Young people have been rolling up their sleeves and getting to work after being impressed by the innovative Whole Life Project at Ashford

The Whole Life Project at Ashford, near Braunton. Picture: Tony GussinThe Whole Life Project at Ashford, near Braunton. Picture: Tony Gussin

Hardworking teenagers have been helping out at a North Devon farm project with a difference.

The Whole Life project at Ashford offers people with learning disabilities or behavioural issues day care plus the chance to enjoy an enriching experience working on the smallholding and garden.

They were joined for several days by NCS Team One - the 15 to 17-year-olds on the National Citizen Service programme were keen to help out.

They moved several tonnes of gravel and cleared the entire cycle path alongside the project, that will also help those using the Tarka Trail too. Owner Matt Burridge said they were major jobs that would have taken project staff much longer.

The Whole Life Project at Ashford, near Braunton. Picture: Tony GussinThe Whole Life Project at Ashford, near Braunton. Picture: Tony Gussin

The NCS group have also raised around £300 plus awareness for the project by setting up a crowdfunding page.

Team leader Ben Mandeville said: "I think they just loved Matt and thought what he was doing here is brilliant.

"They have done amazingly well and NCS is a great CV builder. They get to volunteer and to make new friends, a lot more confidence and really good skills."

NCS is a Government sponsored summer programme designed to produce work and life skills as well as a challenge and self-confidence.

The Whole Life Project at Ashford, near Braunton. Picture: Tony GussinThe Whole Life Project at Ashford, near Braunton. Picture: Tony Gussin

Jacob Allchorn, 15 and from Barnstaple, said: "It's a great programme; it really helps boost your confidence and self-esteem, especially in the first two weeks when you are really pushed to come out of your shell."

Matt and his wife Emma set up The Whole Life Project in 2007 and in that time have worked with around 1,800 clients, typically accommodating four to eight at a time.

The little farm has its own chickens, ducks, pigs, goats, rabbits and bees, as well as growing produce, giving those who attend the chance to learn new skills.

The ultimate dream would be to expand the project to create a residential centre where people could stay, working on the farm during the day.

The Whole Life Project at Ashford, near Braunton. Picture: Tony GussinThe Whole Life Project at Ashford, near Braunton. Picture: Tony Gussin

Some September places are still available. Visit www.wholelifeproject.co.uk to find out more.

If you are aged 15-17 and want to consider an autumn NCS programme, go to www.ncsyes.co.uk

The Whole Life Project at Ashford, near Braunton. Picture: Tony GussinThe Whole Life Project at Ashford, near Braunton. Picture: Tony Gussin

The NCS Team 1 also cleared the public footpath to the Tarka Trail at Ashford. Picture: Tony GussinThe NCS Team 1 also cleared the public footpath to the Tarka Trail at Ashford. Picture: Tony Gussin