COMMUNITY spirit is alive and well among groups of teenagers who spent part of their summer doing community projects in their local area.
More than 150 young people aged 16 and 17 across West Sussex have been taking part in projects, including giving a community building a new lick of paint and fundraising for charity.
It is part of the four-week National Citizen Service (NCS) scheme, delivered by West Sussex County Council’s youth support and development service.
The NCS scheme was set up by the government to help young people develop leadership and citizenship skills for work and for life.
Two Chichester groups took part in the challenge which involved a week of activities, a week of camping, and one of planning a fundraiser, which they carried out in the fourth week.
One of the Chichester groups decided to raise money for Chestnut Tree House and the Chichester Boys’ Club, by putting on an indoor market, and a fundraising day at West Wittering beach. They raised around £600 and gave a helping hand by painting the rooms in the Boys’ Club.
Josh Elms, 16, from Hunston, said: “I heard about it through someone I was working with. He just made it sound like something really good. And it’s instead of staying in with my Xbox all summer. I’ve met some really good people.”
Josh is starting college in September to study drama.
“It is a really good experience, it definitely makes me feel really good being part of a big fundraiser for two really good charities.
“I’ve got more confidence. I have met quite a few people and got to know them all quite quickly. I’m really glad I did it and wouldn’t have missed it for the world.”
Liv Wright, 16, from East Wittering, said: “I heard about it at school, St Philip Howard. Most of my year signed up. It has been really, really good. I did not know anyone. We went away for PGL which was really good, We all got to try out new things.
“We went camping, that was good as well as it was more relaxed. It gave us time to get to know eachother.”
Liv will be going to college to study public services in September, with a view to joining the army when she is 18.
Carlton Long, the team leader of the NCS in Chichester, said:: “It is to get them working together. It’s been absolutely brilliant.”
Another group in Chichester raised more than £300 for the Apuldram Centre and Women vs Cancer, by putting on a fun day at New Park recreation ground in Chichester.
Tom Manning, who ran the group, said: “They did really well as a group. They had the presence of somebody from the fire service, a bouncy castle, Apuldram themselves were there selling cakes, and they had face-painting, a raffle, a tombola. It was a great day.”
Peter Evans, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for children, said: “These young people should feel really proud of what they have achieved. They have been on a four-week journey together where they have learnt more about themselves, met new friends and learnt practical and personal skills such as teamworking, budget management, gardening and bricklaying.
“They have overcome fears and taken on new challenges throughout the four-week programme and grown as individuals as well as a team.”