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Sam Allardyce, football manager

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Introduction to NCS for Year 11

Monday, 31 March 2014

The Year 11 boys visited Bolton Lads and Girls Club to learn more about National Citizenship Service, or NCS. This scheme encourages citizenship skills and self-development in young people aged 16 and up.

Bolton School pupils have taken part in the scheme for the past four years, and have formed a strong link with Bolton Lads and Girls Club as a result. Participation in NCS has grown over the years from a small scheme to something much larger: this is the third year that the programme has been recommended to the whole of Year 11, across the Boys' and Girls' Divisions.

A yearly trip to Bolton Lads and Girls Club is organised to familiarise pupils with the facilities and introduce the scheme. The boys enjoyed a short team-building session, followed by an afternoon of fun acivities: the rock climbing wall, ping-pong and basketball were just a few! They had a really great time throughout the afternoon, and hopefully will be interested in signing up to NCS this summer.

This is a fantastic opportunity to develop skills and simultaneously give something back to the local community.

NCS offers a full four weeks of activities. Those taking part are split into diverse groups, mixing pupils from different schools across the whole of Bolton; there would only be three or four Bolton School pupils in each group. This is in itself a wonderful chance for the boys to get to know people from lifestyles and backgrounds which are different from their own.

Three groups at a time are sent to enjoy a residential week of team-building and outdoor pursuits in one of three locations: Scotland, Wales, or Patterdale Hall in the Lake District. The participants are encouraged to work together, and build their confidence through activities such as kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rock climbing and abseiling. The groups are then offered a taste of university life: a second residential week at the University of Bolton. This can be a challenge for some, as they have to live in halls and deal with housemates, as well as fending for themselves - in some cases for the first time - with no assistace with cooking, cleaning or budget. However, it is also a further change for the teams to bond, and lasting friendships can be forged during these weeks.

During the final two weeks, NCS allows participants to plan and deliver a community project. This counts as 40 hours of volunteer work. Using the excellent network of contacts which Bolton Lads and Girls Club has throughout the community - linking them with Oxfam, Guide Dogs UK, Bolton at Home and many more - they can choose which charities to assist. Past activities have included fundraising, setting up a tent at a summer fair in support of Oxfam, and helping to regenerate an area or building.

NCS aims to engage young people with volunteering in the long-term by showing them that it is something fun which also gives something back to the volunteer themselves.

The Year 11 boys' trip to Bolton Lads and Girls Club follows on from the Year 11 girls' trip earlier in the year.

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The boys tackled the BLGC climbing wall

The boys tackled the BLGC climbing wall

Basketball was one of the range of activities available

Basketball was one of the range of activities available

Ping-pong was a hit among the Year 11s

Ping-pong was a hit among the Year 11s