About New Opportunities for Community & Support (NOCS)
NOCS provides support, development opportunities and fun for young people with high levels of social anxiety and difficulties with social interaction, particularly due to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), such as Asperger’s, or mental health challenges.
Through our games clubs, drop-in centre and volunteering opportunities, our members are supported to form lasting friendships, gain confidence and develop their social and practical skills in a safe, secure and happy environment.
Membership is free and open to everyone from the age of 10+. Based in Blandford Forum our catchment area is Dorset.NOCS uses the unusual medium of table top (non electronic) games to develop , a pastime that is particularly attractive to our community to develop social skills. These include card games and board games, such as Magic: The Gathering, skirmish games involving miniatures, such as Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar, and role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons ‘D&D’.
For more about how we use games as a way to develop social skills see https://nocscharity.com/gaming-and-social-skills/
NOCS is fully inclusive and having a wide range of gamers with shared interests helps us all to operate in a supportive community. It’s important to us that NOCS has a wide appeal whilst targeting particular support to those with specific social needs.
NOCS charity was set up by a group of supporters, including parents and carers who have seen first-hand the life-changing outcomes that the clubs deliver.
“Noc’s Box is a jewel…a small space that delivers massive support.”
The clubs and drop-in at NOCS have long outgrown our small space, which only holds 12 people max at any one time. We can’t accommodate everyone who wants to join and who needs support and, sadly, we’re turning young people away.
Our aim is to grow NOCS in larger premises to support more people. And through research to show how the games help develop social skills, so that others can replicate it.
We’re almost there with our fundraising for larger premises. This is our final push. Get behind us!
NOCS is building on the proven success of Noc’s Box, a games shop and drop-in/support centre, set up in Blandford in 2014 by Nocturin Lacey-Clarke, known as ‘Noc’.
Noc himself grew up with a range of challenges – he has Asperger’s – and his aim with Noc’s Box has been to set up an inclusive space, open to all, with a focus on helping people with similar conditions to himself, who often have high anxieties and find social interaction challenging.
As a young person Noc spent many a happy hour interacting and playing in the games workshop environment. He says:
“ …At last I had found a group of people that were like minded, interested in my opinion… They just accepted me for who I was. I felt as though I had finally found my niche and was able to be part of a vibrant community..."
NOCS charity is building on the substantial personal investment that Noc has made in establishing and funding the clubs. Above all, in delivering positive outcomes for members through his unstinting support. We need more funds to support more people that we can’t currently fit into the small space.
In the video below Noc explains why he set up Noc's Box.
NOCS charity was set up by a group of people passionate to see it grow and to help others to benefit, because they’ve seen first hand the life-changing benefits that the activities and support at Noc’s Box have brought to their loved ones.“NOCS has been life changing for my nephew Paul. Since going to NOCS his intense social anxieties have reduced immeasurably. He is more comfortable talking to people and he copes much better with challenges and setbacks, all while making friends and having fun! He started with card games and very gradually progressed onto skirmish and role play games, receiving fantastic support from Noc and his fellow players along the way. Paul has Asperger’s and his acute anxieties meant he used to spend most of his time at home. I want others with his difficulties to benefit too."
“My son, who has Asperger’s and is highly anxious, first started going to NOCS 4 years ago after a life of much time spent at home, including a prolonged time out of school which left him with very low self-esteem. After finding NOCS, he is now, quite literally, a different person. Finding friends of a like mind, a wonderful mentor in Noc and things to do that he really enjoys, he regularly attends the various activities – a miracle in itself. Now having so much more confidence, he helps out weekly at the shop, improving his self-esteem immensely. Noc’s support has been unwavering and instrumental in helping him to achieve this.”
We’ve seen repeatedly that the social skills and confidence gained through the shared passion for games at NOCS, and the support we give, are transferable to other contexts. Our members become more socially confident and less anxious. This is remarkable – and is a particularly cost-effective form of support. We intend to support further research into exploring the link between the games used and social skills.
Help NOCS to grow!