On Sunday 17th July, Jeni Walker and Richard Couldrey continued with the 4th year of our annual pattern of work with the National Citizen Service through “The Challenge” – a personal development and social integration programme offered to 15 – 17 year olds which includes a project focused day with a Charity or Community Group.

Emer Clark, our principle contact and Challenge Mentor, reflected that interaction with Transition Town Tooting challenges the participants to step out their comfort zones and enables them to make a contribution to a local community, which is a huge part of the overall aims of NCS Challenge.

For us, this project chimes loudly with our aim to work with Young People of all ages – from the Reception Class of Gatton Primary to a poster competition with Graveney Secondary School for Foodival last year, to name but 2.

The 11 participants of this years NCS Challenge with the results of their labours!

Read on to find out what happened on the day…
After an introductory session on Saturday 9th July, the 11 participants spent the week doing 2 tasks for Transition Town Tooting to bring back to the Project Day:

  • fundraising for the project day together – understanding the value of the work we do and championing that to raise money for materials and tools needed.
  • pitching for £50 to a Dragon’s Den of experts, again for the project day.
Both activities are focused on the ideas and application of the Young People involved – if they don’t creatively engage and bring ideas, the project wouldn’t work. Jeni and I continued this theme, giving a palette of options for the project day and asking the participants to “vote” on the preferred options.

Rubbing down for painting
Noticeboard decoration!
Signs from re-use bed slats

During the project day, we completed…

  • Re-covering the Rainwater Catchment – a necessary bit of maintenance for this Gatton Primary Project of 2013.
  • Sign making and information board design and making – a wonderful addition to the garden for us to better communicate what is growing and the range of projects to visitors new and old.
  • Bottle Greenhouse repairs – another Gatton Primary School project, this time from 2015, that needed a dose of TLC.
Back to Emer for closing remarks, The feedback was very positive. On the whole these teams had never been involved in this kind of community project before, but they got involved and by the end they certainly all learnt something new and had a really enjoyable day! It was great to hear the stories about the day-all of them revealing just how stuck in and creative this project allowed the young people to be.”

Thank you Challengers for your work in all aspects of this part of your programme! Richard and Jeni