Vicki Burton, from the Club's Community Sports Foundation, brings us the first update as she leads a party of NCS graduates on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Kenya.
Hi and welcome to Day 1 of our HUCSF African Adventure blog. My name is Vicki and I am the NCS Co-Ordinator for Hartlepool United Community Sports Foundation.
NCS (National Citizen Service) is a government funded programme for 15-17 year olds, focussed on supporting young people as they transition from school leaders into active and upstanding members of the community. We run the programme every summer and autumn and each time we end up with a group of fantastic young people who work hard to become NCS graduates. Once a young person becomes an NCS graduate, a world of opportunities opens up for them, both with HUCSF and beyond.
Last summer, and in partnership with African Adventures, Keith Nobbs and I decided to offer our NCS grads the opportunity of a lifetime; 10 days in Kenya. Since deciding to embark on the journey, the participants have had to use the skills they developed during the social action week of NCS, working hard to raise enough money for their place. They gained sponsorship from local businesses, ran race nights and stalls, took part in sponsored walks and much more. Eventually in April, all 14 members of the group had reached their goal.
The 14 group members are:
Vicki Burton - NCS Co-ordinator
Chris Burton - NCS Team Leader
Craig Linsel - NCS 2015 graduate and HUCSF Apprentice/NCS Assistant Team Leader
Angie Marchant - Parent of one of our NCS graduates and lifelong Pools fan
Ellie Lewis - NCS 2017 graduate
Taylor Allen - NCS 2017 graduate
Louise Atkinson - NCS 2017 graduate
Amy Moore - NCS 2017 graduate
Yazmin Wright - NCS 2017 graduate
Will Ogden - NCS 2017 graduate
Luke Faulding - NCS 2017 graduate
Louis Marchant - NCS 2017 graduate
Paige Hunter - NCS 2016 graduate
Ellie Hamilton - NCS 2017 graduate
Hopefully throughout the trip you will get to know more about our amazing participants!
So now you’ve got to know a bit of background information about the trip and the group, I’ll tell you a bit about our first day.
We met at The Vic on Tuesday morning at 5:15am, so anyone who was awake at that hour, that’s why the lights were on! Nobbsy drove us to Newcastle Airport where we boarded our flight to Amsterdam at 9:30am, after the world’s most expensive breakfast that is! The flight to Amsterdam was pretty quick. When we arrived in Schiphol it was a mad rush to walk the 17 miles to our next gate ready to board the plane to Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. We had time for a quick toilet stop then got on our next flight. The plane was huge, our first plane would have fit in it 5 times over I’m sure!
Eight hours, lots of food and plenty of games of Tetris later (if you’re ever on that particular KLM flights, you’ll see me, Vicstar, top of the leaderboard!), we arrived at Jomo Kenyatta Airport in Nairobi. If we thought the travel time was long, the queue to get through immigration was never-ending! Everyone says British people love queuing; I don’t think that’s true, I think we just queue politely! How a man who was 30 places behind me got through immigration before us I will never know! The plus was that by the time we got through, our bags were easy to find as they were the only ones left!
We then came through customs and were met outside by Leah and Fred from African Adventures who will be looking after us on the trip. We waited for our minibuses and played a bit more Tetris trying to get all our cases in the boot. Safe to say ‘suitcase Tetris’ is not my game!
We’re two hours ahead in Kenya so it’s almost midnight as I write this and we are just on our way to the hotel in Nairobi before we set off to Nakuru in the morning. It’s still warm here, although Leah was wearing two jumpers and a base layer! It’s raining though so at least we don’t feel too far from home! We should be arriving at the hotel shortly which is good news because everyone wants a shower and a good night’s sleep!
I would like to finish this first blog by thanking all the sponsors who have kindly helped us out and a massive thank you to all the businesses listed below who have supported the trip.