Action Day is a great opportunity to give something back to your local community, while also being part of a national event which celebrates the contribution young people can make.
Despite sub-zero conditions, a sausage sizzle organised by community-minded teens in St Albans has delivered a blistering result in raising much-needed funds and awareness for the OLLIE Foundation, a local youth suicide-prevention charity.
More than £350 was raised for the charity during NCS Action Day; a national day of teenagers volunteering in their local communities organised by National Citizen Service, supported by Santander.
Half a dozen teens, who have all previously participated in NCS, the UK’s leading youth empowerment programme, masterminded the fundraiser for the OLLIE Foundation, supporting a cause they felt specifically impacted teenagers. They held a BBQ and arranged donations for a cake sale at Bunnings warehouse.
The team is also producing a series of three videos, each highlighting different teenage issues that commonly lead to suicidal thoughts, which will be shown in local schools after Easter.
Amy DeCastillo, 17 and from St Albans, completed the NCS programme last summer and has since gone on to contribute her time and ideas to the NCS regional youth board. She volunteered for the OLLIE Foundation during her NCS experience and was keen to support them again during Action Day.
“Action Day is a great opportunity to give something back to your local community, while also being part of a national event which celebrates the contribution young people can make,” said Amy, an A-level student at Adeyfield School in Hemel. “NCS has genuinely changed my life and so it was important to support a charity that helps young people who feel much less empowered.”
Suicide is the biggest killer of young people under the age of 35 in the UK with, on average, four young people ending their own lives each day. The OLLIE, One Life Lost Is Enough, Foundation was founded in 2016 and is one of the few charities in the south to fund and deliver suicide intervention skills training for adults working with young people. Their training enables professionals to identify warning signs and provide help to combat suicidal thoughts.
Verity Bramwell is a coordinator at the charity who supported the NCS team’s sausage sizzle. She said: “The NCS team did brilliantly well, working in freezing conditions and raising a fabulous amount to help fund our suicide intervention skills training.
“Young people listen to other young people and it has been inspiring to see the NCS team take ownership of the fundraiser and hear their plans for their video education programme.
“We hope to work with NCS colleagues and the young people themselves in the future to lessen the stigma of teenage suicide and create a community of confident and skilled people trained to spot and work with young people at risk.”