Young south-east Londoners set to build better future for themselves

Updated: 26 July 2019 at 14:36pm

A south London community has celebrated a new group of graduates of an intensive course that tested their mental toughness and offered a chance to give back to their community.

At a special ceremony held at The Green Man community space in Downham, the 16-29-year olds were praised for their achievements while gaining skills in construction and employability and having the opportunity to contribute to a community project.

The four-month course, run out of a community centre in Downham owned by social landlord Phoenix Community Housing, is a joint project between YouthBuild, Barnardo’s, Barking and Dagenham College and Phoenix.

Josh Dee, 21, said: “The course helped me to deal with my hard times and enabled me to progress. Everyone around me is like family now. I am really looking forward to starting an apprenticeship or going into employment.”

Jim Ripley, Chief Executive of Phoenix, said: “By training the young people of our community to build the future homes needed by our community is something we’re very proud to support. These are opportunities that might not otherwise exist and we’re working with our brilliant partners to make that difference and build our future. Well done, team!”

Over 16 weeks, the graduates completed a mental toughness course, learned from classroom and on-site experiences, employer talks and team building challenges – all of which are designed to equip the leavers with the skills to gain an apprenticeship or job that could see them earn a very competitive salary in the booming construction industry.

The team constructed a new room in the centre, cleared overgrown space and plans to make further improvements for the community.

Phoenix supports the course out of the Meadows Community Centre as part of its Roots into Work programme. Last year, Phoenix helped 29 people into employment and offered more than 400 training places covering areas including digital skills, customer service and food safety for those considering a career in hospitality.

The next course in construction skills will begin on Tuesday 10 September. People interested in taking part can register their interest by visiting Phoenix’s weekly Job Club, every Tuesday at 10am-1pm at The Green Man, 355 Bromley Road SE6 2RP. They can also contact