On 7th November 2016, we celebrated in style at the Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre in the East of England for The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & HomeSense Celebrate Success Awards.           

Each young person who has been nominated for Celebrate Success has a unique story. Be inspired by our East of England Celebrate Success finalists. 

Young Achiever of the Year

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

Finalist: Jared Kirby 

Jared’s dad left when he was young and difficult relationships at home saw him placed in care. Jared spent little time at school and was bullied. 

His life spiralled into offending, truanting, and taking drugs. He was excluded from school, moved from home to home and ended up in a hostel. 

The turning point came when Jared was sent to prison, where he witnessed the stabbing of one of his friends and realised he had to change his lifestyle. When Jared signed up to The Prince’s Trust Get into Hospitality programme his life turned around. He showed great flair for customer service and at the end of the course he was offered a job. With this new direction in his life he managed to get himself off the drugs and has since started qualifications to become a personal trainer.

Finalist: Richard Priss

As a child Richard lost focus at school and fell under negative influences. Expelled at 14 for fighting, Richard left school with no qualifications and when he was 16 he became homeless. 

Keen to make a fresh start, in 2009 he moved to Norwich with his partner to escape London gang culture. Not long after, Richard’s first child was born and a few years later, he had a second child. With a family to support, he was desperate to turn his life around. It was then that he found The Prince’s Trust Get into Construction programme.

He learned practical skills including bricklaying, concrete finishes and drainage at construction firm Batemans. They were so impressed with his dedication and passion that Richard was offered a permanent job with the company – his first ever since he left school nine years previously.

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Young Ambassador of the Year

The Young Ambassador of the Year award, presented by Lisa Flux, recognises young people who are exceptional Young Ambassadors for The Trust. These young people volunteer their time to share their personal experiences and inspire others.

Winner: Jordan Smith

Born very prematurely, Jordan has cerebral palsy, with associated physical impairments and mild learning difficulties. He was bullied from an early age at school and his mental health suffered badly. 

At college, Jordan found he had sporting potential and after much hard work was selected for the England Cerebral Palsy Football Team, winning 19 caps and making the Paralympics GB Cerebral Palsy football squads. However, he was left unemployed and the impact of this on his mental health triggered thoughts of suicide. He enrolled onto The Prince’s Trust Get into Sport programme, which really boosted his confidence and self-worth.

Made redundant in 2012, Jordan joined the Enterprise programme and set up Disability4Sport providing sporting opportunities and activities to engage and empower disabled people in his local community and beyond. He has since secured employment, working with a company who offer life skills to people with learning disabilities and complex needs. 

He is a committed Young Ambassador, attending many events, even at short notice, which can often mean a lot of travelling and time away from home. 

Finalist: Deivydas Andriuskevicius

Despite excelling at sport and playing football at semi-professional level in his native Lithuania, Deivydas missed out on the grades he needed to follow his dream of becoming a PE teacher. Feeling lost and directionless, he turned to his mum, who suggested he join her in England to see what opportunities lay there. 

With no friends in this country, no job and nothing to look forward to, he could speak no English and became de-motivated. He applied for many jobs, but would hear nothing back and he became frustrated and felt hopeless. He was desperate for someone to give him the opportunity to show what he had to offer. 

In 2013 his life changed when he joined The Prince’s Trust Get Started with Football programme, run with Norwich City Football Foundation. The Trust continued to support him with applications and interview preparation and eventually Deivydas secured a streetlight engineer apprenticeship with Amey. 

Finalist: Samantha Kerr 

Sam’s life had ground to a halt and was going nowhere. She had no job, no confidence and her mental health was suffering, leading to anxiety and depression. Then she suffered several bereavements in a short space of time, including the death of her boyfriend, who was killed in a motorbike accident. Sam hit rock bottom and developed severe depression.

In her despair, Sam knew she needed support. One day, she was hanging around in town aimlessly with her friends, when someone from The Prince’s Trust approached them and explained what support from the youth charity could help them achieve. Sam realised that was exactly what she needed. 

She enrolled on the Team programme. The help and support she received from The Trust helped her overcome a lot of the main triggers of her anxiety and depression and has, she says, completely changed her life. 

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Enterprise Award

The Enterprise Award, sponsored by NatWest, recognises young people who have overcome barriers and achieved success in creating a sustainable business or a community or social enterprise.

Winner: Gracie Wright

Gracie had a happy childhood, growing up with a loving and supportive family. However when she was 11 years old she was hit by a car in a near-fatal accident and was left with a severe brain injury. 

Gracie experienced post-trauma amnesia and had to begin building back her memories, re-establishing relationships and learning to read and write again. Though outwardly happy, she was bullied at school and experienced severe depression and confusion as a teenager, leading to more than one attempt to take her own life.

Later she began working as a nanny she found she was helping children and families overcome issues which she understood so well and she began writing children’s picture books. Gracie turned to The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme for help, where she was connected with a mentor and she “suddenly felt free and was able to discuss my ideas with professionals”.
She now writes children’s picture books, runs workshops and holiday camps for children, promoting positive thinking and encouraging children to overcome their barriers.

Finalist: Suzanne Elliot 

When her husband took his own life in 2012, Suzanne was left to bring up two small children by herself. Shortly after this tragedy, her mum was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and she found herself caring for her until she died in 2014.

Despite the devastating losses, Suzanne had to support herself and her two children, and found work in a local shop. With her family commitments she realised that working for herself would be more practical and she started to think of running her own business.

After enrolling on The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, she began to explore the possibility of starting her own wedding dress shop. The course gave her the opportunity to learn all about setting up a business. Suzanne was doing additional cleaning for people at the time and decided to turn that into a business and so Wicked Cleans was born. 

Finalist: Lucy Dawson

From the age of 11 Lucy was bullied at school, resulting in her not wanting to leave her house and missing school. Lucy lacked confidence and was very nervous in the company of people she didn’t know. When she was 14 she took a hairdressing course and began working part-time in a local salon.

When she was asked to return to the salon and the owner retired, Lucy realised that this was her chance to own her own salon.
She enrolled on The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme and, after a loan and business advice from her mentor, finally took possession of the salon, which she renovated and named Goldilocks Salon. 

Lucy is now a very confident young business woman, who has a full book of customers every week, makes above average profits and one day aims to open a second salon.

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Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award, sponsored by The Luxaviation Group, recognises young people who, despite having faced substantial personal obstacles, are in sustainable employment as a result of a Prince’s Trust programme.

Winner: Bradley Bebbington

After an unstable childhood, Bradley fell out with his family and left home. With no money, Bradley spent most of his nights wandering the streets until the morning, waiting for the occasional time a friend could offer him a sofa to sleep on.

A promised job didn’t materialise and it was then that Bradley took part in The Prince’s Trust Make Your Mark programme, delivered by Marks & Spencer.

Slowly, he began to believe in himself again and his confidence grew.  He always had a smile on his face and took everything in his stride.

Bradley built up his knowledge of the retail sector and gained skills to qualify him for employment.  His determination to succeed shone through and he was offered a temporary contract with Marks & Spencer as soon as he finished the course.
The programme enabled Bradley to learn to be independent. He has flourished with the company and is now a full-time, permanent member of staff.

Finalist: Charlie MacDonald 

Before The Prince’s Trust, Charlie’s life revolved around drugs, and acquired a reputation for being aggressive. School was irrelevant to him and he left without any qualifications.

There was no one in Charlie’s life to show him the path he was on was self-destructive. When Charlie moved in with his Nan, he became depressed and introverted and his future looked bleak.

At the Job Centre Charlie found The Trust’s Make Your Mark programme, delivered by Marks & Spencer. Still experiencing anxiety and depression, he embarked on the programme and began learning team skills along with basic training and made new friends.
He was one of the top participants and was offered a three month contract with Marks & Spencer, before being offered a permanent contract and going on to receive awards within the company. 

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Community Impact Award

The Community Impact Award, sponsored by BGL Group, recognises the positive contribution young people make to their local community.

Winner: Team 26 Mental Health & Young People

Every member of Team 26 struggled with mental health barriers before they found The Prince’s Trust Team programme, in many cases experiencing bullying which led to depression and anxiety.

So for their community project they knew they wanted to create a video to highlight the terrible impact bullying can have. Together they worked out what the film should look like and where it would be distributed. 

They busked in town, held cake sales and washed cars to raise nearly £300 for essential equipment. They pushed themselves out of their comfort zones as they had to perform in town and approach the public. 

They all took part in the filming and were keen to include each young person’s story. They grew in confidence, learned new practical skills and have developed the self-belief that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to.

Finalist: Team 14 Thurrock Lifestyle Solution

All members of Team 14 had experienced barriers to employment, from low self-esteem and confidence to homelessness, and had been directed to the Team programme to support them in turning their lives around.

As part of The Prince’s Trust Team programme, the team chose to redecorate a community kitchen and dining area used by adults with special needs. They researched how to decorate and refurbish a kitchen and the full team completed an NVQ in decorating and raised £600 to get the materials they needed for the project.

As the project progressed, the team developed their teamwork and communication and learnt about planning and budgeting. 
They set about redecorating, cleaning, sanding and replacing wood surrounds, made a mural on the wall, painted the kitchen, dining room and hallway and went over and above the original plan by redecorating the foyer and outside to make it more welcoming. 

Finalist: Team 24 Salvation Army Project

Influenced by their own experiences staying in hostels, Team 24 wanted to renovate the outside space at the Salvation Army Hostel, where some of the group had themselves spent time. 

The group, all taking part in The Prince’s Trust Team programme, raised £650 for materials for the project through a football challenge, charity car wash event and cake sale. 

The area at the hostel was disused, run down and dirty. In just five days the team had transformed it. They redeveloped an old greenhouse, planted vegetables and flowers, concreted a space to store bikes, sanded, repainted and varnished outdoor furniture and painted colourful murals to add light and vibrancy to the area, installing solar lights and a brand new barbeque.
The residents greatly appreciated it and the sense of achievement for the Team was huge as they could see the difference they had made in the lives of those living at the hostel.

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Breakthrough Award

The Breakthrough Award, sponsored by HSBC, recognises the progress of young people in overcoming barriers and developing new skills.

Winner: Jamie-Leigh Rockett 

Through a challenging childhood, Jamie struggled to achieve her full potential. Jamie, 19, from Watford, had the feeling of the isolation and became a different person than the one she had planned to be. Then she contracted viral meningitis, leaving her partially deaf. 

Following this terrifying ordeal, Jamie was supported by a Christian group and one of their members invited her to join The Prince’s Trust Team programme. After some initial scepticism, Jamie decided that doing something that gave her purpose was the push she needed.

Jamie says she is now ready to face the world again, a new person equipped to fight her own battles, live her own life and live it well. She’s been accepted by Bedfordshire University to study for a degree in social work, despite being three years younger than the age they specify.

Finalist: Jermaine Lewis-Phillips

At 16, Jermaine, now 22, from Lowestoft, was homeless and struggling to find basic shelter to escape the streets. When he couldn’t sleep on a friend’s sofa, he would break into someone’s shed for the night. He felt as if there were no point in getting up the next day.

He was heavily involved with alcohol and drugs which helped insulate him from the realities of his situation. When a test revealed that his liver function was significantly impaired and was at risk of irreparable damage, the YMCA arranged counselling and he was clean in three months.

At this point in his journey Jermaine discovered The Prince’s Trust. He embraced the Team programme, building self-confidence, a sense of belonging and a positive motivation to get out of bed. The Trust’s investment and his own hard work whilst with Talent Match created a partnership which truly transformed Jermaine’s life.

Finalist: Rochelle Thomas 

Growing up, Rochelle, 23, from Enfield, experienced continual physical and emotional abuse. Constant moves from one foster home to another and, later, to a secure unit meant she knew no stability in her young life and learned to distrust the adults there to care for her.

It took a prison sentence for Rochelle to reflect on what was happening to her and to realise that she had to get control over her life. 

On release she enrolled on The Prince’s Trust Team programme and gave it her all. Attending every day, she never gave up on any task and supported other young people in what was an intensive and challenging experience for a young woman not accustomed to structure. 

Whilst still volunteering as a Fire Cadet, Rochelle is currently taking a training course which leads to employment with Transport for London. She is determined to pursue her goal of helping young people like herself change their lives. 

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Educational Achiever of the Year

The Educational Achiever of the Year award, sponsored by Total Car Parks, recognises young people who have overcome barriers, developed new skills and improved their education prospects.

Winner: Jake Curston

With a diagnosis of Tourette’s Syndrome and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Jake, 17, from Hemel Hempstead, struggled to cope with overwhelming behaviour and anger difficulties.  Having spent most of Year 9 in isolation, Jake was excluded from school and placed at Dacorum Educational Support Centre.

It was there that Jake joined The Prince’s Trust xl programme (now known as Achieve). At first, he clashed constantly with other young people and became frustrated when he didn’t know how to handle situations.  The programme taught him to listen and gave him strategies to control his temper. The teamwork gave him responsibility.

Jake learned self-management and developed excellent social skills.  He became involved with Riding for the Disabled and now volunteers every Saturday to help with this.  Jake’s academic work is now of a very high standard and he is on course to achieve eight GCSEs and to go on to college and take a sports coach diploma. 

Finalist: Scott Seabrook

Scott found mainstream school bewildering and daunting and he struggled academically, socially and emotionally. 
He felt defeated by all the demands placed on him, travelling to a new place, adjusting to the size of the school and interacting with so many unfamiliar people. This contributed to behavioural issues, while Scott also lacked self-belief.

Excluded from school, Scott was sent to Chessbrook Educational Support Centre in Watford where he was referred to The Prince’s Trust xl programme (now known as Achieve). Here, Scott learned how to complete tasks independently and to work effectively as part of a team. He was involved in community projects, including working on a communal garden.

His social and emotional development means he is unrecognisable from the Scott who started the programme. Gardening has become his passion and he has started work experience with a landscape gardening firm which will lead to an apprenticeship and a career.

Finalist: Lauren Woodrow

Lauren experienced overwhelming difficulty with every aspect of school. Socially isolated and unable to relate to her peers, she was constantly in trouble. She wasn't achieving in any area and her prospects were bleak. Her behaviour became extremely challenging and her self-esteem was so low she didn't want to engage with anything. 

She had lost all motivation towards schoolwork because she found it all so difficult. Through The Prince's Trust xl programme (now known as Achieve), Lauren gradually relaxed and became sufficiently confident to express her ideas and the rest of the group came to value her contribution. 

Lauren's behaviour improved immeasurably and the quality of her academic work relfetcs the effort she now puts into everything she does. It gave her the confidence to apply to Great Yarmouth College where she will study performing arts and those same peers she found it impossible to relate to have now became a group of good friends. 

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