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Chynna and Tom's story

“We felt valued - which isn't always the case for young people these days.”

Chynna Arkle and Tom Burns are two GCSE students from Ashington who volunteered with Groundwork in Pegswood, Northumberland on a variety of community projects.

Both Chynna and Tom played important roles with Groundwork’s ‘Blooming Well' dementia group, by helping group members with artwork and crafts as part of the Ageing Well activity programme. They also designed information booklets for the local public and local schools to highlight the work of the group.

As well as getting involved with the Ageing Well programme, both Chynna and Tom were also involved with Healthy Parks, Healthy Minds group where they helped their local community and planted flowers at Ashington Woods and worked on the Ashington Community Allotment, learning new environmental conservation skills along the way.

Speaking about their involvement they said: "We both thoroughly enjoyed our time volunteering over the summer holidays with Groundwork.

“We took part in many fun activities that we wouldn't normally do during our time off. All of the staff was very friendly and helpful so we were more than happy to offer our time and efforts towards helping out with their projects in the community.

“However, most of all, we felt valued - which isn't always the case for young people these days. The staff took into account the ideas we came up with and made us feel like a part of their team.

“Projects such as Blooming Well gave us both the opportunity to gain experience and skills when working with lots of different people in the community. The skills we learned from our experience such as teamwork, communication and self-confidence were extremely helpful when it came to applying for jobs.

“We had lots of fun during our time at Groundwork and are hoping to get involved again this year.”