Between the 10th and 13th of October, a group of 33 Football and Education Programme male and female scholars travelled to Much Wenlock near Shrewsbury to take part in phase 1 of the National Citizen Service programme. The 4 day residential involved a number of outdoor activities in small groups that the boys and girls took part in, as well as some evening activities run by the FEP staff. Thursday was very much about travelling to our venue, Wilderhope Manor, and getting settled in. The scholars were the only group on site, so it was not long before FIFA was going on the projector in the basement room whilst others made use of the communal areas to socialise. After dinner, Lead HND tutor Andy Ellis lead a team building and problem solving session then it was off to bed to prepare for the adventures ahead. Friday started with a good breakfast before the group split into 3. 1 group went off in the buses to Ludlow to take part in kayaking down the River Teme as well as some raft building. The other 2 groups spent the day rock climbing and mountain biking, or vice versa. Despite the dreadful weather, all 3 groups did really well with the activities and there was lots of enjoyment and funny moments along the way! Once everyone was back on site, showered and a bit more FIFA, it was dinner then some more activities in small groups, firstly led by our Head of Education, Jean Limpitlaw, where the scholars reflected on their day, and then by Community Inclusion and part time FEP coach Jamie Worrall, to get the group thinking outside of the box. After a bit more free time to socialise (and more FIFA!) it was off to bed. We awoke to a much better day weather-wise on the Saturday. After breakfast, the groups went off to do the activities they hadn’t done on the Friday. Once again, there were lots of positive experiences for the scholars as well as a lot of enjoyment and memorable moments along the way. It was really interesting to see how the groups had bonded and were starting to find out lots about each other. Once back, showered, changed and another great evening meal, there were more evening activities. First was an activity, again led by Jean, in small groups, where the scholars reflected on the issues that affect them in their local communities. After this, the scholars were treated to one of Academy Education Lead, Pete Stephenson’s, legendary sports quizzes! An entertaining evening ending with Team Ludlow winning the quiz and a few awards given out for each groups players player of the trip and the coaches player of the trip. It was then off to pack and bed time, which was earlier for some than others! Sunday was all about a good breakfast and then making sure we left the facility in the state we found it. Credit to the group, they ensured that we left the areas that were used in an exemplary state. Bags were loaded, final checks of rooms were done and it was off back to the PTS Academy Stadium, where we arrived bang on midday. Some tired bodies left but there were still lots of smiles. A huge credit must go to the scholars that took part in the trip. The lead instructor over the weekend spoke to the FEP staff before we left and gave some incredibly positive feedback about the group, stating that they were one of the best groups he has ever worked with over the last 10 years, in terms of their attitude, togetherness and positivity. It was excellent to see and hear this sort of thing from all of the different instructors, who were incredibly complimentary about the group. The boys and girls represented the football club impeccably and were an absolute credit. Well done to all those that took part!