A ‘love on the rocks’ project held at Cedars care home in Southend saw local teens donate their time to Action Day on Saturday 6 April; a national day of community volunteering organised by National Citizen Service (NCS).
No stone was left unturned as young and old joined forces to paint the bright, inspirational rocks with positive messages, set to cheer the days of finders when they are distributed to public places around Southend and Leigh.
The project is just one of hundreds of social action projects that ran across the country to mark Action Day, celebrating the positive impact teens make to their communities as part of NCS, the UK’s fastest growing youth movement.
Vicky Dunbobbin, 16, from Westcliff, completed NCS last summer and has since gone on to volunteer on the NCS regional youth board. She is a passionate supporter of raising awareness of mental health issues and led the love on the rocks team’s efforts for Action Day.
“We hope the rocks will brighten a finder’s day and maybe inspire them to make and distribute their own,” said Vicky, an A-level student at Southend High School for Girls.
“It was especially important for us to visit Cedars and share our time with the residents. They are an integral part of our community and we had a great time painting the rocks and swapping stories.”
Cedar’s resident Alma Bravery celebrated her 89th birthday on the day of the NCS visit and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the teens.
She said: “NCS sounds like an amazing opportunity. I worked with Scouts and I believe in any youth activity that helps build confidence. These young people here today have been delightful, and it has been great fun painting pebbles with them.”
Cedars actively encourage young visitors, as head of activities Debbie Day explains: “Our residents love meeting new people and we find that with a diverse age mix there’s always something new to talk about, both groups have something to offer the other.
“It was a fantastic afternoon, the residents loved it, and we’ll be arranging further NCS visits in the future.”
NCS is delivered regionally by Ingeus and a range of local partners. It is a government backed programme open to all 16 and 17 year-olds, which builds skills for employment and promotes new friendships between young people of different backgrounds.
Volunteering and community-based social action are pillars of NCS; nationally, 12 million hours have been donated by 500,000 NCS participants across England and Northern Ireland.
Lucy Jones, NCS graduate manager from Ingeus said: “NCS is a once-in-a-lifetime school holiday programme that subsequently gives NCS graduates access to a wide range of opportunities to continue making their mark in their communities.
“Action Day is testament to the enthusiasm and commitment of NCS graduates to continue having a positive impact on the world around them after completing the programme.”