This week a team of youngsters dropped by Brentwood Care Centre to join the residents for a spot of gardening!

The wonderful team were visiting the home as part of their involvement in the National Citizen Service (NCS). Their NCS programme, for 15-17 year olds, is being led by The Challenge – the UK’s leading social integration charity. These young people are just some of the thousands this summer enjoying four weeks of fun with people from across traditional social divides – different nationalities, ethnicities, age, social class, employment status, sexuality, gender and disabilities.

During their visit the youngsters spent some time with the residents to have a chat, and following this, they took part in a spot of gardening in the grounds of the home to provide the finishing touches ahead of the care home’s Big Summer BBQ, an annual event for the home in Larchwood Gardens, which will take place on Saturday 28th July this year.

Home Manager Sharon Osborne said “we were delighted to have the youngsters visit us here at Brentwood Care Centre. The residents thoroughly enjoyed having a chat with them, and we were all so impressed with their efforts in our gardens. We’re pleased to be involved with this project and look forward to their next visit!”

Young people between the ages of 15-17 are encouraged to sign up for the National Citizen Service (NCS) summer programme, costing just £50 for the entire experience – including food, accommodation and activities. Teenagers spend four weeks working together, taking part in various activities such as, rock-climbing, kayaking, abseiling, volunteering in their communities, learning to cook, public speaking, campaigning and pitching their ideas to a team of professional business people. Through these experiences they build their confidence and skills, and forge new, strong friendships with people from different backgrounds. All this drives The Challenge’s mission and vision of promoting social integration, while having a fun time.

Dominic May, performance and operations director for The Challenge, said: “Research shows that we tend to build friendships with people with a similar education, of a similar age and ethnicity as ourselves, meaning we are missing out on connecting with our wider society. Young people can still sign up to take on new challenges together this summer, new adventures and give back to their community through social action projects. This is a unique experience, giving our young people a new and better perception of so-called ‘differences’, which in turn leads to a more integrated society.”

Following this visit, the youngsters will be returning to Brentwood Care Centre for two more visits later this month