Josh’s turnaround wins him award
19 December 2014
Barking & Dagenham College student Josh Bopu, 18, from Dagenham, has been presented with the Turn Around Award as part of the London Leadership and Peace Awards held last week at City Hall
The Awards celebrate what’s great about London and are supported by London’s Mayor, Boris Johnson. The Turn Around Award is given to individuals who have displayed outstanding rehabilitation and made a significant change in their life and community.
Following the tragic death of his mother when he was young, Josh unfortunately got involved in a local gang. The result was that by the time he turned 16 he was in trouble with the law. Josh later joined Barking & Dagenham College to start getting his education back on track. However, it was something he struggled with until the College enlisted him into its risk management programme run in conjunction with the Metropolitan Police and supported by Newham Youth Offending Service. This saw Josh get the extra support he needed, which included identifying that Josh had dyslexia and providing help for this, and soon Josh’s tutors began to see a difference in his attitude and performance.
Josh is now in his third year at the College and is studying for a subsidiary diploma in sport. He has also become a mentor to other students, regularly speaking about how he has turned his life around, and how it is possible for others to do this too. He has also now gained a job at clothing company Gap, to help support himself while he studies. It’s a change that everyone in the College is delighted to see.
Nicky Gibson, head of learning support and learner resources at the College, who has been working closely with Josh since he joined the College said:
“Since we started working with Josh we’ve seen him blossom into a totally different person who is committed to getting an education and bettering himself. He’s a role model for others and he really does deserve to win this award. We’re all really proud of him and look forward to seeing him continue to go from strength to strength.”
Commenting on his win Josh said:
“I feel like a totally different person than I was just a few years ago. With the right help and support from staff at Barking & Dagenham College I’ve been able to turn my life around and I’m really pleased that I’ve been able to do this. It’s certainly not easy, but it’s definitely doable and by winning this award I hope I can inspire others to do the same.”