GCSE Results Day

The day is finally here: GCSE results day 2016!

I was so worried and anxious about my results, that I barely slept all night! The results were released at 9am, but I didn’t receive mine until 10:20 in order to avoid the crowds. Going into collect them I was so incredibly nervous, my hands were shaking and I had butterflies in my stomach. I grabbed my results and ran to the car before anyone could ask me how I did. Getting to the interesting part my results were as follows:

  • Maths A*
  • Chemistry A*
  • Physics A*
  • Biology A*
  • Business A*
  • Re A*
  • Geography A*
  • English Literature A*
  • English Language A
  • Further Maths A
  • Computer Science A
  • History A
  • French C

Overall I am very happy with my results, so happy that I cried when I opened them! Out of the 268 students in my school I placed a solid 7th, with 8 A*s, 4 As and a C.

The result that shocked me the most was both maths! After seeing the very high grade boundaries yesterday, I thought I was heading for a B in maths.So once I opened up my results and read A* in maths, I was shocked beyond belief…I’ve never got an A* in maths before! Especially further maths, I was really just looking for a pass! I’m so pleased!

Also I am incredibly happy with a solid run of straight A*s in all my sciences! I was over the moon, with chemistry being my best science! I thought I would end up with a B in physics as that is what I got in my mock exam back in January. Instead I boosted myself up to an A*.

Seeing the A* in Re came as a relief, I had been predicted A* throughout school and received the grade in all my mocks. So seeing that A* was a relief as I know my teacher would be proud, not to mention I got UMS of 99 and 100 in re. This puts re up as one of my top subjects.

I was a little gutted with my A in English language, only because I had received an A* in all the mocks I have ever done. So to see an A was a bit disappointing, my teacher had predicted me an A* in language with an A in literature…I guess he got them the wrong way round.

Then it comes to history, where once again I was a little disappointed with my A. I mean I know an A is great and everything. However in my mock exams I got an A* 96% making me the top history student in the year! I guess my history went down a little, I mean it’s not the end of the world. I had no ambition to study history at A-level anyway!

Then of course I can’t go without talking about French. I got a C, which is considerably lower than my other grades. However French was always my worst subject at school, considering my teacher gave up on our class! I really struggled with the French listening exam and ended up with a U in that module! I got a C in the reading module, B in the speaking and an A in writing. Which all balanced out at a C. Really the controlled assessments saved me here!

Overall I got 8A*s, 4As and a C!

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GCSE Grade Boundaries

It’s the day before results day, which means one thing: the grade boundaries have been released!

That’s right the exam boards have told us what marks we need for each grade, just so they can watch thousands of students squirm uncomfortably before the dreaded day. So I am going to go through the grade boundaries for each one of my exams.

AQA:

  • Biology 1: 49=A*, 40=A, 31=B
  • Biology 2: 45=A*, 36= A, 27=B
  • Biology 3: 41=A*, 36=A, 31=B

The papers were out of 60. To be honest I think the grade boundaries are reasonably fair, however I think the grade boundary for paper one should be lowered a little as the paper was harder than the other 2.

AQA:

  • Business 1: not available
  • Business 2: 47=A*, 42= A, 37=B

Once again the grade boundaries are fair. I found paper 2 hard, but the grade boundaries are still good.

AQA:

  • Chemistry 1: 51=A*, 42=A, 32=B
  • Chemistry 2:51=A*, 42=A, 32=B
  • Chemistry 3:44=A*, 39= A, 34= B

The grade boundaries for papers one and two are high, but I did find the papers easy. It’s a slight worry of course having such high boundaries as I can only afford to drop 9 marks! Grade boundaries for unit 3 are much lower, but I can’t remember how the paper went.

AQA:

  • English Language: 55=A*, 50=A, 45=B

The paper was out of 80. Therefore the grade boundaries seem pretty low. However they are very tight with just a 5 mark difference between each grade. So I guess a lot of people may just miss out on their desired grade.

AQA:

  • English Literature Poetry: 39=A*, 32=A, 25=B
  • English Literature Modern Texts: 53=A*, 46=A, 39=B

Poetry is out of 54, modern texts is out of 68. I think the grade boundaries are actually quite fair, especially for poetry which does seem a little low.

AQA:

  • French Listening:  30=A*, 27=A, 24 =B, 21=C
  • French Reading:  34=A*, 31=A, 28=B, 25=C

Listening was out of 40, reading out of 45. To be honest I’m gutted with the listening grade boundaries, that paper was way too hard! I didn’t understand any of the questions! Yet I have to get over half to pass!

AQA:

  • Geography 1:45=A*, 38=A, 31=B
  • Geography 2:61=A*, 52=A, 43=B

For specification A: paper 1 out of 75 and paper 2 out of 84. The grade boundaries seem really low! I can’t remember too much about the exam, but I think one of the papers was very challenging, however I can’t remember which.

AQA:

  • Physics 1:46=A*, 37=A, 28=B
  • Physics 2:46=A*, 37=A, 28=B
  • Physics 3: 36=A*, 31=A, 26=B

I thought unit 2 was impossible and I really struggled with unit 1 too! However I felt unit 3 was the easiest, so I am disappointed the grade boundaries are so low on that one.

EDEXCEL:

  • Maths 1 and 2 combined: 170=A*, 140=A, 105=B

The grade boundaries are higher than I wanted. They are also a lot higher than last years grade boundaries which is really disappointing. There is also a huge gap between each boundary for example a mark of 139 is a B, same as a mark of 105. Not fair.

EDEXCEL:

  • Computer Science: 157=A*, 129=A, 101=B

They are ever so slightly lower than lasts years boundaries. The paper was very hard I found, so I don’t know where I stand on this one.

 

WJEC:

  • Re: 180=A*, 160=A, 140=B

This is for the combination of the two papers. I found paper 1 quite hard, while paper 2 was a lot better. So I wish the grade boundaries were slightly lower.

That is it…I did do OCR history as well. However the grade boundaries were so difficult to understand, so I left that one out. I also did AQA further maths, but I failed to find any grade boundaries for that exam. If you do know the grade boundaries for further maths please let me know! Otherwise the best of luck for your results!

NCS: Overall Review

PrintI have just finished my NCS ‘it all starts at yes’ summer experience! I have done individual blog posts about each week of NCS, which I will link you to at the end. But now I want to bring together all four weeks of NCS and sum it up in one overall review. I wanted to do this as I know how hard it is to find an honest review on NCS, all the reviews on their website are bias and clearly promote NCS. However I am not paid by NCS or sponsored by them or anything like that so I can give you a very honest review on the programme. So here is my review on NCS:

“NCS has been an interesting experience for me. I learnt many life lessons and overcame my fear of living away from home. NCS also helped me to overcome my fear of homesickness and as a result I feel less apprehensive about moving away to university. NCS also gave me the opportunity to do activities I would never normally have the opportunity to do. Therefore I tried many new things from paddle boarding to bag packing to archery to car washing. It really did give me a wealth of experience! However NCS did not change me as a person, I am still the same girl who started NCS four weeks ago. NCS has not made me change my outlook on life. My confidence has not grown as a result of NCS, I am still as quiet and shy as I was on day one. But what NCS did give me was a purpose, I woke up in the morning knowing that I was doing something good and helpful. It also gave me an interest for 4 weeks throughout the summer, whereas I would normally have wasted my holidays inside watching TV. Really for me NCS was all about the experience, the experience to try out new things and an experience I can look back on. I did have my ups and downs with NCS and there were points where I was contemplating dropping out, but overall I am glad I stuck with it.”

There we have it my overall review of National Citizens Service! What an experience it has been! It feels like ages ago when I first hoped on the bus at week 1! Now I am just waiting for my graduation day which is set to be some time in September.

Although I have really enjoyed my NCS experience, I wanted to raise a slightly different point. For NCS the student pays £50, while the government pays £1500 for each applicant. With that kind of money being poured into NCS, one has to question: ‘is it worth it?’. The simple answer is no. NCS really is fantastic but I don’t understand why the government funds it. I just feel that the funds for NCS would be better off elsewhere, because really the government is paying for teens to have a cheap holiday. Wouldn’t it be better if the funds were used to increase young people’s mental health services? I don’t know. That is just my opinion anyway. From the student’s point of you it is a great deal, NCS really is worth the £50.  However from the government’s point of view…. I am not so sure!

Anyway thank you all for seeing me through NCS. I thought I would gather up all my NCS blogs and put them in one place for you:

What is NCS?

Why did I sign up for NCS?

NCS Concerns

NCS: Come pack with me!

NCS: Week 1

NCS: Week 2

NCS: Week 3

NCS: Week 4

NCS- Social Action Project

Reviewing my NCS concerns

Answering your NCS questions

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Answering your NCS questions

PrintAre you considering doing National Citizens Service? Or have you already signed up but seeking reassurance? Then you have come to the right place! I took part in NCS in the summer of 2016! From my experience with NCS I would like to help other people by answering some common NCS questions and some more personal questions about my own experience. Hopefully this will give you some more detail about NCS and what is involved. So lets get started!

Do you regret signing up for NCS?

No, not at all. I am so happy that I decided to not only sign up for NCS, but to see it out!

Would you recommend NCS to a friend?

Yeah I think I would. NCS is a great experience, however you must be willing to give it a go and put yourself forward to get the most out of it.

What is the leadership like?

The leaders on my wave were very young! Some of them were actually old enough to do NCS themselves! The youngest leader was 17, while most of the leaders were 18-19 years old. With the ‘older’ leaders being 20 years old. As a result the leader almost became your friend in a way. Some of the leaders were a bit immature and favoured the popular people in the team. Overall the leadership was a bit disorganised and the leaders often didn’t know what was going on.

Can I take my mobile?

Yes. Although NCS encourages you not to, everybody does. For week 1 we had no mobile signal or WiFi. Whereas for week 2 we had super fast WiFi and great signal.

Should I do NCS with a friend?

Yes and no. I did NCS with 3 of my friends: one dropped out, one I fell out with, one I came closer to. A bit of a mix really. I would recommend doing NCS with a person you know, but not your best friend. Having friends there does make it harder to become friends with other people, but at the same time it is good to have a familiar face.

What happens if I become homesick?

Speak to your team leader. Some people on my wave went home early (especially on week 1) due to homesickness. It’s not unusual for people to miss home.

What is the accommodation like?

For week one I stayed in a bell tent. We basically went glamping for the week. The tents were very nice and spacious, there were 4 people in my tent. But some tents only had two people in them! We slept on air mats which were not hugely comfy, but they were alright. For week 2 we slept in university style accommodation, where we all had single ensuite rooms. The rooms were fantastic, we had locking doors and mini fridges in our rooms.

Is the food good?

The food varied. For week one there was always four options available, while for week 2 there was only one option. The quality of the food was good, except the weird sandwich fillings (cottage cheese and spinach?!). Being a vegetarian, there were options available. However one time the veggie option had been taken, so I missed out on lunch that day.

What skill did you chose for part 2?

Actually I didn’t. For part 2 we were never asked to pick a skill. We missed that bit out for some reason.

Do I get a free NCS T-shirt?

No. When signing up to NCS I thought we got a free t-shirt, it turns out you have to buy them. My NCS provider sold the t-shirts at £7 each, or a hoodie for £16.


That is it, some of the most commonly asked questions about NCS. If you have any questions about NCS, then feel free to leave them down below! I will do my best to get in contact with you as soon as I can!

NCS: Week 4

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:

Pre-week work

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!

Day 1

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.

Day 2

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!

Day 3

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!

Day 4

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. 😉

Day 5

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.

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!

University Types Debugged

This post takes me back to the time when I was a young, wide eyed and excited year 11 girl who was about to finish her compulsory schooling. Okay, this may have been under a year ago, but still! I was sat in the career advisers office, I had just received my mock exam results. She looked at my results, back at me and back at my results. She finally took off her glasses leaned over the table and said “Anna, we HAVE to get you into a Russel Group university.” I just awkwardly sat there and smiled as she ran me through a few possible universities. The truth is, I had no idea what “Russel Group” meant! Was it a good thing? I didn’t know.

So here I am, researching and finding out about different types of universities. Perhaps you are like me and are looking forward into the future to look at potential universities or perhaps you are about to select your university right now! Anyway lets take a greater look into the types of university!

Russel Group

In simple terms ‘Russel Group’ is the top universities in the United Kingdom. It consists of 24 universities, which basically get the most funding from the government. They produce the best results and generally have the best facilities. All the research they conducted is of the highest standard. So you are probably wondering which universities made the cut, well here they are:

Raising awareness of anxiety

Anxiety is a mental disorder, that affects many people in their everyday life. Although anxiety is one of the more ‘common’ mental disorders, it is often misunderstood and therefore wrongly diagnosed. Many people diagnose them self with anxiety without fully understanding the disorder. One thing that I really hope to get across to you in this blog, is the fact that just because you are apprehensive about a certain event it doesn’t necessarily mean you have anxiety. We all get nervous about taking exams, going in for surgery and talking to your crush. Just because we have a few butterflies in our stomachs, it doesn’t always mean we have a serious mental disorder. One of the key things with anxiety and other mental disorders is the fact that they are constant and do not go away. However they may be triggered by a certain event that makes the anxiety worse. Anxiety is hard to diagnose and spot, because feeling anxious every now and then is perfectly normal and healthy. If you are not sure about whether you have anxiety, then I suggest going into the doctors and talking it through. No self diagnose quiz on the internet will do, you have to see a professional.

The symptoms of anxiety are wide and differ between person to person. I wasn’t sure whether to put the symptoms up or not, as I didn’t want to scare anyone or make them worry about whether they have anxiety or not. I just want to say that even if you have a few of these symptoms it does not always indicate that you have anxiety.

  • Physical sickness (nausea)
  • Tensing muscles for no reason
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Feeling numb
  • Dizziness
  • Faster breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Hot flushes/ over sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Bladder problems
  • Churning feeling in stomach
  • Panic attacks
  • Continuously nervous
  • Feeling of dread
  • Uncontrollable fear
  • Feeling isolated from reality
  • Belief that people are judging you
  • Over thinking situations
  • Analysing and repeating events in your mind
  • Lack of concentration
  • Trembling hands
  • On edge all the time
  • Tired for no reason
  • Stomach ache
  • Dry mouth

Many people ask ‘How does anxiety affect your life?’ Once again people are affected in different ways, not just short term but long term as well. Anxiety never really goes away it is always there waiting for you.  As a result there are long-term problems caused by anxiety these can include insomnia. I listed insomnia in the symptoms, but I wanted to explain it properly. Insomnia is when you have trouble sleeping, whether it’s falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up. Insomnia is a condition on its own, but can often accompany anxiety. Poor sleep can lead to other problems like fatigue, relationship problems and much more. Not only this anxiety is often accompanied with depression. It’s a myth that you can not have both anxiety and depression. The two actually go hand in hand, if you feel continuously nervous you may shut yourself off from the world…leading to depression. Anxiety itself can cause people to turn to drugs and alcohol in order to try to find ‘relief’ from the condition. So a misuse of alcohol and drugs could be a sign of anxiety. Anxiety is also known to affect people’s sex drive, causing relationship problems. It can also lower our immune system, which means we are more susceptible to disease and illness.

Although we can never be entirely sure what causes anxiety, we are not completely clueless. There have been many studies into anxiety and the cause of it. One cause of anxiety is previous bad experiences. For example perhaps you have been bullied in your life or grew up with abusive parents, this may be a trigger for anxiety and stress. Our general life problems and styles could be a cause for anxiety. For example if you are a student you may have long hours of revision, stress and feel overwhelmed with the amount of deadlines you have to meet. This could in fact cause you to have anxiety, if this is the case you will need to speak with your teachers/professors. Things like drugs and alcohol also play a role in triggering anxiety. This sounds really serious and life threatening, but an imbalance of the chemicals in your brain could be causing anxiety. This leads to certain areas of the brain being more active than others, leading to a feeling of anxiety. Other medical conditions can trigger anxiety, for example those suffering with long-term physical health problems might get anxiety.  Of course genetics does have a role in anxiety. They say that if a relative of yours has anxiety then you are more likely to have it. However just because none of your family has the condition it doesn’t mean that you don’t to.

NCS: Week 3

I’m now onto week 3 of my National Citizens Service (NCS) experience! Week 3 is all about planning your social action project. You will be based reasonably locally, and will meet up with your team to plan week 4. My team met up at a college, where we were based in a classroom. The college was about a 40 minute drive from my house, so it was a bit of a journey. Also this is the non-residential part of the NCS course, where we met up from 10am until 4pm.

Day 1

My team all met up in the car park, once most of the group had arrived we headed into the college. We walked around a bit until we found the correct block and the correct classroom that had been allocated to us. The classroom was fairly big and had comfy chairs, so all was good. We started off by scribbling down any ideas we had and we soon established that we wanted to do a fun day. We then looked at potential venues which ranged from Church Halls to Community Gardens to School fields. We constructed a list of possible venues for our fun day and then ranked them in order of preference. We then looked at dates and planned to held our fun day on Friday 12th August (our last NCS day). Once we had a date in mind we looked into contacting the venues. Luckily one member of our group worked at a local leisure centre, so they were able to secure us the use of their field for free! With a venue, date and time sorted. We decided to work out the exact contents of the fun day and what we could do. Many ideas were thrown around from BBQs to face painting to raffles etc. Once we had a rough idea we all split up into individual groups and worked on different things. I worked on planning the contents of the fun day and looked into the resources we would need and how we could obtain them. One guy in our team knew a few local bands, so he contacted them to ask if they would be interested in playing at our charity event. Two of the girls in our team worked on designing t-shirts to help with our fund-raising campaign. We also set up a Twitter and Facebook account for our project, alongside a JustGiving page. The team also got in touch with two of the charity’s we were hoping to support. One was a very local charity called ‘In Charley’s Memory’. While the other was a slightly bigger charity called CAMHS. The smaller charity replied and was delighted with our support and were willing to promote it on their Facebook page.

            

Day 2

We reached our second day of planning, where we decided to do a little charity shuffle around. Originally we planed to raise money for two charities: ‘CAMHS’ and ‘In Charley’s Memory’. However after we contacted CAMHS the previous day asking for permission they were yet to respond. As CAMHS had not replied we decided that we would no longer raise money for their charity. It wasn’t a personal issue or anything, but we just  felt that we shouldn’t need to go chasing a charity. If the charity wanted donations then they would have accepted straight away. However we haven’t given up on CAMHS completely, we are still raising awareness for their charity. After our charity drama we decided to get to work. A lot of the team created posters for the family fun day. The posters ranged from electronic (online) posters to A4 posters and A1 posters. We also started to design some flyers that we could potentially hand out. We also created a list of places where we could hand out flyers and stick up posters. We were advertising for our two events: A fun day and a fun run. I volunteered myself to ask one of the local swimming pools if I could put up a poster in their window. I also volunteered myself to hand out flyers at my local park run on the Saturday, alongside two other members of my team. Another two members of my team known as ‘The Media Experts’ set up two events on our Facebook page to help advertise the events and began to invite people along. We also managed to come up with a list of supplies we would need and where we could get them from and the price they would cost. Half of the group decided to take the 30 minute walk down to Tesco to ask about whether we could potentially have some donations for our charity event. As it was a little bit miserable outside I volunteered to stay behind and carry on with the posters. The team that was sent out (accompanied with a leader) came to no avail. Apparently the manager or the guy that was responsible was not in. We also had a bit of a problem with the fun run prices, my team wanted to charge a £5 entry fee. I asked a few of my running friends if they would be interested and they all came back saying it was a bit pricey. I guess I agreed with them considering the park runs are free, and we would not be supplying bottles of water or anything. After a slightly awkward discussion with my team I was able to get them to reduce the price to £3.50. However I was still concerned that it was too expensive, but I did the best I could.

Day 3

We had previously decided that we wanted to hold a fun day, at our fun day we wanted to have a bouncy castle. We got in contact with a few local bouncy castle firms and finally received a reply. We were basically hoping to get the bouncy castle for as cheap as possible as it was for a charity event! The original and standard price was £50, so we got in contact with them and told them about our charity event in the hope of a reduction. We were hoping to get the bouncy castle for about £30-£40. Unfortunately the firm rang us back and said that they could not do a reduction on price. Instead they were willing to throw in a few stocks, a coconut shy and a few other bits and bobs for free. These would normally cost £45 to hire out. This left us with a dilemma, half the team wanted to go ahead with the bouncy castle while others wanted to ditch the idea. One of the main problems was the fact that we had already began advertising the fun day, with a bouncy castle!  A decision was never really made in regards to the bouncy castle, as we decided to look around to potentially find another supplier. From one bad piece of news to another: the t-shirts. My team wanted to get some t-shirts printed in order to wear them at our fundraising events. We had designed a logo to go on the t-shirts and everything! How ever things didn’t go exactly to plan….we wanted to get the t-shirts as cheap as possible, but that didn’t work out. We contacted a local t-shirt printing company and sent them our design, explained it was for charity and waited for their response. We got an email back from them with a quote for the price. For 14 t-shirts printed with our logo it would come to a grand total of £105.That was the cheapest price they could possibly do. It worked out at about £7.50 a t-shirt. I know that £7.50 for one t-shirt isn’t too bad, but when you are buying in bulk it does add up! It was suggested that we all bought cheap white t-shirts and one of the girls in our team would use her fabric pens to draw the logos on herself. I was worried that it would look a bit cheap and tacky, however most of the team were on board with the idea. We also managed to get our hands upon 200 printed flyers, in order to advertise our fun run. They were printed out at the office of our NCS provider for free! We then came up with a list of places where we could put flyers up or hand them out to. Once we worked out places, we looked at how many we would need and decided that we would have to potentially print another 200. Afterwards I was then sent out along with 3 other team members (1 was a leader) to the local high street. Strangely we ended up taking all the socially awkward people to hand out flyers (not the best idea ever). So instead of directly asking people and giving them flyers, we set out to ask shops if we could display our poster in their window. We ended up putting posters in swimming pools, hardware stores, hair dressers, bakeries, banks, cafes, vets, shoe shops, florists and everywhere we could. The only place I was turned away from was WHSmith, who said that they do not put posters in the window, but the woman was very friendly and suggested to me other places I could try. One member of my team was turned away from a charity shop, who said that they would not advertise a charity event that did not support their charity….fair enough. I even posted a flyer through the door of a local launderette as they were not open! We were going into a mobility shop to ask as we noticed that they had lots of posters on their windows. However we felt that it may not be appropriate to ask to advertise a run in a mobility shop! So that ended our trip around the local high street, the four of us managed to dish out 20 leaflets to local shops in about an hour. So not bad work!

Day 4

Please wait, your call is very important to us. Beep. After trying to pin down supermarkets the previous day, we picked up the phones and tried contacting them again. The whole morning went by and we appeared to be doing nothing except sitting around or calling people. We contacted lots of supermarkets but none of them seemed to reply. We got the same ‘Ohh the manager isn’t in today’ or ‘we will call you back later’ over and over again. I guess it is not easy trying to get in to do bag packing last minute. It was then onto getting back in touch with the bouncy castle firm. It turns out that the earlier quote of £50, had been increased to £60 for some unknown reason. I don’t know whether it was a mistake or whether the company saw an opportunity to make some extra money out of some disorganised teens…who knows. We ended up having a team meeting on whether the bouncy castle was a yay or nay. It was awkward. The two girls leading the meeting were absolutely passionate for the bouncy castle and didn’t really open up to any suggestions, but instead asked us for our confirmation. I guess the problem was the two girls leading it were too dominant and too controlling, that nobody had the guts to stand up to them. So all though pretty much the entire team disagreed with the bouncy castle idea, it went ahead. The bouncy castle was booked, for a huge £60. At least someone will make money if we don’t! We then had lunch and spent a lot of time waiting around while one of our leaders drove to the office to print some more posters. We then worked on creating ID cards and took pictures of each other on our phones which was fun, until it was spoiled when someone suggested bringing in their professional camera. The posters arrived back, this time it was the posters for our fun day rather than the charity run. So I found myself heading back out into the high street to pester local shops about putting up posters. We ended up handing 16 out between the 3 of us. However I was kind of frustrated as I went into the high street the previous day and a lot of the shops we gave posters to did not bother to put them up. I mean it’s so annoying when you go there hand them a poster, they smile and be all friendly like they care and then the second you walk away they toss the poster into the bin! I would rather they just said ‘no’ so we didn’t waste a poster. I guess people are too embarrassed to say “no!” to supporting a charity, instead they just pretend to and then throw your efforts into the bin! Out of the 20 posters we handed out the previous day, only 7 of them were actually displayed!

Day 5

We finished on a high! In contrast to the previous day we had a lot more to do. CAMHS finally got in touch with us and sent some leaflets for us to hand out. Although we are not directly fundraising for them as they are apart of the NHS, we are still raising awareness for mental health issues so it is still relevant. The morning was spent folding up the leaflets and finishing off ID badges that we had produced. Our team leader headed out to ‘In Charley’s Memory’ office in order to collect some merchandise. The charity gave us collection buckets, wrist bands and pens. We then had to do some risk assessments, for all our fundraising events. This was quite a boring task that I managed to wriggle my way out of slightly. Two of the girls in my team took the bus home to pick up some face paint, before coming back to practise on people. We were planning on doing face painting at our fun day, but because nobody had any experience we wanted to try it out first. Afterwards I was nominated to go into the select team, who were heading down to Tesco. The 5 selected members of the team (Including me) endured on the 30 minute walk to Tesco. Where we asked about having some fizzy drinks and cups for our fun day. Luckily Tesco were super friendly and gave us 24 litres off fizzy drinks and 200 plastic cups, free of charge. Amazing! We ended up with 12, 2 litre bottles of fizzy drinks in a range of six flavours! A massive shout out to Tesco for supporting us! That was it, we finished the odd job here and there. Before organising and creating a timetable for next week. This allowed us to go home 45 minutes early!

Overall week 3 is obviously a lot more serious than the previous 2 weeks. We got through a lot of work and managed to plan a few fundraising events for next week. At times it was a little boring, especially when we had little to do. One of the best parts was wheeling around the office on spiny chairs, which was super fun! We also had a great time playing catch with a bouncy egg and listening to Frozen songs!

NCS- Social Action Project

For my social action project for National Citizens Service (NCS). My team and I have decided to raise money and awareness for the mental health service. Many people overlook mental health in society and we feel that not enough time, money and consideration is put into it. We want to change this! As a result we have partnered up with ‘Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services’ (CAMHS) and ‘In memory of Charley’. In order to raise funds and awareness for mental health issues. We feel that this is particularly important as many of us know people who have been affected by mental health issues. We also wish to stop the belief that mental health is less important than physical health and the belief that mental health is a decision.

My team: ‘FunderKatz’ have created a JustGiving page where people can donate to our chosen charities. Please donate it really is an amazing cause and we are grateful for even the smallest of donations! Thank you!

Donate!

Or you can share our message on Facebook by liking our page and inviting all your friends! Feel free to share any of our posts!

Our Facebook

Lastly I would like to say a massive thank you on behalf of myself and the rest of my team, for all your fantastic support. Remember. Care, Share and be Aware!

Reviewing my NCS concerns

For those of you who don’t know I have just completed my two residentials with NCS, meaning I am half way through the course. Before I started NCS I was very worried, nervous and concerned. I was even considering dropping out and asking for a refund! But now that I have done the main section of NCS, I really want to go back and review the concerns I did have, in order to help other people.

I wrote a blog post on my concerns before NCS began, you can read it here: NCS Concerns

Now let’s review my concerns and see how far I have come!

The first concern I had was about the people there and not making friends or hating them. Well this is interesting! A lot has happened since I wrote this! I mentioned that I started NCS with 3 friends, well that didn’t go to plan. One of my friends pulled out on the second day of week 1. If you have read my NCS week 2 review you will know that I had some problems with my team. One of the friends I went with ignored me and I had a problem with her. My team didn’t really like me too much, they were not mean. It was more the fact that we were too different, so I was often left out and not included. So I ended up switching teams where I felt more accepted and more importantly where I was happier! During NCS I made one really close friend, who I got really close to during the weeks and we now contact each other regularly over social media. It’s fair to say I lost a bad friend, but gained a good one instead. I now feel a lot more confident about meeting new people, even though I have had a bad experience with friends and socialising.

My second concern was homesickness. This was by far my biggest fear before NCS and it was what made me not want to sign up in the first place! However I completely shocked myself! I was not homesick once! When it came to Friday and it was time to go home, I actually felt a little sad! I was absolutely shocked! I think the reason why I was not homesick was because I was too busy to think about it. I was to focused on what was going on around me to worry about home. Of course I thought of home a little, but it wasn’t too bad and it certainly wasn’t ‘homesickness’. By doing NCS I feel a lot better about moving out and away from home. I said to myself if I can’t spend 5 days away from home at 16, how could I move out to university at 18? I proved to myself that I could do it. Now I feel much more confident about moving to university, than I ever have!

Being unhappy. Hmmm. This is a tricky one. I would be lying to say I was happy all the time while I was there. I cried twice during the 2 weeks: one in public and one in private. I cried during the high ropes as I am terrified of heights and I cried in my room when everyone ignored me and did not include me. So I guess I was a little unhappy at times, yet this was compensated by how much fun I had. Yeah, this is a bit of a mixture. I suppose you can’t be happy all the time, but I did manage to get through it.

I was never properly forced to do any activities. Except the talent show in week 2, where I was practically pushed out of my seat and onto the stage. Apart from that, it was very much a case of “if you really don’t want to then don’t”. My leader told us “It’s our NCS experience, we encourage you to give it a go, but it’s up to you.” So I guess I was never properly forced. I think you have to stand up for yourself a little and say ‘No!’ otherwise you will find yourself doing things that make you unhappy. My advice is give it a go or you may regret it. I tried the high ropes, hated it and then came down straight away. No problem.

When it came to facilities, it was a lot better than I expected it to be. In week 1 we had 4 portable loos and 3 loos with locking doors. I admit the showers and loos were a bit of a long walk from the camp site. It was a solid 10 minute walk across a couple of fields and a small hill, but it wasn’t too bad. I managed to get a shower with a curtain across as I woke up early and showered in the morning to avoid the rush. In week 2 I had an ensuite! It was basically a wet room with a shower and loo.

There we have it, a review on the concerns I had before NCS! I really hope that this may help somebody out there, if it has please leave me a comment or like my post. If you have any concerns or questions about NCS please ask me!