Baroness Barran announces the winner of the NCS ‘Make a Change’ competition
12 November 2020
A young person from Yorkshire has been named winner of the ‘Make a Change’ competition.
The letter writing competition, which was launched by NCS (National Citizen Service) in April, invited young people to write a short letter about how digital technology may be contributing to loneliness amongst teenagers.
More than 150 NCS grads took part in the competition. In their written submissions they described how lockdown had created a greater sense of isolation among their young peers and offered ideas to the Government on what they felt could be done to tackle loneliness.
Baroness Barran, Minister for Civil Society, announced the winner over a short video today.
Luke Stokes-Roberts, 19, winner of the competition, said: “I took part in the NCS ‘Make a Change’ competition because I felt I had a duty to help others who are in a worse position than I am. I hope the ideas I’ve come up with may help to bring about tangible results for teenagers struggling with an invisible illness.
“It’s important that there are practical ways to help teens combat loneliness, particularly as we enter a second lockdown. Staying active and helping out other people who need support can help steer teens away from feeling isolated.”
The three runners up are: Gemma Hutchinson, 18, who lives in Coventry; Georgina Shajan, 17, from Leicester, and Monica Richards, 20, who lives in London.
Our four finalists were invited to have a virtual meeting with Baroness Barran to discuss their ideas and how it might shape future government policy.
Baroness Barran, Minister for Civil Society, said: “I was really impressed by Luke’s letter, particularly the way he outlined the benefits and risks of digital technology and offered some practical ideas to reduce loneliness that we can all take forward in our lives.
"Congratulations to Luke and the three runners up who I had the pleasure of meeting – thank you all for contributing to this important debate.”
Loneliness is a major issue affecting young people. According to a report published by the Government earlier this year, ‘young people report struggling with loneliness more than any other group’.
As lockdown gets underway, NCS is urging young people who are struggling to cope with loneliness and isolation to reach out for help. Support for young people under 25 is available. Contact The Mix for help; call 0808 808 4994.
General advice and useful tips on dealing with loneliness are available through the #Let’sTalkLoneliness campaign.
These are the selected excerpts from the finalists’ letters.
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NOTES TO EDITORS
About NCS (National Citizen Service)
NCS is an experience like no other. Designed for 16-17 year olds across England and Northern Ireland, NCS is a youth programme that runs every summer and autumn, during school holidays. Teens get the opportunity to mix with a new crowd, live away from home for a while, take on new challenges and in the process build lifelong friendships.
The programme is all about emboldening young people – by giving them a taste of independence and equipping them with essential skills for life. NCSers then get a chance to take these new-found skills for a test-run in their local community.
NCS is dedicated to providing a platform to make sure young people are heard and can engage with their community by completing passion projects, raising awareness and providing solutions to the issues they care about.
The experience might last just a few weeks, but the impact? That lasts a lot longer. Since 2009 nearly 600,000 young people have taken part in NCS, completing over 14.5 million hours of community action, and gaining priceless life experiences.
NCS costs no more than £50 - with bursaries and support for those with special educational needs or disabilities also available. NCS’s mission is to give every young person the life-changing experience.
NCS delivers value for money. £3.49 of benefits to society for every £1 spent. During lockdown NCS has had over 1.7 million unique engagements with teens through its ‘Staying Connected’ hub.
About NCS Trust
National Citizen Service Trust is an Arm's Length Body of DCMS incorporated by Royal
Charter and established to shape, support, champion and lead a thriving National
National Citizen Service Trust is registered in England and Wales with Royal Charter
Body number RC000894. Our registered office is at The Pembroke Building,
Kensington Village, Avonmore Road, London, W14 8DG.
To learn more about NCS Trust visit LinkedIn