A teenage scout from Milton Keynes has helped to launch a national campaign to get more young people to volunteer.
Kayleigh Place, an 18-year-old volunteer with Milton Keynes Scouts, joined the Prince of Wales and the three main political party leaders to support Step Up To Serve.
The campaign aims to double the number of young people taking part in social action by 2020.
Kayleigh joined her local scout group at the age of 13, having previously felt powerless and having believed that it was impossible for her to make a difference in society,
Kayleigh and her scout group were encouraged to take part in a scouts-led volunteering project to build a physiotherapy garden in the grounds of Milton Keynes Hospital.
Despite the poor condition of the land they were asked to work on, they managed to turn the previously abandoned patch into an inspiring and functional space.
Appearing on national television, she spoke about spending many weekends helping to build the community garden.
Kayleigh said: “It helped with my teamwork, communication and built me up as a person.”
The group continues to maintain the garden today, making a tangible difference to all physiotherapy patients at the hospital.
Inspired by this project, Kayleigh sought opportunities to do more volunteering work and has since volunteered at Camp Can Do, a one week residential for disabled young people.
She is now an Explorer Leader in the Scout Association and is helping to give others the opportunity to volunteer as well.
Kayleigh added: “It can sometimes feel impossible for my generation to make a difference.
“I once believed that too, and it was only by volunteering through my local scout group that I discovered the positive impact that my peers and I could have on our local community.
“My time with the scouts has been a life-changing journey for me. I would encourage all young people to get involved in volunteering and to make their own journey.
“It is important to remember that there is nothing stopping us from making change.
“I have recently taken on a volunteer leadership role so I can help today’s young people get involved in making changes to their community.”