Over 500 teenagers taking part in NCS (National Citizen Service), delivered by The Challenge, volunteered in Sanctuary Care homes across the country this summer, befriending older residents, helping to deliver activities, and raising funds to make improvements to their homes.

As part of the social action phase of the programme, the 15-17-year-olds helped to host a range of events from tea parties to virtual summer cruises.

Many also blossomed into green-fingered heroes by designing garden makeovers that the residents can enjoy. Along with rolling up their sleeves to get stuck in, the young volunteers also carried out all the fundraising to bring their projects to completion.

A total of more than £4,000 was raised for Sanctuary Care homes, £2,000 of which was used to transform the garden at Lake View Residential Care Home in Telford. With the money, local teenagers bought new furniture, including fences and benches to enable the residents to relax in their surroundings, and planted bright flowers.

Clare West, activities leader at Lake View, said: “We are so delighted with our new garden, the team worked so hard on the project and we are all really grateful for what they have done. Our residents love the garden, and loved having the group in the home – they have really put a smile on all our faces. Thank you team NCS!”

Through The Challenge’s partnership with Sanctuary Care homes, NCS has also been helping to bridge the gap between younger and older generations, combat loneliness and build on the links between Sanctuary Care and the homes’ local neighbourhoods.

Stefan Filby, The Challenge’s assistant programme manager, added: “Sanctuary has been an excellent partner for The Challenge, providing young people from all backgrounds with the opportunity to meet and mix with care home residents and make a real difference in their local communities.”

Sanctuary Care’s senior work programmes officer Yunus Giwa concluded: “We are so thrilled to have supported the young volunteers from NCS. The work they have carried out and the money they have raised is an amazing achievement. We are thrilled so many people took part and hope everyone found the experience rewarding and worthwhile.”

The Challenge is the largest provider of NCS on behalf of National Citizen Service Trust. If you or someone you know is interested in finding out more or signing up for the programme next summer, please visit ncsyes.co.uk