With over 500,000 NCSers that have gone before you, chances are you’re not the first to ask it. We’ve pulled together all our FAQs to try and make your life a little easier.
If we don’t have the answer for you here, get in touch.
About the programme
WHERE DOES NCS TAKE PLACE?
You’ll find us dotted all over the country, in various locations. For NCS Autumn 2020, you’ll spend up to a week taking part in fun activities in and around your local area, and at the end of every day you’ll get to go back home and sleep in your own bed!
WHAT ACTIVITIES WILL I BE DOING?
You’ll be taking part in all sorts of activities that will show you how to work in a team, have a better understanding of your community, get some skills to make your CV shine, boost your confidence, give you opportunities to try things you may have never tried before, and get involved in supporting your local community and make a positive impact
HOW LONG IS IT?
NCS this autumn is made up of up to a week's worth of activities, followed by some extra hours for you to complete a passion project of your choice.
WILL I EVER BE FORCED TO DO AN ACTIVITY?
Nope, that’s not our style. You can absolutely sit out if you really don’t want to do something, without feeling any pressure. No one will ever force you to do anything, and that includes your mates! What we may do though is encourage you to challenge yourself where you can – you might just surprise yourself. But in the end it’ll always be your decision.
CAN I BRING MY PHONE?
Big question, but yes don’t panic, you can keep up with the outside world while on NCS. In fact we want you to share and shout about your experience! There will be times that we’ll ask you to leave your phone behind – like if you’re about to take the plunge into an outdoor activity – but apart from that, tap away.
WILL THERE BE WIFI?
Good question, nobody wants to be away from Insta for too long. And it depends on where you’re doing your activity each day. But don’t worry, because you get to go back home at the end of each day, so you won’t be off grid for too long.
CAN I COME WITH MY MATES?
If you’ve got a mate going on NCS, we’ll try our very best to get you booked onto the same programme. Just give us a call on 0800 197 8010, live chat us via our website, or drop us an email to email@example.com with their name. But be quick! Autumn is bound to fill up really fast, so make sure you let us know ASAP and we’ll do all we can. And remember, whether you come with your bestie or on your own, you’ll make loads of mates (we have hundreds of thousands of happy grads to prove it).
WHO RUNS THE PROGRAMME?
Because we run our programme all over the country, we partner with some amazing regional experts whose mission it is to deliver the best NCS experience in your area. Your local NCS Team will be the ones meticulously planning every little detail to make your experience one to remember. Check out wearencs.com/network-providers to see who operates in your area.
WHO WILL I BE WITH?
You’ll be in a team of up to 15 other teens from your local area. You might recognise the odd face from your school or college, or you might be meeting everyone for the first time. That’s the beauty of it – lots of new mates await at NCS! We’ll be following all government guidelines regarding social distancing, so group sizes may be subject to change.
I NEED TO MISS A DAY ON PROGRAMME, IS THIS POSSIBLE?
It’s best that you do attend the entire programme (and trust us, you won’t want to miss a moment), but we get that this isn’t always possible. So if you have any exceptional circumstances – bereavement, illness, serious injury, medical, significant family occasion, etc – you’ll need to discuss these with your local NCS team as soon as possible to see what steps can be taken.
WILL I MAKE FRIENDS?
Yes! Why are we so confident? Well, we have thousands of stories of young people going it alone on NCS, and leaving with newfound mates they were so grateful to meet. So don’t be worried about not knowing anyone – most will be in the same boat.
HOW ARE YOU KEEPING EVERYONE SAFE DURING NCS?
We’re following the government and the National Youth Agency’s guidance on managing youth sector activities and spaces during coronavirus.
That means you'll be in venues that have been selected and checked following rigorous guidelines and specifications to ensure the safest environment possible.
When you're in a group, it will have no more than 15 people in it - plus the staff looking after you (who have all been trained in delivering high quality, safe experiences...and are there to make sure you're having lots of fun too!). Or, if you're on a school or college programme, we'll stick to the current groupings where possible.
There will also be signs up in all buildings and supervision to make sure you're able to move around safely. And, any activity you take part in will have been designed with coronavirus considerations in place. So that's requirements on social distancing, PPE and how many people can be involved.
WILL I BE TESTED FOR CORONAVIRUS BEFORE I TAKE PART IN MY NCS EXPERIENCE?
We want everyone to be safe and healthy when they take part in NCS and will be following all relevant government guidelines surrounding coronavirus). We recommend that if you have symptoms of coronavirus you apply to be tested via NHS.UK prior to attending your NCS activities, or isolate for at least 10 days following the development of your symptoms. However, there is no legal requirement for you to take a coronavirus test before taking part in NCS.
WHAT ABOUT PPE - DO I NEED TO BRING A FACE COVERING?
In England, face coverings are now required by law to be worn in shops, supermarkets, indoor transport hubs, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices, on public transport and, importantly, community centres. The law now requires all those over 11-yrs of age to wear a face covering unless with good reason when attending youth sector activities. We strongly recommend that you wear a face covering in any enclosed public space where there are people you do not normally meet.
Please bring your face covering along with you unless you qualify as exempt from wearing one. Your local delivery provider will have theirs and will advise you on when you need to wear them during your NCS experience. A reminder that face coverings should be worn on public transport, if that is how you’ll be travelling to get to your NCS Activity.
The best available scientific evidence is that, when used correctly, wearing a face covering may reduce the spread of coronavirus in certain circumstances, helping to protect others.
WHAT IF I FALL ILL WHILST ATTENDING MY NCS ACTIVITIES?
In the event that you develop symptoms of coronavirus during your NCS experience, you should inform the staff member present and return home to self-isolate for 10 days, as well as arranging to have a test to see if you have coronavirus. You can do this by visiting NHS.UK to arrange a test or contact NHS 119 via telephone. Wherever possible we will arrange for your parents / guardians to collect you should you become unwell during NCS activities.
If your coronavirus test comes back negative, you will be able to return to your activities with NCS. If your test is negative but you remain unwell, you should not return to your NCS activities until you have fully recovered.
If you do test positive for coronavirus, NHS Test and Trace will speak directly to those that you have been in contact with to offer advice. This advice may be that the rest of their group should be sent home and advised to self-isolate for 14 days.
WHAT IF MY LOCAL AREA OR REGION GOES BACK INTO LOCKDOWN?
With the support of government and sector bodies, youth work has thus far been enabled to continue in areas affected by lockdown, representing the shared view that youth sector activities are an essential service and a key part of the transition back to school.
In the event of a local lockdown we will therefore do everything we can to ensure you can still take part in your autumn experience as planned. In exceptional circumstances, where a programme cannot take place, your local team will contact you to discuss alternative options.
HOW OLD DO I NEED TO BE TO GO ON NCS?
NCS is designed for 16 and 17 year olds. Saying that, as long as you turned 16 by 31 August 2020, you can take part. If you have already turned 18 by this date, you unfortunately won’t be eligible. Sorry, folks.
WHAT IF I NEED TO CHANGE MY DATES OR CAN NO LONGER ATTEND?
If you can no longer make it, let us know ASAP so we can offer your place to someone else. Or if you’d like to change your date, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do to get you booked onto another programme.
WHAT HAPPENS ONCE I’VE SIGNED UP?
If you’ve completed your application and all your medical deets, your local NCS team will be in touch leading up to your experience.
HOW MUCH DOES NCS COST?
Great news! NCS this autumn is absolutely free.
DO I NEED EXTRA £££ ON NCS?
Some people choose to bring a tenner, just in case you need some money for the bus or for your lunch. But it's your neighbourhood, so you'll know better than us! If you have any questions feel free to ask your local NCS provider.
Local Action Group
What is a Local Action Group?
Local Action Groups will take the form of a monthly meeting where young people can get together to design and deliver sustainable social action projects in their local area with support from their delivery partner.
What’s in it for me?
You’ll get a whole load of transferable, employability skills that’ll make your CV shine and open up the world of work. You’ll get project management experience and the chance to grow your professional network, all whilst doing good for your community and helping the country get back on its feet!
Who can join a Local Action Group?
If you’re living in England, have completed an NCS programme or taken part in any NCS activities in 2020, you’re good to go!
Can I join a Local Action Group if I’m 18?
Yes! Local Action Groups are for all young people who have taken part in an NCS activity.
When can I take part?
Local Action Groups will be running between September 2020 and April 2021.
How do I sign up?
Keep an eye on your emails for a Local Action Group related email! Or, if you can’t wait, get in touch with us at 0800 197 8010 and we’ll sort your details out.
What if I can’t come to every meeting?
Don’t worry! Just let your local provider know when you can and can’t attend, and go to the ones you’re able to.
What happens in April?
Once Local Action Groups finish, you may be able to take part in another NCS programme if you haven’t already and are old enough. If you’ve already been on NCS, you’ll have the opportunity to take part in more grad opportunities at a local, regional and national level.
What Local Action Group can I join?
Local Action Groups are based on where you live, so it would be the Local Authority area that you live in now. If you’ve moved house since completing your NCS activity, please get in touch with us here 0800 197 8010 and we’ll let your local provider know.
Do I need any training?
Local Action Groups are all about turning your passions into projects, so a lot of the work will come from you! But, we’ll provide you with all the support you’ll need to make sure you’re confident in what you’re doing.
IS THERE A CONTACT NUMBER I CAN GIVE MY PARENTS?
There sure is. They can contact us on 0800 197 8010 between 9am-5.30pm Mon-Fri. Once you’ve started NCS, your local team will give you an emergency number that parents/guardians can call if needed.
I’M A PARENT, HOW CAN I GET IN CONTACT WITH MY YOUNG PERSON WHILST THEY ARE ON PROGRAMME?
If you need to contact your teen (or just full-on miss them), call or text their number if they’re taking a phone with them – they’ll have some down time during the programme to chat. You’ll also be given an emergency contact number from the local NCS team should you need it.
WHO ARE THE STAFF ON THE PROGRAMME? WHAT EXPERIENCE DO THEY HAVE?
Rest assured, your teen is in excellent hands. Those who run the programme are made up of staff from local NCS teams (https://wearencs.com/network-providers) and seasonal staff. Our seasonal staff come from a variety of backgrounds – teachers, youth workers and even NCS graduates. They go through a robust recruitment process to ensure they’re suitable, have full training and are required to complete an enhanced DBS check, too.
WHAT IS YOUR SAFEGUARDING PROCESS?
The health, wellbeing and safety of all young people on NCS is of utmost importance to us. There’ll be a ‘go-to’ staff member for anyone feeling worried, anxious or wants to chat. We have a team available 24 hours a day to deal with all safeguarding issues – all our staff are DBS checked and clear guidance and training is provided in order for all young people to feel safe. If any issues or concerns are raised before the programme starts, a plan will be put in place to ensure they have a safe, positive NCS experience.
I HAVE A DISABILITY – CAN I STILL TAKE PART?
Yes, it’s our job to make NCS accessible for everyone, so we’ll do everything we can to accommodate young people with disabilities. When you sign up, tell us more about yourself in the Young Person Joining Information so we can support you in the best way possible. In some cases, you might get a call from us to discuss your individual requirements and to find the best NCS programme for you. Also all our providers are trained to a high standard to assess individual needs and ensure you have a blast. Have any questions? Call 0800 197 8010. Or head to the NCS website for our live chat.
WHAT ADJUSTMENTS CAN BE MADE FOR MY YOUNG PERSON WITH ADDITIONAL NEEDS?
At NCS, we’ll do everything we can to ensure our programmes are inclusive and accessible at every stage. So when your teen signs up, we’ll ask them to tell us more about their individual needs in the Young Person Joining Information. In some cases, you might get a call from us to chat about how we can support them and find the NCS programme that’s best for them. Adjustments made will always respond to the individual. This might include (but isn’t limited to) physical spaces, level and type of staffing support, equipment and activities.
WHAT SUPPORT DO YOU HAVE IN PLACE FOR TRANSGENDER YOUNG PEOPLE?
NCS is open to all, and trans people are no exception. We’ll always do what we can to create an environment where all teens feel safe to be themselves. So if you have any questions or concerns let us know and we’ll work with you to make your experience as comfortable as possible.
IF I HAVE A YOUNG CARER WHO WOULD LIKE TO ATTEND HOW CAN WE GET THEM THE SUPPORT THEY NEED AT HOME?
While we can’t provide respite cover, we can work with your Local Authority to look into arranging appropriate cover. We want everyone to be able to experience NCS so get in touch and we’ll discuss how we can best support you.
DOES NCS COUNT TOWARDS UCAS POINTS?
It doesn't, but do remember that UCAS look for more than just points. Experiences like NCS show you have a wider range of skills and experience. And while we’re at it, employers are also looking for more than just grades – it’s you as a whole they’re interested in!
ARE UNACCOMPANIED ASYLUM-SEEKING CHILDREN ELIGIBLE?
Yes, everyone is welcome on NCS. Your key worker will just need to provide all the necessary documentation and act as your ‘guardian’ for any concerns. If you’d like to chat to us about questions, call 0800 197 8010.
WHAT WILL BE IN PLACE TO ENABLE ME TO PRACTICE MY FAITH DURING NCS?
We’ll always provide a designated multi-faith space for those that wish to pray, quietly reflect or meditate.