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Josh’s Story: Transforming the community

Growing up in Croydon, Josh never dreamed he would one day help to design and construct a community garden at the heart of his neighbourhood.

The 17-year-old and a small group of others spent 10 weeks hard at work at Salvation Army in Thornton Heath, redeveloping a previously unused garden and creating a safe space for children and families to enjoy.

Josh left school without any qualifications and joined Palace for Life’s Premier League Works programme to help him find a focus and take steps towards a career. As a result of his hard work, outgoing character and willingness to help others, Josh secured an apprenticeship in construction with Engie.

“There are no words to explain how I feel, I’ve accomplished something that I couldn’t do a year ago and I’ve come so far, everyone has helped me so much. I feel so proud to know that I did this, I can’t stop smiling.”

- Josh

Palace for Life partnered with energy service provider Engie to provide the group with hands on construction training and qualifications.

Alan Beech, Community Impact Manager at Engie explained: “We supported the young people with all of the construction work involved, teaching them and showing them the different skills they needed. It was a real pleasure to work with Josh and the others and see the commitment they had from the start and watch them grow.”  

Salvation Army Minister at Thornton Heath Laura Wood added: “We’ve wanted to do something with this space for so long, a lot of the families we work with don’t have garden space, so to be able to offer that to them and give children a place to run around and get some fresh air is just amazing. We’re now excited about what else we can do here in the future!”

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