In North Kent, young people give back to a local pre-school by renovating its outside play area.

Generously supported by Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust, the Investing in Rehabilitation programme is a collaboration between Kent Youth Justice, KCC Early Help and the Trust.

The aim of the collaboration is to break the cycle of reoffending by engaging young offenders in a practical project which benefits their local community.  Over four days, our young people worked with industry volunteers to renovate the outside area of the Owl Pre-School in Gravesend, laying down new Astroturf, constructing benches and making a sand pit for the children to play with.

“We could never raise the sort of funds to do this, so the benefit to our children will be fantastic. The boys have given something to us, and hopefully we can give them something back by giving them the opportunity to get these skills and be part of a project that they can see from beginning to end, and that benefits others.” – Natalie, Deputy Manager of the Owl Pre-School

Through the programme participants are given an immersive insight into the construction and built environment industry, widening their career horizons and inspiring them to take their next steps. It was a rainy few days, but despite the less than perfect conditions the young men remained focussed and worked really hard over the week, and ended up with a final result they could be proud of!

“It helps the community but it also helps young people to understand what they could be doing as a job, and also keeping them in touch with employers. Now we can give them a reference for the work that they’ve done.” – John, one of our volunteers

Staff and parents were absolutely thrilled with the finished product, and on the last day some of the children who attend the preschool came along to test out their new playground – the sandpit was a roaring success with the little ones!

We’re really proud to say that after spending only four days’ working on the renovations, one of the young participants was offered a job on the spot by one of the industry employers volunteering for the programme! The employer had been impressed by the young man’s aptitude and interest in the renovations.

Moving forward, all participants will be given careers information, advice and guidance enabling them to decide upon their best next steps. Young people interested in pursuing a career in construction and the built environment will receive long-term mentoring and intensive progression support, including CSCS card and Level 1 Health and Safety training, with the aim of achieving sustainable training or employment within the sector.