A team of National Citizen Service (NCS) participants took to the streets of West Bromwich on Wednesday 12 July on a campaign to raise awareness about Dementia with help from some of the most notable organisations from across the country and for these young people, it all started with them saying “Yes”. Tarique Ramsey-Braithwaite, part of Team Reiss and one of the many young people who became the first ‘wave’ of summer participants on the 2017 programme, talks about their experiences.
The National Citizen Service is a government-funded initiative that brings together schools, community organisations, businesses and individuals to build a stronger and more cohesive society. NCS is a three-part programme for 15-17 year olds that provides unique benefits for personal development. It’s an unforgettable experience which builds confidence and independence and the programme runs during summer, autumn half term, and autumn term time.
As part of the NCS programme, the team undertook volunteering at Dingle Meadows Residential Home in Oldbury. Throughout our time we spoke to residents and were told stories of their lives and their experiences of noticeable events like the World Wars.
Throughout our volunteering time, all members of the team became aware of how Dementia affected the residents, their families and the care staff. As our own awareness about the condition grew, we planned, organised and hosted a Youth-Led Dementia Awareness Campaign Day, which we called ‘Never Forgotten’. Our campaign raised awareness about Dementia within the local Sandwell community, raised awareness of organisations that support those who are affected by dementia and, where required, we signposted individuals to these organisations, and we raised awareness and signposted community organisations and local businesses to access support to become involved in making their services more dementia friendly.
Our team received various forms of support from community organisations and local businesses. We would like to ‘Thank’ Birmingham Dementia Action Alliance, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s West Bromwich High Street Market, Dementia UK and Alzheimer’s Society for their generous contributions.
Team Reiss’ experience was a unique and life-changing opportunity. We were empowered and inspired to achieve through monumental challenges and was able to make a positive impact within the local Sandwell community. Therefore, we would encourage young people, local businesses and community organisations to become involved with the NCS programme. Visit www.ncsthechallenge.org, contact your local NCS office in writing at 52 Charlotte Street, Birmingham, B3 1AR or email email@example.com.
Our final ‘thanks’ goes to NCS and The Challenge for allowing us to experience this unique opportunity and to be able to represent them through their programme and dedicated work for young people.