“I want to be someone who took a dream and turned it into a successful reality. It’s not just about having a job; it’s about changing lives and providing opportunities. My goal is to get young people on a level playing field. A place where they can succeed and have a stable life.”

Conroy moved into one of our supported houses in Southwest London, two years ago, after becoming homeless. He is a trained mechanic, with over 15 years of experience in the industry.

“I began by fixing bikes and then moved on to cars. I loved the mechanics of things. When I was about 12 or 13, a friend of a friend brought me into a garage. From there, I worked my way up, learning from others in the garage. I was always eager to learn and fix things, and that passion has stayed with me.

I’ve been working as a mobile mechanic, but it’s challenging, especially during the winter. Having my own garage would allow me to provide a better service. I’ve worked for others for so long and helped make their businesses successful. I decided it’s now time to focus on building my own business.”

Conroy has recently completed a six-week entrepreneurship programme that we run in partnership with Find your Feet Careers. The programme focussed on essential entrepreneurial skills and knowledge through sessions on sales and marketing, financial management, business planning, and pitching. Each session was led by a leading industry expert.

“I decided to join the entrepreneurship programme offered by Evolve as I realised, I need guidance to start my business. The programme seemed like a great opportunity for me, providing support, motivation, and an entrepreneurial qualification.

The course taught me fundamental business principles such as manging finances, digital marketing and how to effectively use social media for promotions. Importantly, it emphasised the mental resilience needed to persevere through tough times and setbacks, which was particularly useful.”

In the future, Conroy would like to have his own garage. Starting a business is challenging under any circumstances, but it becomes even more daunting when you’ve faced significant personal obstacles, such as homelessness.

“Currently, I’m saving towards getting my own garage. I already have most of the tools I need, and with an additional £5,000, I could rent a space and purchase a few more essential tools. I’ve researched potential spaces and met with landlords, and I’m confident I can succeed once I have the necessary funds. I’ve been looking into available support and funding for startups, as this would be helpful.”

Drawing on personal experience, Conroy is committed to using his garage to inspire the next generation of mechanics, especially those who may lack opportunities elsewhere.

“I’m particularly interested in helping young people who might not have other opportunities. I’ll reach out to local schools and see if they have students interested in summer jobs or vocational training in mechanical engineering. I’ll take on a few students, teach them, and prepare them for the working world. I remember how I learned the trade when I was young, and I want to provide that same practical experience to others.

Everything I’ve learned has been through hands-on experience in the garage, not from books, I want to pass that knowledge to the next generation. I have qualifications in mechanical engineering, so I understand the theory, but the practical experience is what really matters. When I put on gloves and start working, it feels completely different from sitting in an office and telling others what to do.

In five to ten years, I want people to look back and see the progress we’ve made together. It’s about building something meaningful for us all.”

Keep in touch

Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated on our work, as well as donating, fundraising, volunteering and campaigning opportunities: