. 

Who is NCS for?

Still unsure? Read our blog here and make sure you check out our video below to find out how NCS can kick-start your future. 

What is NCS?

National Citizen Service (NCS) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 15*-17 year olds across England. 

Why should I do it?

You'll take part in adventurous activities such as kayaking and caving, learn invaluable skills that make your CV stand out, and take direct action to make a positive difference in your community!

What's more, when you've completed your NCS you'll receive qualifications during a special graduation ceremony. 

When is it?

You can take part in our four-week summer programme or our condensed (but still as jam-packed) October programme. 

Click here to learn more. 

How much does it cost

It’s just £50 to take part in NCS and that includes all activities, accommodation, food and travel. 

Government backing has allowed us to keep the cost this low and there are also bursaries available on a case by case basis. Support is provided for young people with additional needs.

How do I book?

Parents or teenagers should call 0191 247 4020 or visit the NCSNORTHEAST website here to book a place.
*Note: 15 year olds can take part in the summer programme if they turn 16 by the end of August

Read about last year's away residential.

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.
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.
​NCS: The programme to change their future

If you're a parent/guardian of a teenager and pondering half-term or summer holiday plans, you'll want to know that bookings for the National Citizen Service (NCS) are now open – and filling up fast!

NCS is your teen's chance to gain vital skills as they live away from home, enjoy incredible new experiences, and meet amazing people.

It’s a life a life-changing programme that equips 16 and 17-year olds with the skills they need for life and work: teamwork, communication, leadership, confidence, independence and more.

They’ll enjoy a residential adventure, skill-building training with a focus on independent living, as well as a chance to deliver a community project on a cause they care about.

Places cost just £50 (£10 for those eligible for free school meals), including transport, accommodation, food, activities and training.

Make your teen unstoppable: encourage them to book their half-term programme today at NCSNORTHEAST.CO.UK or call 0191 247 4020
Past graduation photos

​Read the blog from a past NCS course.

A Team Blog 1 - week one

This week we (The A-Team) started our first week of social action. We had 3 ideas on the table at the start of the week for our project including; mental health, environmental issues and homelessness.  

We spent most of our first day trying to decide which topic to cover. After much discussion and debate, we opted to try and do something to raise awareness about youth mental health, and to try and reduce the stigma around mental health. Our group decided to start by carrying out a survey with young people to gather their views on mental health so that we could ensure our campaign met their needs. We constructed our survey on Google and shared it with our friends and contacts on social media, we also went to Newcastle city centre and carried out face to face consultation with random members of the public.  Over 340 people completed our questionnaire in total - which we are so proud of! We all felt so nervous approaching random strangers, but out of the whole team of 12 people 7 of us would feel more confident after doing it and felt that it is something we could do again. Some of us had to deal with a challenging member of the public too, but we had put a plan in place so we could signal to our youth worker if someone was upsetting or intimidating us. It worked really well, and she was straight there when it got challenging. This taught us how important it is to plan and risk assess your activities, and that it is important to look out for one another.

We have spent the rest of this week researching mental health to help inform our campaign. We are hoping to produce a leaflet and wristband campaign, which can be used in schools, with us potentially producing assembly and teaching packs that can be used by teachers and youth workers across Northumberland. Our group have other ideas to, including creating a you tube video and a hashtag, but we will have to see how our project develops over the next week to see if we have time to put all of our ideas into fruition.

The NCS opportunity continues to be such a positive experience for us all. We are still working so well together as a team. We feel we have learnt so much about good team dynamics and can see how this will massively benefit us when we start our careers in the future. 

Our highlight for this week has been cooking our 3 course meal. This is one of the missions we have to complete for our Northumberland Challenge (which is an extra project attached to NCS when you go on programme with Northumberland Youth Service). It was great taking responsibility for cooking for a large group. We made sure everyone contributed to deciding on the menu and preparing the meal. We were so organised and even made our starter and components for our main the day before. Our menu included: leek and potato soup; pizza with various toppings and to finish brownies and ice cream. We prepared virtually everything from scratch including our pizza dough, tomato sauce and garlic mayo. It was so nice to sit down and enjoy a meal we had prepared together.  Our new friendships are one of the best things to come out of NCS - so to have a meal together was great treat this week. 
We are so excited for next week when we get to start making a real difference.  We are looking forward to working with an artist to 

This week we (The A-Team) completed our final week on our NCS journey – Social Action week two. We have spent this last week producing resources that we hope will help to raise awareness about youth mental health so that we can reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health and encourage young people to look after themselves as a way of promoting positive mental health. In addition to raising awareness, we also wanted to do some fundraising for a mental health charity (we opted to complete a sponsored walk to raise funds for MIND). 

This week has been a very hands on experience; we have all been actively involved in pushing our mental health awareness campaign forward.  We have been contacting our local councillors via phone and email in an attempt to generate funds for our project, we have worked with an artist to design a leaflet, produced a teaching pack that can be adapted to make an assembly slideshow, designed a wristband, created a YouTube video, and organised and took part in a sponsored walk.

We all feel so proud of the things we have achieved- especially the products we have produced.  The leaflet already looks so professional and we still have some finishing touches to organise with the artist.  It has been so enjoyable getting everyone to contribute to the process of creating our campaign and seeing it all come together to produce such great products.
Our sponsored walk was a real highlight this week.  It was great to get out and about and do something fun to raise money for charity.  We walked from Newburn Leisure Centre to Prudhoe and then back again.  So far we have raised £140 for MIND and we still have some more money to collect in.  We are so happy we got to give back to a great charity.  Not only have we raised funds but also our campaign will hopefully positively affect our community by raising awareness of the mental health issues young people face, as well as reducing the stigma that surrounds mental health in general.

We have all learnt a great deal about mental health. This knowledge, which is not only important for us individually, will allow us to carry forward our message and continue to promote discussing mental health in a positive way so that we will forever go on reducing stigma. I think some of us have even changed how we view life as a whole because of this experience; by that we mean less judgemental, more willing to talk to new people without fear, which makes for better interactions with others in general.  We also approach things with far more positivity now - we now realise we can do anything if we put our minds to it!

Doing NCS has benefited us all in so many individual ways, however we all agree that one of the best things to come out of it is making so many new friends and growing in confidence.  We have just created our own health campaign, I’m not sure any of us thought we would achieve that on day one! We are so sad our NCS journey is coming to an end, but we look forward to taking part in our celebration event in September.

We are not sure any of us truly believed it when people said NCS would change our lives. I don’t think any of us thought we would come here and get so emotionally attached, I think we just thought it would help us in the future and we would enjoy the activities and make some new friends.

 Now we will be saying NCS can really change your life and it will be us they won’t believe – I guess you have to experience NCS to ‘get it’ – but they won’t believe that either! Unless they do it for themselves…and to think, it all started with YES!

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