Young people from Dacorum demonstrate their community spirit during their summer holidays with Hertfordshire County Council’s youth service, YC Hertfordshire

03 September 2018

206 young people from Hemel Hempstead and surrounding areas are taking part in this summer’s National Citizen Service (NCS) programme, equipping them with the vital skills and confidence needed as they approach adulthood.

The 16- and 17-year-olds completed a week at Pikes Pool outdoor activity centre, followed by a further week’s residential stay.

During these two weeks, the young people learnt key skills including communication and listening skills, leadership, negotiation, and decision-making.


The young people took part in discussions on a range of subjects including mental health, careers, living independently and homelessness.

They also completed First Aid training and a Deaf Awareness course which taught them basic sign language.

The final part of the programme saw the young people split into groups to plan and implement a social action project, giving the opportunity to really make an impact in their local community.

The groups identified a range of local community organisations which would benefit from their help. These included:

  • Painting a mural and cleaning the outside of Bennetts End Community Centre
  • Organising games and activities at Dacorum Day Centre for adults with learning disabilities.
  • Helping out at the Two Oaks Pony Sanctuary for the day. Completing tasks such as mucking out geese, chicken, pig and goat pens and helping with feeding times and learning about farm livestock.
  • Organising activities for elderly people at the Mount Baton Lodge in Hemel Hempstead. Residents enjoyed a music performance and quiz and young people helped out with meal times and organised an afternoon tea with homemade cakes and scones. They had received a donation from Tesco supermarket to purchase the ingredients.
  • A gardening project at Friars Mead Care Home which included cutting back foliage and painting fences and benches. The project, which was well received by residents and staff alike at Friars Mead has provided those living there and their visitors with an improved space for relaxing in the garden.
  • Refurbishing a terraced outside space at Hemel Hempstead hospital from the 70th anniversary of the NHS. The group were very resourceful, gaining support from B & Q which donated more than 50 plants and borrowed the necessary gardening equipment from parents to make a real difference to the outside area which was on three levels. In addition to planting flower beds, the young people weeded the whole space and removed over 40 bags of garden waste before celebrating their contribution to the NHS by baking cakes which were well received by hard working staff in the hospital.
  • Another group developed a short video resource which focused on their learning around barriers and stigma deaf people can face in everyday life. In addition, the video also provided practical skills for young people in terms of basic knowledge of British Sign Language. The video will be used as an online resource for young people and will be available to youth projects to promote deaf awareness and inclusion.
  • Young people raised awareness in Hemel town centre for the Air Ambulance Service, the OLLIE Foundation, Cancer Research and Deaf Awareness. Alongside this they organised a tea party for the elderly at Mountbatten Lodge, LD adults at Jarman Centre providing an afternoons entertainment with afternoon tea.
  • The Grovehill underpass was refurbished by one group of young people, by painting an extensive mural as part of the DBC community action day.
  • The underpass was once a space covered in graffiti and mess and now has a positive and motivating mural to uplift the local community.
  • Another group organised donations to Dens Food Bank, which involved manning a stand at Sainsbury’s to receive donations of food and delivering to the DENS project.
  • A seating area was created at The Open Door in the communal gardens, which included redecoration of of the exhibition space. The young people also organised a pop up café whilst putting on an exhibition of photographs and art.
  • NCS Awareness Rocks were created for a Twitter campaign, raising awareness of organisations that offer support to young people facing issues and barriers.
  • The rocks are painted by young people with the information recorded on the side and are placed in local communities for young people to find.


“A lot of young people don’t think they can make a difference. But seeing the NCS students give up their time over two days in our hospital grounds was fantastic. They took the opportunity to clean, tidy, weed and plant in our terraced garden for the elderly, which was brilliant. This surely proves that they have the power in their own simple ways to change the world.” Janice Senior Sister-Ward Manager Hemel Hempstead hospital.

“The young people were a great help with supporting our residents and the music was greatly received by all. Big thanks to the bakers who made wonderful scones that went down a treat. They are welcome back anytime.” (Mount Batton lodge support worker)

“The young people took to their tasks really well and were not afraid to muck in and get their hands dirty. It was a pleasure to have them here for two days” (Carol, Two Oaks Pony Sanctuary)

“They were great with our service users; they had planned a musical and dance along which a lot of people thoroughly enjoyed. What a great bunch of young people, thanks from all at the day centre.” (Dacorum Day Centre Support Worker)

The young people were also enthusiastic about the contribution they had made:

 “It has challenged me to try new things and overcome challenges.”

“It’s the best thing I have ever done.”

For more information about YC Hertfordshire please visit