Cerys, 16 has spent four weeks of her summer volunteering for National Citizen Service (NCS) with Groundwork.
"Before this summer I had never heard about NCS - but I was keen to try a new experience.
"Our main volunteering project was at an elderly persons home where we helped to fix up their garden. We made a vegetable patch, trimmed hedges and created a compost heap. I had done gardening before when I was little so it was great to get involved again.
"When we finished the garden all the elderly people came outside to take a look and started talking to us; telling us they were really pleased. They kept saying things like ‘these young people are so nice to talk to!’ which was so lovely to hear.
"We also did a 24 hour ‘phone famine’ to show how we don’t actually need our phones and got our family and friends to sponsor us. We were at the NCS residential at the time so everyone made sure that no one used their phone. We raised £290 and it showed that young people are capable of doing new things.
"I enjoyed the residential part of NCS where I took part in activities like rock climbing and abseiling. It helped people to bond with those who they wouldn’t normally speak to. We have all become really close – we’ve Skyped every night since finishing NCS!
"I’m very passionate about the environment. I would say global warming and pollution, such as how many people drive cars and don’t respect the environment annoys me the most. My dad’s brought me up to be very environmentally aware.
"Since doing NCS my opinion on volunteering has changed - I would definitely like to see more young people get involved. I’ve gone against going to University because of the pricing, so I’ve decided to stay local and stick with volunteering with the community. NCS has helped to change my career goal.
"I think that young people are faced with a whole manner of different issues. For one, it’s so important that young people have access to local parks. In Brighton, they revamped the whole skate park and it’s helped to reduce anti-social behaviour.
"It’s frustrating that young people aren't getting a choice about the future. Sometimes it feels like the older generation are just destroying stuff and aren’t considering how we are going to be affected by it. Young people should be taken more seriously – we are fully aware of what’s going on."
To find out more about Groundwork’s involvement in NCS please click here.