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Derbyshire NCS group transform P3 garden

Laura Gavin 27 August 2019

Young people taking part in the National Citizen Service (NCS) in Derbyshire completed their four-week summer programme last week with a gardening session at one of P3’s properties in Ilkeston.

The group of 17 young people chose P3 as the focus of the ‘social action’ component of their NCS programme, which requires the group to agree on a local cause to support and present their ideas to a panel of judges. As well as the gardening, the group held a fundraising quiz night with a P3 round, selling cakes decorated with a garden theme, as well as organising a raffle, games and face painting for kids, raising a total of £300 for P3 services in the area.

Jessica, who goes to school in Kirk Hallam, said:

“We wanted to support something local to us; we found P3 and we really liked their ideals and what they do for people.”

The gardening project and funds raised from the NCS group will benefit people who P3 works alongside in the Erewash area; people who have been homeless or at risk of homelessness, and have experienced mental ill-health.

William, also part of the NCS group, said:

“A lot of us are familiar with things like mental ill-health, some of us have had personal or family experience of drug issues, so this resonated with us; it’s very personal to us.

“We’re a big group so we’ve had our ups and downs, there are a lot of different personalities! But we’ve learned each other’s boundaries. You learn a lot of life skills and get to meet a lot of different people.”

Although gardening was a new experience for some of the group, everyone got stuck in with tree-clipping, fence-painting and potting brightly coloured plants, with flowerpots painted by members of the group.

Joe, who lives in the property said:

“The garden will look a lot nicer and more vibrant – it’ll give us a reason to sit out here.”

Group Leader Simon, who is into his third year running NCS groups and works in youth theatre in Nottingham, added:

“The school system is really focused on exams, but I like teaching differently—you can learn different skills through things like working together in a garden, and fundraising. Some people didn’t know anyone at the start of the project, now it’s hard to tell who knew each before and who didn’t! They’ve really grown in confidence.”