A dozen young people aged 16-17 spent last week updating Allexton Day Nursery in Leicester’s West End.

The group are part of the National Citizen Service, a programme which gives young people the chance to give something back to their community.

The group of 12 spent a week raising more than £150 by organising car washes and cake sales, using the proceeds to buy paint to decorate, plants for the garden and materials for a sensory wall.

One of the volunteers, Kate said; "It's a really positive feeling, doing such a good deed for other people."

"Some of the children who attend the nursery are blind, so we thought it would be nice to create a sensory wall for them to touch.”

"We covered the wall in Lego blocks, pebbles and zips."

Getting creative

Decorating two rooms within the nursery, including a rundown bathroom, the young volunteers then went on to the garden where they planted plants and created child friendly flower beds with bark.

Some of those with more artistic tendencies drew Disney characters on the walls.

"For us, it was about giving the children a better childhood," said Katie. "It was great to see them getting so excited about what we've done."

Tammy Hill, one of the managers, said everyone was grateful for what the students had done.

"It's a really good programme and so fantastic for us,"

"The group have all got stuck in and they all seem so happy to be doing it for us."

"Half of the children who come to the nursery live in flats so they don't have their own gardens to go home to”.

"The group has given them more than just a garden; it's a place to play.”

"It's given them opportunities they wouldn't have usually got."

Over the summer, the National Citizen Service programme welcomed 800 people in Leicestershire to take part in different activities.

Mentor of Katie's group, David McDonald, said: "It's been fantastic seeing how the students have applied themselves. They have all bonded and completely taken to the project."

How important is it to get local communities and youths to get involved with local programmes such as this? 

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