Fomer troublesome teenager wins coveted Wandsworth Young Person of the Year prize


Tooting’s Rachel Penfold has turned her life around.


By SWLondoner staff

A teenage tearaway has turned her life around and won Wandsworth Young Person of the Year at a prestigious ceremony.

Rachel Penfold, from Tooting, left school with only a few GCSEs and spent much of her time hanging around the streets and drinking.

However, last October she enrolled on a Women into Construction Course, and made it on to London Youth’s Build-it pilot project, which was shown on Channel 4 earlier this month as part of The Secret Millions series.

Build-it were impressed by Rachel’s passion for the project, which saw her working with other tradespeople and young people to refurbish a house in Brixton for a family in need of a new home.

“When they said I was the Young Person of the Year I was so excited I couldn’t breathe. I was in shock, overjoyed and so, so happy. I just can’t believe it,” she said.

She was awarded a trophy, certificate and cheque for £500 at Wandsworth’s Civic Suite last week.

Recently she has been accepted on to an overseas volunteering project which will see her go to Swaziland for six weeks to teach women carpentry skills so they can earn a living.

In total, eight individuals and two groups received awards and certificates from the borough’s now-former mayor Councillor Adrian Knowles in one of his last engagements before handing over the mayoralty to Councillor Angela Graham on Thursday, May 16.

The annual award ceremony, which is organised by the Young Person of the Year trustees in conjunction with Wandsworth Council’s youth service, recognises and rewards the exceptional achievements of young people over the past 12 months.

The borough’s executive member for education and children’s services, Councillor Kathy Tracey, said: “Every year this awards ceremony shines a spotlight on some of the amazing young people who live in Wandsworth.

“Each one has faced challenges and overcome adversity or difficult circumstances in order to succeed – and I hope they can be an inspiration to other young people.

“They fully deserve their awards and if they continue working as hard as they have already I have no doubt they will go on to achieve even more great things.”

Follow us @SW_Londoner 

Related Articles