A group of ambitious teenagers, part of London South East Colleges’ Prince’s Trust Team programme (Team 22), have just completed work on an exciting project at one of London’s historic parks.
The team were approached by a representative of ID Verde (the maintenance company responsible for the upkeep of all Bromley Borough Council’s parks and green spaces) earlier in the year and asked if they would take part in an initiative to give the Crystal Palace Park Information Centre a much needed facelift and make it more visible to the public.
Working closely with local artist and member of the Friends of Crystal Palace Park David Vallade to transfer a number of his illustrations of the park’s attractions and main features, the students have created a series of murals on the walls of the information centre.
Prince’s Trust Team Leader, Jane Myles helped the students devise a scheme of work that entailed a fund-raising mission to produce cakes and handmade crafts and sell them to staff and students throughout the College. They raised over £110 to buy tools and materials for the project.
After attending the site to assess the size of the job and to talk to Community Manager Penny Read about their brief, they rolled up their sleeves and got down to the business of rubbing down the woodwork, removing flaking paint and preparing the walls for the murals.
They worked with David who helped them plan their composition and content and scale up his original drawings to fit the space. These drawings included many of the park’s historical features such as the famous dinosaur sculptures, a statue of Guy the Gorilla and the Victorian Subway on Crystal Palace Parade.
Jahdiah Morgan, 16, enrolled on to the programme in order to prepare himself for employment as a painter and decorator. He said: “Although I’ve already done an apprenticeship as a bicycle repair mechanic, I haven’t been able to find a suitable position since. I’ve also had a good think about what I’d really like to do and quite fancy working outdoors on something more creative. This has been a very interesting project and I’m going to pursue something similar at the end of the course.”
Fellow team member, Bella Martin, 17, has also found the programme very useful and has gained lots of confidence since joining in January.” She said: “I’ve tried studying at various colleges in the past but have not really enjoyed the courses very much. The Prince’s Trust Team programme is very different and gives us the opportunity to sample quite a few different tasters that are designed to give you more confidence in looking for work, preparing you for interviews and becoming more self-disciplined. It also teaches us how to work as a team, become aware of our responsibilities and build on our successes. With this particular project, I really feel like we have achieved something.”
On the final day of the project, the team were visited by Prince’s Trust Team Programme Executive David Williams. He was invited along to look at the work the students have been involved in as they added their finishing touches.
Impressed with what he came to see, David said: “I’m truly overwhelmed with what the students have achieved here. The work looks so professional and has really lifted this small building and brought it to life. I was hoping to see something good and I’ve not been disappointed.
“The Prince’s Trust Team programme has a very high positive outcome rate amongst those who complete the project. I’m told that the attendance figures for this magnificent community project have been very high and that means there’s a good chance that all of the young people I have met today will go on to do even bigger and better things over the next few years.
“I’d like to thank all of the students for making me so welcome today and to praise the amazing dedication of their tutors Jane and David. Well done to you all.”