Portsmouth Football Club and Pompey in the Community are supporting young people to ‘develop the skills for working life’ through their delivery of the National Citizen Service.
Over the duration of the summer the football club’s affiliated charity will be delivering the NCS programme to hundreds of young people aged between 15 and 17.
This summer marks the sixth year that Pompey in the Community has been involved in running the programme.
Head of community cohesion, James Shannon, said: ‘We have been running NCS since 2012. We started with 120 young people and this year we will be delivering the programme to 550. Between June and the middle of August we will be delivering six different waves with between 80 and 110 young people involved in each.’
Whilst on the programme the young people will spend up to four weeks on a range of challenges and social enterprise projects. A key component is to devise a project which is beneficial to the local community.
Community Development Officer, Dan Rook, said: ‘The current students are busy planning their social action project which they need to put before a Dragons Den style panel of local business people. This may involve regenerating part of the city, supporting care homes or working in youth clubs.’
‘This year we have had help the homeless campaigns, inter-generational projects to support the elderly and one group has raised funds to support the RNLI here in the city. We don’t tell them what to do, everything is youth led,’ added Mr Shannon.
A key principle of the NCS is to promote young peoples interpersonal skills.
‘The biggest thing for some students is to come and meet new people. For some young people this can be the first time they have worked with people outside their school group,’ explained Mr Shannon.
Meg Higgs, 16, said: ‘Everyday is a new challenge. I would never normally speak to people I didn’t know but NCS has given me the confidence to do so.’
Adam Sawyers, also 16, added: ‘I have become more confident working in a group and communicating with other people. I have also overcome challenges I didn’t think I would be able to.’
Mr Shannon believes that promoting the NCS under the banner of the football club can help engage some young people who may otherwise not have taken part.
Adam added: ‘ Not many people have heard of NCS but everyone knows of Pompey in the Community. When we mention their name it really helps to explain what we are doing and get the support we need.’