Teenagers from Watford have completed a series of community projects furing the school summer holidays as part of the National Citizen Service (NCS) programme.

Under the guidance of Hertfordshire County Council's Youth Connexions, 38 youngters tackled projects such as litter clearing and raising funds for a local charity, Alternatives, which offers free and unbiased advice to women; improving the Community Orchard in Cassiobury Park; painting the Harebreaks Scout hall inside and out and organising a family funday which raised more than £180 for Peace Hospice Care. 

The four-week National Citizen Service programme sees the young people choose a worthwhile community cause, plan and budget for the project, raise funds and carry out the work. 

Richard Roberts, cabinet member for children's services, said: "NCS is a great opportunity for young people to learn more about their community, enjoy a wide range of activities and opportunities and meet other young people from different backgrounds." 

As well as learning how to successfully manage a community project, the young people also took part in team building exercises, which developed their communication, trust, listening and leadership skills, and also practical training in first aid and stress management. 

Participant Raj, 16, from Watford, said: "I gained lots of new experience in four weeks." 

Fellow team member Dana, 16, also from Watford, added "I have friends I didn't have before." 

For information about the work of Youth Connexions, including NCS, visit www.youthconnexions.org