Chloe Sartain-Berry, Swadlincote

Chloe Sartain-Berry, Swadlincote, Derbyshire

I was in Team 1 – with Emily and Liam, raising awareness and money for Tagadere (www.tagadere.org.uk), a HIV charity in Nottingham. We chose this charity because someone close to our hearts has HIV. So far, we’ve raised over £300 and today we purchased a laptop and projector using that money so the charity could show HIV awareness videos at schools and to people who come into the centre on Mansfield Road.

We found out about this charity through a friend. Everyone in the group was touched by the story this person told and it was a wake up call – people could have this illness and you wouldn’t even know. We wanted to make a difference.

I joined NCS to get out of my comfort zone. I was an air cadet for 5 years and I always wanted to do things with a group of people and make new friends.

NCS seems too good to be true! You see the information about it online and that it’s only £40 – and it actually is! You get food and accommodation and everything all provided. It’s been a challenge to live away for 4 weeks, especially during the last 2 weeks where you come in every day, but you get so much out of it it’s worth it. I want to stay on with NCS as a graduate and perhaps come back and help out next year.

When you’re 16 or 17 you just need to do it – it’s like a rite of passage. Just take the leap! When you leave school it’s when you change so much and it’s such a great experience. There’s no reason not to – you’re holding yourself back if you don’t. The life experience you gain is invaluable. I’ll totally stay in touch with my group. I don’t make friends just like that, but there are definitely a few I know I can rely on and will keep in touch with them.