NCS Social Action is brought to Addenbrooke's Hospital

NCS Social action is brought to Addenbrooke’s hospital:

By the end of 2016 NCS aim to have over 300,000 participants (15 to 17 years old) meeting new people, developing their skills and building confidence ready for future career and life choices. The government run programme aims to increase this number to over a million by 2020.

Part of the NCS Programme that Learn by Design delivers, requires young people to participate in a social action project and our current cohort of students in the Cambridge area had an amazing opportunity to work with the voluntary sector within Cambridge University Hospital (CUH)  NHS Foundation Trust.

Social Action Project Task:

Tackling three key social challenges the young people were tasked with investing 60 hours each to research, plan and deliver a Social Action Project which has a positive impact on; the hospital including patients, hospital staff, existing volunteers as well as the young people themselves having the opportunity to gain valuable life skills.

Core values promoted: 1. Social cohesion – by building stronger, more integrated communities and fostering understanding between people from different backgrounds 2. Social mobility – by building essential skills for life 3. Social engagement – by engaging young people in social action in their communities

Cambridge University Hospital (CUH)  NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest and best-known Trusts in the country and their established volunteering, youth volunteering, work experience programme has a dedicated team. This platform was ideal for the young people to showcase their learning whilst giving back to the community.


The NCS team supported development of an ‘Activity box’ for volunteers to use when they visit patients on wards. This project utilised the skills and creativity of the young people and helped to design and develop the box and its contents, with students pitching their thoughts and ideas to an Expert Panel, at Addenbrooke’s Hospital on the 17th August.

A briefing session took place on the 8th August at Addenbrookes in the Deacon Centre. Students were  briefed in the ‘Simulation Room’ having the opportunity to meet and question a ‘Volunteers Helper’ and Maggie Brown, the Voluntary Services Manager, who kindly agreed to sponsor this project.

Following the creation of the activity box, thoughts and ideas were pitched successfully by the students, showing initiative and varying methods of researching the needs of different patient groups, particularly the elderly and those suffering with dementia. Their project included visits to community groups and places where the elderly meet, as well as visits to care homes in Cambridge. Participation in on online courses added further knowledge and understanding on patient care (Dementia Friends – Alzheimer’s Society). The final activity box contained many interactive elements including books, memorabilia, memory prompts from photos to games and music for volunteers to engage patients.

This unique project has had a tangible positive impact on both patient and young person involved, increasing awareness and understanding of the range of needs a patient may have whilst improving communication and interaction skills with the elderly. Such projects are a valuable addition to a CV, apprentice or University Application.

Special thanks go out to Rose Gardner – NCS Partnership Manager, Learn by Design and Maggie Brown – Voluntary Services Manager, CUH NHS Foundation Trust – Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

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