NCS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Where can I find a kit list?
Where will my programme take place?
Can I sign up to NCS with my mates?
Are mobile phones allowed on NCS?
Do young people need to bring a sleeping bag?
What meals are provided?

Where can I find a kit list?

The packing list is included in the NCS Summer / Autumn Welcome Pack that we send to young people and their parents/guardians with confirmed places. These will be distributed by email to reduce our carbon footprint, so keep an eye out for them.

If you have not received your NCS Summer / Autumn Welcome Pack, click here to see all of the key documents you will need for the programme.

NCS Packing Guidance
You are allowed to bring one suitcase and one day bag with you. Any additional bags will have to be left behind, so please stay within the luggage limit. Please try to avoid using a large suitcase due to limited luggage space.

Young people should not bring any prohibited items such as alcohol, any illegal drugs, illegal items, penknives or weapons onto NCS. We ask young people to respect these rules as there will be consequences if they are found to be in possession of any of these items.

Please note that we are not able to insure personal belongings. For this reason, we recommend that you do not bring unnecessary expensive items or valuables.


Where will my programme take place?

Each NCS Programme takes place within the UK.
In previous years, young people have travelled to locations such as Scotland, Cumbria, Kent and Wales for Week 1 of the programme.

Weeks 2, 3 and 4 are usually located in Sheffield.

We will send out information about your programme once you are fully signed up to the programme.

We arrange travel to take young people to the away residentials unless they are based in Sheffield. In this instance, young people would be dropped off at the accommodation we are using. Young people and their parents or guardians are responsible for organising their travel to the meeting points and from the return points at the times shown in the Welcome Pack.

Can I sign up to NCS with my mates?

If you’ve got a mate going on NCS, just drop us an email to with their name or give us a call on 0114 2999 211 and we’ll do our best to get you booked onto the same programme.

Whether you go with a friend or by yourself, just remember – you’ll meet so many incredible people and make so many new mates! It’s the biggest thing we hear from our grads.

Please note that the accommodation on NCS is single-gender and so we cannot approve room sharing requests for young people of different genders.

Are mobile phones allowed on the NCS programme?

The big question, but yes don’t panic you can keep up with the outside world while on NCS. In fact, we want you to share and shout about your experience! There will be times that we’ll ask you to leave your phone behind – like if you’re about to take the plunge into a lake – but apart from that go nuts!

Please note that we are not able to insure personal belongings so young people who bring their mobile phones do so at their own risk.

Do young people need to bring a sleeping bag?

No, young people do not need to bring a sleeping bag. All our accommodation comes with bedding.

What meals are provided?

All food and drink will be provided during the residential parts of the programme (when young people are staying away from home). You only need to bring a packed lunch for the first day of Week 1 and Week 2.

As long as we are informed about the young person’s needs in advance, we can provide most speciality food for dietary requirements, including halal, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free food, and for other food allergies. Here are examples of meals available during the residential parts. Options will vary:

For summer programmes:

Week 1 (residential):
Please bring a packed lunch for the first day. High-energy food is then provided by the outdoor activity centre.
Breakfast: cereal, cooked breakfast, porridge
Lunch: sandwiches, crisps, fruit
Dinner: hot meal (e.g. pasta, pizza, curry, chilli), salad, dessert

Week 2 (residential)
Please bring a packed lunch for the first day. Young people will be provided a food budget from Element that they use to buy food they choose for their mealtimes. Participants will be cooking for themselves as part of their independent living experience.
Breakfast: cereal, toast
Lunch: sandwiches, crisps, fruit
Dinner: a selection of hot meals chosen and cooked as a team (e.g. sausages and mashed potato, stir-fry, pizza)

Week 3 and 4 (non-residential)
Please bring your own packed lunch. Food is not provided.


Where will young people sleep during residential phases?
What happens at the Parent/Guardian Evening?
How much does it cost to take part in NCS?
Will some young people going on the programme have challenging behaviour?
Who will be responsible for the young people on the ground?
Will taking part in NCS interfere with my teen’s studies?
How do I get my teen involved?

Where will young people sleep during the residential phases?

With Element NCS, accommodation usually consists of an outdoor activity centre/youth hostel in Week 1, and student accommodation in Week 2. Please check this information in your Welcome Pack.

The accommodation is maintained by a vetted outdoor activity centre, university campus or other accommodation provider and there are security features in place there to keep its residents as safe as possible. Male and female participants are separated into single-gender accommodation and are not allowed to enter each others’ rooms.

The accommodation comes with the necessary amenities such as access to showers and power sockets. Some accommodation, including bathrooms, may be shared with other young people but it will only be with participants of the same gender.

What happens at the Parent/Guardian Evening?

The Parent/Guadian Evening is an opportunity for participants and parents/guardians to gain more information about NCS and to ask any questions they may have about the programme. It is also an opportunity for them to meet other young people that will be participating in the same programme, and their parents or guardians.

We aim to send you an invite for the Parent/Guardian Evening 4 weeks in advance so you can plan it into your diaries. We run a number of evenings throughout the year, so if you can’t make the first one, please lookout for the next available date. We recommend that you attend as previous participants have found it very useful and it gives you a chance to meet us!

How much does it cost to take part in NCS?

‘Technically’ a place on NCS costs £1,500 but because we’re government-funded, the most we’ll ask you to contribute is £50. And at certain times of the year, it could cost even less! We also have a bursary scheme available that’s 100% confidential. If you’re not sure you can afford it, just get in touch and we’ll see what we can do.

Will some young people going on the programme have challenging behaviour?

Element Society aims to support those with challenging behaviour to allow them to take part and get the best out of NCS.
As safety is our main concern, we review each young person’s application, particularly paying attention to the medical and support information provided.

If we are told that a young person has difficulty with following clear rules and boundaries, we will contact the parent or guardian to discuss this. In some cases, we will contact schools, professionals or other specialists for more information. We then come to a decision about the young person and how much support they may need on NCS. If needed, we will put extra staff support in place for the young person.

If a young person seriously or persistently breaks the code of conduct, staff will assess the situation and decide on the most suitable action. In some cases, we may ask the young person to leave the programme.

Who will be responsible for the young people on the ground?

The safety and well-being of participants is paramount. At Element, we are committed to ensuring the utmost effort is made to mitigate risks to health and safety on the programme. NCS staff are DBS checked (previously CRB) and suitably trained in order to work with young people and run fun, safe activities.

All the activities are comprehensively risk-assessed and overseen by carefully selected trained instructors and mentors and the programme is quality assured locally and nationally.

Will taking part in NCS interfere with my teen’s academic studies?

No. The NCS summer programme takes place in the summer holidays. Our shorter autumn programmes can take place at any point during the autumn term but usually designed with the school or college to reduce disruption to learning.

How do I get my teen involved?

There are 3 quick and easy ways to book a young person onto one of our programmes.

You can get in contact with us anytime Monday to Friday 10 am – 5 pm by calling our office on 0114 2999 211.

You can email us at and one of our team will get back to you.

You can go online at to fill in your details and book your place.

Once registration is complete, we will send you more details about the programme they have signed up for.

Element Society