The Young Achiever of the Year award, sponsored by HomeSense, recognises the success of young people getting into employment, training or education and overcoming substantial barriers to transform their lives

Winner: Alisha Mardon

Alisha, 24, experienced a difficult childhood which led to the breakdown of relationships and behavioral issues both in and out of school.

She was deliberately confrontational in lessons, started to truant regularly, and left without any qualifications. Then Alicia found herself homeless and was forced to move into a hostel. She was anxious, depressed and lacking self-esteem. By the age of 23, she had been unemployed for seven years.

Then she joined The Prince’s Trust Get into Retail programme, in partnership with Tesco. With a can-do attitude, she was extremely helpful and respectful to customers and colleagues.

The transformation was stark. On completion of the course, Tesco offered Alisha a contract.

Alisha has turned her life around completely. She has a routine and a salary which has enabled her to move into a flat.

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Winner: Matt Dalton

Matt, 21 from Gloucester, endured a troubled childhood and was moved into foster care when he was 15. Scared to leave his room and missing his younger brother, Matt felt like he didn’t deserve a place in the world. He became engulfed with depression, self-harmed and was later diagnosed with gender identity disorder.

Hoping it would help him rebuild his confidence, social services suggested to Matt that he should join our Team programme.

Since leaving Team, Matt has been very busy. He has gained his Level 2 in Youth Work, lives independently and works as both a healthcare assistant and a child minding assistant.

He plans to complete his transition to male and study social work at university before travelling the world and setting up a business supporting young transgender people through their transition. 

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Winner: Nicola Staff

Nicola, 26, from Ruislip in Middlesex, was bullied at school and had a difficult upbringing with her parents at home. Without people recognizing it she was suffering a breakdown, and because she was so unhappy she quit her Hospitality Management course, left home and ended up living in a tent for three months. 

‎Three years later, at the age of 21, Nicola was diagnosed with lymphoma. She recovered, but suffered another breakdown. 

Her father helped her engage with a Prince's Trust programme, which saw her confidence flourish. She then joined Get into Hospitality where she gained experience in a number of different departments. 

Nicola now works full-time in the Pastry Kitchen at Grosvenor House JW Marriott Hotel in Mayfair, London and meets regularly with her Prince's Trust ‎Progression Mentor to continue to build her resilience. 

Positive, stable and with a great support network around her, Nicola finally feels in control of her life. 

She has ambitions of travelling to France to train as a pastry chef.

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Winner: Ryan Morris

Bullied for being small and expelled from school for attacking another student, Ryan 23, from Dunmurry, drank, took drugs and was often in trouble with police. He became addicted to anti-depressants after his uncle’s suicide, began dealing and started receiving death threats.

When he realised he was making his mother ill, he stopped. He got fit, bought a one-way ticket to Paris and signed up to the Foreign Legion. But after dislocating his knee during training, he was sent home.

A friend signposted him to The Prince’s Trust which led him to participate in Get Started with Outdoor Activities and then our Team programme. Shortly after Team, Ryan lost another family member to suicide, and was seriously injured in a vicious gang attack that left his friend dead. Mentally broken, Ryan went to his only refuge – the Team programme.

He has since become an inspirational Young Ambassador for The Trust.

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