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.
Keep Doing Good
What is Keep Doing Good - One Million Hours Of Doing Good?
Keep Doing Good - One Million Hours of Doing Good is our push to help communities rebuild and recover once it’s safe to do so. All you have to do is make a pledge to donate some of your time through volunteering and social action opportunities - such as working in collaboration with the Charity Retail Association at a charity shop, once they’ve reopened. You’ll pick up new skills, help rebuild local communities, create positive change and get all of our futures off to a good start.
What is the timing for Keep Doing Good - One Million Hours of Doing Good?
You’ll be able to register your interest from 8 June. Once you’ve registered, we’ll be in touch with you soon after to give you more details.
Opportunities to get involved and start volunteering with local projects will begin from 1 July, however this is all subject to government guidance.
Opportunities will run throughout the summer and beyond.
Who can take part?
If you’re living in England and are 15-17 years old (16 by 31 August 2020), or an 18 year old NCS Grad, you’re good to go!
What volunteering work will I be able to do?
To get the ball rolling on Keep Doing Good, we’re working in collaboration with the Charity Retail Association - the only trade association that represents the interests of charity shops and charity retailers across the United Kingdom - for you to help charity shops around the country get back on their feet by donating your time and working in-store.
We’ll also be organising a number of other local volunteering and social action opportunities for you to get involved with over the next few months, so keep your eyes peeled!
How do I sign up to take part?
If you already signed up for NCS during 2020, you don’t need to do anything else, and you’ll hear from us directly.
If you haven’t signed up for NCS before but want to get involved and start volunteering, you’ll be able to register your interest from 8 June.
Do I have to be signed up to NCS to take part?
No, but you’ll need to sign up for Keep Doing Good using our online registration form from 8 June.
If I’m an NCS Grad but I’m over 18 does this mean I can’t get involved?
Unfortunately it does. Keep Doing Good is only available for those up to the age of 18. However, if you’re older, and still want to do some volunteering, we can point you in the right direction of other great opportunities available to you.
Is there a minimum amount of voluntary hours I have to do?
We’re asking, at a minimum, that you pledge 16 voluntary hours. Of course you’re welcome to contribute more, but this is your starting point.
Will I receive any training?
We’ll provide you with all the support you’ll need to make sure you’re confident in what you’re doing.
Will I receive any formal recognition of my involvement?
Of course! All your hard work getting the country back on its feet will be recognised and celebrated!
How will my hours be recorded or verified?
Your hours will be logged using a secure online platform.
Will this opportunity be accessible to all young people who want to get involved?
It’s our job to make NCS accessible for everyone, so we’ll do everything we can to accommodate additional needs.
Can I volunteer with my friends?
You and your friends are more than welcome to register and request to work together, and your local team will be able to help with that request. However, we can’t guarantee that it will happen.
How do I know what is available in my local area?
Opportunities for volunteering will start from 27 July, so we’ll get in touch with you before then with opportunities available to you in your local area.
How much does it cost to get involved?
To make sure that everyone can get involved in NCS activities this summer, there is no participation fee.
I am worried about the costs of taking part- what support is available to help me?
Opportunities will be local so the need to pay for travel should be minimal. But if you can’t walk or cycle to your opportunity, please get in touch with your local delivery partner responsible for NCS in your area to discuss your individual needs, explore what support is available and match you to an opportunity which best meets your needs.
I’ve already answered your email to say I’m interested in switching to Autumn 20 / Summer 21 - what do I need to do to take part in Keep Doing Good?
Just sit back and relax! If you’ve already signed up for our upcoming programmes, we’ll be in touch shortly about getting involved with Keep Doing Good opportunities available to you.
I have a holiday booked for summer, what happens if this clashes?
Don’t worry, we’ll be working around you. Keep Doing Good will run throughout the summer and beyond, so there will be a range of opportunities across various dates. We’ll find out what suits you and get you placed.
I’m a charity, how do I get involved in Keep Doing Good?
If you’re a member of the Charity Retail Association you’ll have the opportunity to register for Keep Doing Good through them. If you’re not part of the CRA but want to be involved, please contact us at email@example.com
Which shops and charities are participating?
We’re working in collaboration with the Charity Retail Association - the only trade association that represents the interests of charity shops and charity retailers across the United Kingdom - to work with as many charities as possible, and we’re happy to say that Barnardo’s and The Air Ambulance Service are already on board. The opportunity to be involved with Keep Doing Good is open to all CRA members.
We’re still working on the details for specific shops as this depends on government guidelines, and will be in touch with you as soon as we have the opportunities available to you.
What measures will be put in place to ensure the safety of volunteers?
We want everyone involved to be safe and healthy when taking part in Million Hours of Doing Good. Therefore, every partner we work with will have to go through a due diligence process. This includes a review of health & safety management systems and safeguarding procedures, and venue, activity and individual needs risk assessments before any activity.
The Charity Retail Association have also published guidelines that all members must comply with, including specific considerations to things like social distancing.
Charities that we work with will need to show that they have met the requirements before they can work with our volunteers.
Will the young people need to have a coronavirus test before being allowed to volunteer?
We want everyone to be safe and healthy when they volunteer and will be following all government guidelines surrounding coronavirus. However, there is no legal requirement for you to take a coronavirus test before volunteering, just as there is no requirement for those working in charity shops to be tested before returning to work.
Will the young people be given PPE (personal protective equipment) when volunteering in charity shops?
We want everyone to be safe and healthy when they volunteer and will be following all government guidelines surrounding coronavirus. The Charity Retail Association have also published guidelines that all members must comply with. There is no indication that the use of personal protective equipment is beneficial in the retail setting so this will not be provided. However, volunteers can wear/use their own personal face coverings and gloves if they wish to.
Has the government approved this project as being in line with lockdown guidelines?
Keep Doing Good is being planned in accordance with all government guidelines.
What if my local area or region goes back in 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 important 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 Keep Doing Good as planned. In exceptional circumstances, where a programme cannot take place, your local team will contact you to discuss alternative options.
Will I be tested for Covid-19 before I can volunteer?
We want everyone to be safe and healthy when they volunteer and will be following all relevant government guidelines surrounding coronavirus (COVID-19). We recommend that if you have symptoms of COVID-19 you apply to be tested via NHS.UK prior to volunteering, or isolate for 7 days following the development of your symptoms. However, there is no legal requirement for you to take a COVID-19 test before volunteering, just as there is no requirement for those working in charity shops to be tested before returning to work.
What if I fall ill whilst volunteering?
In the event that you develop symptoms of COVID-19 whilst volunteering with NCS, you should inform the staff member present and return home to self-isolate for 7 days, as well as arranging to have a test to see if you have COVID-19. 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 COVID-19 test comes back negative, you will be able to return to volunteering with NCS.. If your test is negative but you remain unwell, you should not return to volunteering until you have fully recovered.
If you do test positive for COVID-19, 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.
I'm returning to the country after a holiday and need to quarantine during my Keep Doing Good hours - what do I do?
If you're signed up to Keep Doing Good and need to quarantine/self-isolate after your holiday, give us a call on 0800 197 8010 and we will look at alternative dates for you.
About the programme
WHERE DOES NCS TAKE PLACE?
You’ll find us dotted all over the country, in various locations. In the first two weeks, you’ll wave goodbye to home for a taste of the independent life, living in our selected accommodation. It’ll be outside your local area but leave the logistics to us – we’ll get you there and back. For the last phase, it’s back home for a community project.
WHAT EXACTLY DO YOU MEAN BY ‘ACCOMMODATION’?
You could be living it up in university halls, kipping under the stars in a festival-style wigwam, or maybe some new place we haven’t even discovered yet. It all depends on where your experience takes place – your local NCS team will be able to tell you the exact details.
WHAT ACTIVITIES WILL I BE DOING?
In the first week, you’ll tickle your adventurous side. You might find yourself swinging from the high ropes, climbing impressive walls or building winning rafts. Phase 2 activities are all about getting life skills that set you up for the future (think money management, cooking, developing your public speaking...). You’ll be feeling pretty fearless by this stage so when it comes to Phase 3, it won’t faze you that you’ll be in charge; helping to plan and bring to life a rewarding community project. Sound like a lot? Don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of down time to refresh and recharge.
HOW LONG IS IT?
In all, NCS lasts three to four weeks in summer. It’s broken up into different phases and for the first week, you’ll spend five days (that’s four nights) away. Same goes for week two, with two days back home in between. The last phase is either one or two weeks and that’s in your local community – so you’ll be reunited with your own bed each evening.
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.
WHAT DO I EAT?
Important question. The food varies at each location and for each phase – there could be self-service canteens, or you might be getting your chef’s hat on in a university-style accommodation. Have any requirements? Vegan, halal, gluten free… you name it, we cater for it. Just let us know beforehand and we’ll be sure to keep your belly full. And hey, if you’re worried about what’ll be on the menu, why not make a little space in your suitcase for some snacks?!
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.
AM I ALLOWED STUFF LIKE STRAIGHTENERS AND MAKEUP?
Sure. It’s important you feel comfortable from start to finish, so bring along whatever you need to feel at ease (within reason that is – we may not have room for your TV or drum kit). Even if you’re sleeping under the stars there’ll still be showers and places to get ready for your day ahead, so rest assured you’ll feel right at home.
WHAT ABOUT MY XBOX OR PLAYSTATION (OR BOTH)?
Unfortunately not, but it’s safe to say you won’t miss it. From learning how to start a campfire to just relaxing around it with your new mates, there’s going to be so much for you to experience that we’re willing to bet you won’t think about those home comforts once.
WILL THERE BE WIFI?
Good question, nobody wants to be away from Instagram for too long. It will depend which NCS experience you take part in, but most accommodation for Phase 2 should have all the WiFi you need – along with plenty of sockets to keep your phone juiced up. How else could you tell the world how much fun you’re having?! Phase 1 varies depending on the location – not much wifi to be had if you’re on top of a mountain – but your local NCS team will be able to share more information on this.
IS THERE A CURFEW?
Well, yes, there is a ‘lights out’ time. But only to make sure you feel totally refreshed and energised for each day and to help you make the most of your experience. Plus, not everyone is a night owl, so we aim to find the right balance to suit everybody.
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 drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with their name, live chat us via our website or give us a call on 0800 197 8010. Our early summer programmes get booked up quickly, so picking a later date or being flexible will give you the best chance of going with a friend. Just 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 UK, 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 summer 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 around 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! You’ll likely join up with others too, for the first two phases. So if your friends have signed up for the same dates but aren't in your team of 15, chances are you’ll be staying at the same location.
I NEED TO MISS A DAY ON PROGRAMME, IS THIS POSSIBLE?
You’ll be required to 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, your school prom 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 so confident? 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 OLD DO I NEED TO BE TO GO ON NCS?
NCS is designed for 16 and 17 year olds. Saying that, you can go this summer as a 15-year-old, as long as you turn sweet 16 on or by 31 August 2020. 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, all your medical deets and paid your contribution, your local NCS team will be in touch leading up to your experience. You may even have the chance to attend fun events where you can meet others going – so you won't have to wait until summer for NCS to start. Phew.
HOW MUCH DOES NCS COST?
The most we’ll ask you to contribute is £50 (a pretty sweet deal considering a place at NCS costs £1,500, which is funded by the government). And at certain times of the year, it could cost even less! We also have a bursary scheme available that’s 100% confidential, so just get in touch if you don’t think you can afford it.
DO I NEED EXTRA £££ ON WEEKS 1 AND 2?
In short, no. Your £50 covers all your food, accommodation and activities in Phases 1 and 2. Some people bring a tenner along for things like snacks, but you don’t need to. You’ll be back home for the ‘Do Good’ phase, so you might need some change for the bus or some lunch money. But it’s your neighbourhood so you’ll know better than us.
WHAT IF I CAN’T AFFORD THE £50?
We want every teen to be able to take part in NCS so if the £50 fee is stopping you, just let us know and we can chat about your options. Bursaries are also available for those that are eligible, so give us a call and we’ll see how we can best support you.
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.
ARE ALLERGIES/DIETARY NEEDS CATERED FOR?
They certainly are. To stop dietary requirements and pesky allergies getting in the way of NCS, we ensure our venues can cater for everyone. Just let us know your needs when you sign up via the Joining Information Form. Or if you’d like to chat to somebody, 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 – for example, you might like to discuss accommodation preferences, toilets, changing room facilities etc – 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. And if you have any dietary requirements, like Kosher or Halal – or anything else for that matter – let us when you fill in the Young Person Joining Information. Our venues will be able to cater for this.