Croydon’s Youth Offending Service (YOS) worked with Wandle Arts Regeneration Programme to create a three-metre totem pole which has just been placed in Wandle Park.
The service’s reparation programme championed the message of the council’s Choose Your Future campaign, which aims to encourage young people to make positive choices.
The YOS secured Heritage Lottery Funding engaged 12 young people, aged 11-18, in an ambitious clay works ceramic arts project that reflected the park’s flora, fauna and wildlife.
The totem pole – which is located close to the play area – includes frogs, newts, foxes, the heron and owl that is frequently heard around the park at night.
Interim director of early help and children’s social care, Philip Segurola, said: “The project’s aim was to build up the young people’s self-esteem, and to provide them with positive diversionary activities.
“It helped to teach them that they can contribute to their community in a positive way, while also learning new skills.
“Throughout the project they focused on their ability to plan, improve their focus and problem solving. Many who have previously disengaged with education and training gained a new found confidence to re-engage once the programme was completed.”