Christmas trees offer step into working life for Queen’s Park youths

Most people will think of a Christmas tree as a festive decoration, but for six teenagers these trees have helped provide some much-needed work experience.

The 18 to 19-year-olds, who have struggled to find work, are selling the trees at St Luke’s Church in Queen’s Park as part of a project in partnership with the church’s vicar, getting vital experience including face-to-face customer service.

Labour councillor Barrie Taylor, for Queen’s Park ward, developed the project at the church on the corner of Fernhead Road and Kilburn Lane.

It has proved so popular that Cllr Taylor has had to create a reserve list for young people wanting to get involved.

He said: “There are positive benefits on a number of levels: real work experience with pay, National Insurance and a reference on their CV from their employer. They’ll also get money to use.”

The trees, which come from Denmark and Scotland, are supplied by Trees For Christmas, which also donated a 15ft-tall tree and lights to the church.

Cllr Taylor added: “We think it’s very unique. It’s not only a commercial exercise but also a social exercise showing you can get the private sector, as well as the Church, to invest in local people.”