The third and final phase of NCS has been an exhausting and interesting experience. Ranging from parading around Trowbridge in a duck costume to replacing a duck pond at Larkrise Community Farm, the activities I have been a part of have been very varied and enjoyable (well the duck costume was less enjoyable but I made some people smile so I don’t mind).
Some context. Phase 3 of the NCS programme involves the organisation of a social action project. My group and I took it upon ourselves to organise a fete/litter pick in my local park in aid of two charities: Larkrise Community Farm and CLIC Sargent. The organisation of this event, I assure, was challenging and stressful in the short amount of time we had. Despite the short timespan, we managed to pull it off rather successfully.
The long days and the early starts did leave one feeling rather drained for the rest of the day (Though 4pm finishes meant that there wasn’t much of a day left so no real lost). The preparation of the event took up most of our time with numerous circuits of Trowbridge taking place to find support from local businesses and banks. If we weren’t going round businesses asking for help we were at the library performing many tasks which were mostly composed of sending emails to the council, businesses outside of Trowbridge and the media. It wasn’t all work though as I did get to play Pokémon Go more than I care to admit as a result of the free Wi-Fi on offer (I even caught a mythical Pokémon, Porygon (I was on my lunch break before you start judging me)).
After a week and a half of intense planning our charity fete and litter pick was in full swing and ready to go. We had a number of attractions including a cake stall, car boot sale (Minus the car boot), a ukulele stall (which I was unaware was coming before the day) and, of course, me (Ha ha… Ha…). We had a large number of people take a look around and some even took part in the litter park (Against all odds, though I was manning the stall so I don’t know why I thought it wouldn’t be popular (I’m sorry)). The Cake sale was the most popular stall, naturally, but the fete overall was rather successful. We even got an article in the Wiltshire Times (See here: Pokémon litter pickers tidy up Trowbridge Park).
Our final task was based up at Larkrise Community Farm, the primary receiver of our fundraising. We set about the task of cleaning up the poultry pens, removing the weeds and applying a coat of paint to a shed. This may not sound like much but with 4 large overgrown pens to clean and a rather large shed to paint it ended up taking most of the first day. The second day was slightly more exciting as we got to install the new duck pond that my group had bought. The original plan was to remove the old pond (a great deal larger than the new pond), dig the hole it was in a bit more and then put the pond back in. We dug the hole successfully due to the numerous people involved with the digging process. However, when we replaced the pond and started filling it with water, we discovered a very large crack in the base which cause a waterfall effect to occur. This made for a lovely water feature but it wasn’t quite what we’re going for, as you can imagine. We used the small pond instead (it was originally planned to install two ponds but the situation dictated otherwise) and around it we planted some delightful flowers and two smaller water baths or, as I call them, hot tubs (It was a long two days). The finished product was very fancy and it was a definite improvement on what had come before. After finishing the pond we set about some menial tasks which were surprisingly enjoyable (Mostly because they were rather easy and it was the last thing we did as a group).
NCS has been one of the most fulfilling things I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing over the past 4 weeks and I’m very glad that I made the decision to take part. The activities alone were immensely helpful in broadening my horizons on my own existing capabilities and in teaching me new skills. However, the best part had to be the people that I got to meet whilst on the programme. The friends I made whilst away helped bring me out of my shell and boost my confidence. Of all the things I shall miss about NCS, it will be the frequent face-to-face contact with my new friends. If you have any questions about NCS then please leave them in the comments and I will be happy answer it.