AN Acton ex-offender has won the London Young Learner of the Year award, presented by the Mayor Boris Johnson.
Lukas Kondratavicius, 17, was tagged and given 18 months probation, after a group fight on the South Acton estate nearly two year's ago.
He attended a year's YOT (Youth Offending Team) course, which included anger management, drug talks and dealing with challenging behaviour.
Since then he has worked at an Ealing holiday club and is now taking a plumbing course at college (Epping) thanks to the Young Offenders in Custody and the Community (YOCC) project run by Action Acton which helps young people turn their lives around.
Lukas was presented with a trophy and certificate by the London Mayor at City Hall with Shane Richards-Tavernier,17, an Acton finalist for Outstanding Achiever of the Year, who also took part in the YOCC project, which is funded by the Skills Funding Agency and European Social Fund. Clarissa Stoneham, project co-ordinator for YOCC, was shortlisted for Tutor of the Year.
Lukas, who during his time with Action Acton, completed three accredited courses, said: "I feel pleased to have been recognised for my effort . I enjoyed the award ceremony and was very happy to get the award. It means a lot. If it wasn’t for Clarissa or Liz or Action Acton I would not be where I am. I am proud of myself from top to bottom. I feel like I can achieve so much now I am in a good place. I feel like I am moving forward. Other young people should take opportunities when they can.’’
Clarissa Stoneham,said: "Being there at City Hall I saw first hand how important it is to recognise achievement and progress and to take part in community solutions. We said to the Mayor he was standing among the future mayors of London and he turned and looked at them and said he knows."
John Blackmore, chief executive of Action Acton said: "We are absolutely delighted with the success of the young people and our staff. The young people have shown what they can achieve and how they can make a positive contribution in the community."
The Action Acton Young offender project has worked with over 60 young offenders helping them with literacy, numeracy, further education and building qualifications as well as helping them get work experience and jobs.