Sophie, 16 has spent four weeks of her summer volunteering for National Citizen Service (NCS) with Groundwork.
"I’ve always looked for a way to help the community so getting involved with NCS seemed like an easy way to do that, especially with people my own age who are interested in the same thing.
"It’s been great to meet new people who I wouldn’t necessarily get to meet. I’ve learnt stuff about people my age that I wouldn’t know. As a group we’ve become so close and we trust each other. There are situations at school where you wouldn’t necessarily say things, but at NCS we've been able to. Everybody knows that they are there for each other. There are people in our group who have admitted they are not really ‘people people’ and chose to stick to themselves, but now they are in a group they are socialising with everyone which is great.
"I think at certain times there can be a social divide between the young and the older generation, especially when younger people are accused causing the problems, such as littering and graffiti. It’s one of the reasons why I think it’s essential that all young people have access to local parks and green spaces so they have somewhere to go.
"It’s so easy just to get stuck behind a screen in the holidays watching films or gaming. I have a cricket green right outside the door so that’s where I spend my time. If I didn’t have that, I would just chill at home.
"Since volunteering I’ve noticed other volunteers so much more. I think a lot of young people underestimate how fulfilling volunteering actually is. There might be some people thinking ‘why are you wasting your summer’, but for me it’s made my summer. The feeling of making a difference is inspiring, especially knowing even at a young age you can make such a big difference to other people and you don’t realise you are until you do it. It makes me feel good – and makes others feel good."
To find out more about Groundwork’s involvement in NCS please click here.