NCS GIVES A VOICE TO GEN-Z IN COLLABORATION WITH POET AND DIRECTOR CALEB FEMI
3 August 2020
“Now We’re Ready to Rebuild the World"
- NCS partners with poet and director Caleb Femi on ‘Life AfterLockdown’, a visual manifesto and statement of intent that reveals how‘Generation Lockdown’ see their future post Covid-19
- New research reveals over two thirds (75%)1 of British youth feel they don’t have a voice in society – NCS wants to make their voices heard
- Crowdsourcing opinions from NCS’s network of British teenagers,thepiece highlights what really matters to this generation now.
NCS has today launched Life After Lockdown, a visual manifesto and statement of
intent to reflect the voices of British youth. The launch follows new research that
shows more than two thirds (75%) of young people feel their voice is not heard in
society, despite their futures being impacted the most. The majority of 16-17 year
olds surveyed said they are concerned about education (67%)2 , followed by
loneliness (42%) and their mental health (33%). Yet despite this, the research
shows this is a generation of optimists who are now ready to “rebuild the world”.
NCS partnered with the first Young People’s Laureate, Caleb Femi, to create the
visual manifesto. Featured in the Dazed100 list of the next generation shaping
youth culture, his previous collaborations include Kano, the Tate Modern and the
BFI. To craft the piece, NCS reached out to 1,000s of British teenagers in its
network, through online and social, to crowdsource opinions and find out what
really matters to them now.
The statement of intent outlines young people’s hopes and dreams whilst
reflecting on the lockdown period. It projects the journey of self-development
many have taken during lockdown, from the personal impact (“becoming our
own teachers”), to the changes in community (“every person in my
neighbourhood is my cousin”) to wider societal developments with the Black
Lives Matters movement (“shout-out to those who stood for equality”). Building to a climactic finish, the piece ends on a positive note stating that together, “we’re
ready to rebuild the world”.
Bringing it to life, Caleb directs a short film that follows the journey of three
teenagers, coming of age during lockdown. The film is told through moving
image, photography and content submitted by NCS grads, scored with poetry,
original music and soundscapes.
On his role in the collaboration, Caleb Femi said, “The work follows a stream of
consciousness mirroring the optimism of our youth - hopes and dreams
unscathed by outside influences. Submissions from young people were
interwoven to highlight their truths, their resilience and an imagination that can
envision and create a new tomorrow. They acknowledge the past but are resolute
in changing a shared future.”
He continues: “It was an honour to be a mouthpiece for a young generation on
behalf of NCS, who have so much to contribute to our society.”
NCS Grad Ellie who helped inspire the piece, added: “Whilst it’s been hard being
stuck in the same house for weeks on end, it’s taught me to be grateful for those
around me during these unprecedented times. I hope that we can continue
supporting each other, as well as those that are currently doing an amazing job at
keeping this country together. We need to keep sharing the new sense of
community that my generation have found online through NCS’ Staying
Connected hub, and especially via FaceTime and Snapchat. I also hope we
continue sharing the positive voices of young people with the rest of society,
especially since it’s our future that will be mostly impacted as a result of
Not just giving young people an opportunity to be heard with this campaign, NCS
is a life-changing programme open to all teenagers aged 16-17 aiming to discover
who they are and what they can do. It aims to engage, empower and build young
people’s confidence and build a celebrated rite of passage that will serve and
inspire the young people of this country for generations to come.
Life After Lockdown’ is part of the wider NCS ‘No We Can’ campaign, which aims
to give a voice to a generation ready to speak their mind, inciting independence
and helping them turn a lifetime of being told they are too young into a collective
voice that tells the world what they can achieve.
To watch the ‘Life After Lockdown’ short film with Caleb Femi and the young
people of NCS, click here, and to read more on NCS or have your own voice heard,
visit www.wearencs.com. NCS is working in partnership with the British Youth
Council and DCMS's new Youth Steering Group to 'turn up' the voice of youth
people in Government.
1 Research by Youth Sight: 1,514 15-17 year olds were surveyed in May 2020. Data tables available on request.
2 Research by Youth Sight: 185 16-17 year olds were surveyed in April 2020. Data tables available on request
Case studies are available on request. For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Life After Lockdown:
When the time comes again
to step out freely into the world.
All my friends who held me down,
you’ll be the first I holla at, to link up with.
We’ll be face to face again to say things
we couldn’t say behind a screen.
I’ve made a list of all the places we said we’ll visit.
Let’s see how far our legs take us
to that lake, those woods, all the precious greenery
we said we’ll help protect in our fight for a better climate.
What can faze us? When we’re told no you can’t.
We say no we can. Even when we’re back at school
we’ll have a better time since we spent so many days indoors
becoming our own teachers. Picking up new skills.
Learning more about who we are as individuals,
as siblings, as a family.
From now on, every person in my neighbourhood is my cousin.
Only family stick together through tough times like my community did.
Shout out to those who lived a life locked down
Shout out to the frontliners
Shout out to those who stood for equality
Shout out to those fuelled with hope and joy
And now together, we’re ready to rebuild the world
About Caleb Femi:
Caleb Femi is a poet and director, raised on the North Peckham estate in South
London. He has written and directed short films for the BBC and Channel 4, and
poems for Tate Modern, the Royal Society for Literature, St Paul's Cathedral, the BBC,
the Guardian and more. He has been featured in the Dazed 100 list of the next
generation shaping youth culture. From 2016 to 2018, he served as the Young
People's Laureate for London. He recently wrote the liner material for Kano's 2019
album Hoodies All Summer. His first book, Poor, is released in November this year,
combining poetry and original photography to explore the trials, tribulations, dreams
and joys of young Black boys in twenty-first century Peckham.
Caleb has collaborated with NCS to help empower the next generation stand up for
the beliefs and aims to create an impactful change for future generations to come.
About National Citizen Service [NCS]
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
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.
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.