Natalie Maiden, 19, is a clerical officer for the fire service in Birmingham. She is participating in the British Youth Council's pilot scheme William's List, which aims to get young people involved in community life.

Why don't more young people volunteer?

Where I live it isn't cool and many people just aren't aware of things like councils, committees and trustees. I certainly wasn't before I did the programme but it has given me an insight into how they work and a push to make more of an effort to get involved.

What does the programme involve? My main project involved setting up a Neighbourhood Watch. When you say that people immediately think of curtain twitchers and I wanted to get away from that. I heard of one Neighbourhood Watch group that set up a radio station so I came up with the idea of setting up a DJ workshop to build a connection with the rest of the community.

I've had to look into funding for that.

How easy is it to set up a Neighbourhood Watch? I found it hard. The police say they're keen for you to do it but they take so long to get back in touch. In the end, I found enough information on the internet to do it. When I started I asked everyone on the street to join in and hardly anyone seemed interested at first. So I found a few people who I knew would be keen. I had to show them that I'm not wasting their time.

I'm now meeting people on my street who I've never met before and I've lived here all my life.

How useful has it been? I used to be the kind of person who would sit back and not do anything. I'm more confident dealing with people now and no longer afraid to approach them.

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