Week 4 of National Citizens Service is all about giving back to the community! During the week we conducted numerous events in order to raise money and awareness for mental health issues. These involved multiple fund raising events. Our aim was to raise as much money as possible through out the week, in order to use that money to fund our fun day. Then any money generated from the fun day or left over would go to our chosen charity. I know it sounds a bit strange to raise money for a fun day, and you may ask ‘Why not give it straight to charity?’. Well the truth is we need to do 30 hours of social action and without a quality fun day we would be under the required hours and would not be able to graduate from NCS. Not only this the fun day is a great way to raise awareness rather than money. So here is an honest account of how everything went:
On the Saturday before week 4, we started working on advertising our fun run. Myself and one other team member headed down to our local park run to hand out flyers. To be honest it was quite awkward and I didn’t particularly enjoy it! Not only this we had to actually volunteer with them. So I found myself in a fluorescent jacket, with a clip board to write down times and positions. Effectiveness? Well we handed out about 70 flyers, but the problem was the fact that a lot of the runners were holiday makers and wouldn’t be around. Another two members of our team went to a different park run that same day to hand out flyers, while another 2 team members went to an another park run on the Sunday. So we ended up handing out flyers for our fun run at 3 different park runs! However it didn’t all go smoothly. On the Saturday 5 members of our team had a stall on the local market. They had baked cakes, planned their face painting, made their jewelry and were ready to start trading. However once they arrived it turned out that our ‘charity stall’ was non-existent! Because we had arranged it on the phone, we had no written proof that we had a market stall. So the team was turned away! As I wasn’t there, I am not overly sure what happened exactly. I think they tried to sell their cakes by walking up to people with a tray, but I am pretty sure the market people were not happy with them, as other people were paying to be there!
One girl headed out to sell some cakes and ended up making a fortune of £38.90. While one of the other girls in my team sold her cookies at her work, making a solid £9.93. So we had already made a huge profit! Another 3 members of my team went out charity collecting where they stood in the town centre with collection buckets. By the end of the day they had made £31. While I along with another 4 members of my team headed off to an industrial estate to do car washing. We spent two hours there and in that time the five of us managed to wash six cars. I know that doesn’t sound that many, but trust me car washing is much harder than we anticipated. The first car took 3 of us a good hour to do! The cars were squeaky clean once we had finished, to be honest we could have spent a whole day there! We cleaned the cars for a donation rather than specifying an exact price. However everyone gave us five pounds, so we ended up making a good £30 for our work. By the end of day one we had: £135 from our online donations page, £38.90 from cake sales, £9.93 from cookie sales, £30 from car washing and £31 from charity collections. This left us with a total of £238.83. However we have to minus the bouncy castle fee for our fun day which is £60. Therefore it left us with a running total of £184.83 which would go straight to charity.
The team split in up, with the majority (including me) organising our own fun run! I have to admit I was rather worried about it as I felt nobody would bother to turn up! But after advertising it at 3 park runs and the local high street, we actually got more than one person to turn up! We arrived at 8:30 to set up our gazebo, tables, chairs and mark out the route. We kind of messed up the distances a bit, but never the less we just let the kids run around the field until they fell flat on their face! We provided them with a free cup of water at the finish. Accompanied by this we had a cake sale, where we sold some of our homemade produce at 50p a cake or 3 for a pound. We had a solid 16 people turn up to run, which was astonishing as I thought we would struggle to get 5! We charged £3.50 for each runner, which I was hesitant about as it is ridiculously expensive! So I really didn’t want to take the money off the people. Overall combing the entry fee and cake sales we made about £86! This proved to be one of the biggest earners! While the majority were out organising the fun run, the other members of our team were out selling cakes in the town centre. They sold 20 chocolate brownies, 20 flapjacks and 80 cupcakes, which meant they sold out and ran out of stock! They produced an outstanding £73 from their cake sale! Which meant for the day we had a combined total of £159. We then added this on to the running total from the previous day which was at £184.83, to make a standing total of £343.83 for our chosen charity!
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After spending a good week chasing supermarkets to ask about bag packing we finally got in! We headed down to our local Morrisons to do bag packing for 3 hours. The staff there were super friendly and supportive of our charity work. I actually really enjoyed my time bag packing and would happily do it again! The only slight problem we had was the fact that we only had 2 collection buckets, this meant we could only operate at 2 tills. With ten of us turning up for bag packing we worked in pairs, meaning there were 4 on at a time. I found that the experience was great. I actually became a lot closer to the girl I was partnered with as a result and we had great banter together. So much so when they suggested swapping the partnerships around, we politely refused and stayed together! Not only this we had great fun chatting up the customers and everyone was in a really friendly mood! It was fantastic we spoke to a variety of people from young to old, and put a few smiles on people’s faces! I absolutely loved it! It was definitely worth chasing up the supermarkets and practically begging to do it! Overall we made £91 that day, which is astonishing!
Bag packing again! The team headed back to Morrison’s for day two of bag packing. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it due to transport. The problem was from my house to Morrisons was a solid hours drive. Which obviously meant transport was a bit of an issue, not only this to go by bus would have been even slower. So I ended up giving the day a miss, which is a shame as I really enjoyed bag packing. Instead I spent the day at home baking for the fun day the following day. I baked a carrot cake, a lemon drizzle cake, oat cookies, chocolate cookies and I bought some toffee doughnuts! The bag packing team managed to bring in £37, which can I point out is significantly lower than when I was there. I clearly add a lot of value to the team. 😉
The last day of NCS! Wow! We planned for the ultimate fun day, to celebrate our time at NCS. We had a bouncy castle, jewellery stand, face painting, raffle, tombola, badge making, hook a duck, garden Jenga, large chess, cake stall, fizzy drinks and guess the sweets in a jar. It was fair to say the fun day was packed with stalls and activities, but to our great disappointment practically nobody turned up! It was such a shame! We spent ages setting up tables, gazebos and carrying chairs…all for nothing! It was quite an anti-climax to our eventful NCS experience. It was such a shame the fun day was a flop. I knew the bouncy castle was a bad idea, not to mention we were ripped off! The bouncy castle was £50, we then paid an extra £10 for stocks and other fair ground games. The ‘fair games’ would normally of costed £45, but we got it for £10. Well at least we would of done, if they turned up! Apparently they were all ‘broken’ at the previous event, so we ended up over paying £10! Which I know may not seem a lot, but still that is £10 robbed from charity! Even though the fun day was a bit of a disaster, we still had lots of fun and I enjoyed spending a day out in the sun with my friends.
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Overall we made just over £600 for our chosen charity: ‘In Charley’s Memory’. Week 4 really did have its ups and downs. Some events were better and more successful than others. However we still managed to raise some money for charity and raised awareness of mental health issues. On the whole it was reasonably successful. So that’s it now, I have officially finished NCS! Yes! I’m going to do an overall final review of my NCS experience, where I will tie the weeks together. I’m also going to answer some commonly asked questions about NCS, to help those of you who are considering doing it! Then in a few months time I will be off to celebrate at my graduation day, so I will keep you updated! But for now thank you all for being there for me as I documented my highs and lows of NCS!