National Citizen Service programme at Reginald Mitchell Court
PWCF and The Prince of Wales’s charities worked with a group of 16 and 17-year olds from Stoke-on-Trent and Stoke City Football Club. The young people participated in a National Citizen Service (NCS) programme and delivered an exciting reminiscence project with customers at Reginald Mitchell Court a Midland Heart sheltered housing scheme, located in Hanley. The 2013 NCS programme was delivered by Stoke City Football Club (SCFC) in partnership with other key stakeholders, including Business Connectors from Business in the Community.
The NCS programme is funded by the government and aims to help young people build skills for work, and life, while taking on new challenges and meeting new friends. Nationally 50,000 plus young people have taken part in NCS projects, with a total of 54 young people taking part in the Stoke City Football Club NCS project.
The 4 week project, included residential team building, ideas generation and project planning. The young people had the opportunity to learn new skills, take on challenges and to work in teams to deliver a social action project with community benefits during the final week.
Business Connector and Stoke City Football Club
In an exploratory meeting with Stoke City Football Club (SCFC), Elaine Le Montais, Business Connector, came up with the idea of involving the team and customers at Reginald Mitchell Court, in a history/reminiscence project to attract young people with a preference for more creative activity particularly linked to art and photography. Elaine worked with the manager of the National Citizen Service programme and the lead from SCFC to develop a proposition focusing on sharing stories and experiences called “When we were sweet 16”.
The idea was presented to the young people a and a team of 12 accepted the challenge. The overall theme of the community week was the reminiscence project. Participants were encouraged to think about the project in the context of past, present and future and the residents provided books, pictures and maps to illustrate their memories. In addition, they had a food swap to explore different preferences and tastes. A joint play list was made to reflect their differing musical tastes. The young people developed their event planning skills by arranging the celebration event held at the end of the project, with the residents and their family and friends.
The young people and residents of Reginald Mitchell Court were delighted with the project and shared the following with the team.
"The project has really improved my confidence and my communication skills. The residents were so full of energy and had interesting stories to share about when they were our age. Some of them didn’t achieve the career they really wanted because they left school at 14. It has made me determined to go for what I want. We have achieved unity between our generations." Erin Softley – young person
"I brought in an edition of the Daily Express from May 1940 and the young people were fascinated by the stories in it. They really have the capacity to listen to older people and they have shown compassion." Joyce Richardson - resident
"I got involved in the programme because I wanted to get experience in different skills that will help with my CV for University and to help the community. The opportunity to work with older people attracted me to this project. I’ve found that we have things in common. I’ve made lots of new friends and it has helped me to be more confident." Atticus Bettany – young person