On 3rd November 2016, we celebrated in style at St George's Hall in Liverpool 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 North West 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.

Winner: Shannon Yearsley

Shannon, 22 from Middlewich, Cheshire, had a troubled home life. She became plagued by anxiety and developed OCD and began harming herself. 

A counsellor helped her to learn some coping mechanisms, but Shannon developed an eating disorder, starving herself and causing her weight to plummet. 

Shannon blossomed during the Team programme, particularly on the residential. She challenged herself to tackle new activities, found her voice, made new friends, and started eating. Shannon also proved to be a great listener and a competent leader who was unafraid of the spotlight. 

By the end of the programme, she had completed a work placement at a local counselling service and spoke confidently to an audience of more than 100 people. 

It is hard to believe what Shannon has had to overcome, but she is determined to make the most of every opportunity and now has a promising career in communications.

Finalist: Richard Cantilon

Shortly after losing his father, Richard, 25, from Huyton, Liverpool, went into care. He was 14, and a year later he became a father. He wanted to give his baby a good life, but anger and risk-taking led him down a dangerous path, costing him his home, also earning himself a criminal record.

He was awaiting the court hearing for his third prison sentence when his hostel told him about The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme.

Richard committed to Fairbridge; he was a natural leader and a positive role model, mentoring others voluntarily and often explaining to the younger group members how he wished he had done things differently.
When Richard’s court appearance finally arrived, the judge made a surprise ruling and gave him a fresh start in light of his efforts to change his life through Fairbridge.

Richard now co-runs his own business - Superb Car Wash - and always calls The Trust when a vacancy arises, hoping to give another young person a chance, just like The Trust gave to him.

Finalist: Jade Riley

Difficulties at home saw Jade, 19, from Birkenhead, Wirral, look after her four younger siblings. She moved in with her nan when her youngest sisters were taken into care and became a mother at 14. She was then transferred to an alternative education unit and started living in supported accommodation with her son when she was 16.

Jade began studying her Level 2 Health and Social Care. Struggling to fit the work around her son’s nursery hours and unable to complete it at home because she couldn’t afford a computer, Jade worried she would fail her course. 

Her learning mentor helped Jade apply for a £200 Development Award, which she used to buy a laptop. Jade completed her course and plans to study her Level 3 whilst working as an apprentice. She volunteers at her old supported accommodation, and hopes for a career helping people with substance addictions. 

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Young Ambassador of the Year

The Young Ambassador of the Year award, sponsored by BAE Systems, 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: Laura Tombs

Laura, 26, living in Burnley, Lancashire, was 12 when someone started emotionally and sexually abusing her; by 14, she was suffering with depression, and started self-harming. She developed an eating disorder and, aged 16, was raped by a stranger. 

She attempted suicide, dropped out of university, and spent the next two years in eating disorder clinics and acute psychiatric wards. She was sectioned twice, and when her heart started to fail, she was given a week to live. 

Somehow, she survived. 

During her recovery, Laura heard about the Team programme and decided to give it a go. She loved it and went on to complete Fairbridge and two different Get Started courses.

Keen to give something back to the organisation she credits with changing her life, she became a Young Ambassador, helping to secure £2.2 million in donations.

Laura is the epitome of a role model.

Finalist: Antony Strode

Antony, 32, from Liverpool couldn’t hold down a job and became involved in drugs; but it wasn’t until he agreed to set up a cannabis farm to earn cash that he realised he needed to change. 

He returned the equipment before any growing began and rethought his future. He enrolled on Enterprise and set up Sefton Roofing, a prosperous glass fibre flat roofing firm that now counts Everton Football Club and Spire Hospitals as some of its clients.

Keen to give something back to The Trust, Anthony became an inspirational speaker and a valued Young Ambassador.

Reliable and always willing, Antony spoke at numerous events across the country on behalf of The Trust. He became a role model for other Young Ambassadors and grabbed every opportunity to put his past behind him, striving to better his life and the lives of others. 

Finalist: Lauren Walsh

Lauren, 22, from Kirkham, Lancashire had harboured ambitions of studying at Oxford, but was gang raped on holiday and became consumed by the trauma. Drink and drugs became her comfort, and she ended up selling medication prescribed for her depression to buy drugs that would give her a high.

A friend suggested she went on the Team programme, where her life changed completely: she left happy and in good mental health.

Grateful for The Trust’s support, Lauren became a Young Ambassador, travelling to events across the country and digging deep into her personal challenges to reinforce how far she has come. In doing so, she has helped raise thousands of pounds for The Trust. 

Lauren now works in event management and volunteers as an outreach supporter for sex workers and the homeless. 

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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: Andrew Cousins 

Andrew, 31 from Liverpool, struggled academically. He found work after dropping out of college, but put so much into it he burned out, and after several months of unemployment, he grew increasingly despondent.

Something made him think about self-employment, which prompted him to sign up for Enterprise.

Supported by The Prince’s Trust, Andrew founded Tile Fire, a specialist ceramic tile manufacturer that creates one-off tile designs. Working long hours on a very small budget, Andrew overcame his fear of rejection to pitch his tiles to potential clients, and forged partnerships with local upcoming artists to design unique tile patterns. 

Fast forward three years and Tile Fire is flying. It enjoys a turnover of £50,000, has won awards for its customer satisfaction, and receives commissions from luxury brands. It has also been invited to partner with a major tile company.

Finalist: Phil McNally

Music-lover Philip, 30 from Blackburn, faced huge barriers to learning because of his acute severe dyslexia, and worried that his lack of academic qualifications would prevent him from finding a fulfilling career. 

He secured work in music retail, but when it ended he was stuck with no income and no prospects. Then came his eureka moment – he wanted to set up a music business that could help people therapeutically and developmentally. 

He enrolled on Enterprise and, supported by a £4,000 loan, a £750 grant, a business mentor and a specialist marketing mentor - founded McNally Music Tuition, an affordable music tuition business. 

Working freelance initially, Philip reinvested his earnings into his business and within nine months had 80 clients on his books, and employed eight music teachers and a general manager. 

Today, McNally Music Tuition continues to grow; Philip has also started supporting adults with learning disabilities, and hopes to partner with The Trust on Get Started with Music.

Finalist: David Segar 

Former marine David, 28, Prescot, Merseyside was a proud father of one when a friend persuaded him to ‎look after a large quantity of drugs; it was a decision that cost him his job, his home, and the first years of his daughter’s life. He ended up in prison worrying about his young family’s future.

Short contract jobs helped David make ends meet when he was released but when his wife fell pregnant again, he needed something more concrete and enrolled on Enterprise hoping to establish his own fencing business.

After writing a strong business plan and securing several letters of intent from companies wishing to engage in business with him, David was awarded Prince’s Trust funding and ongoing mentor support to set up Prescot Fencing and worked seven days a week to build his reputation.

Life has changed irreversibly for the better for David: he now employs two staff and has a solid business he can rely on to support his growing family.

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Rising Star Award

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

Winner: Corie MacKay 

Corie, 21, from Northwich, Cheshire, struggled with his dyspraxia. Against the odds, he made it through school and college, where he studied IT.  

It wasn’t until university that he realised he had trouble coping with unfamiliar social situations. He failed his exams and re-sits, and was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome

Worried he would become depressed, his mother convinced him to try the Team programme.

Full of stories about the activities he had taken part in, Corie returned a different man. 

His true turning point however, was when he spoke to employees at Barclays Technology Centre. He made such a strong impression on them, they offered him a work placement. 

Team truly was a transformational time for Corie. He is now in the second year of an apprenticeship with Barclays and is on track for promotion.

Finalist: Thomas Fox

Thomas, 27, from Cheadle, faced hardships at home, disengaged with school aged 11, and at one point didn’t attend for an entire year.

He secured work at a factory and was quickly promoted but four years later, Tom had changed. He was overweight, had lost his confidence and motivation, and eventually he lost his job.

He heard about The Prince’s Trust Team programme at his Jobcentre Plus and quickly proved himself as a leader. During week three of the programme, an opportunity came that was too good to miss. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service was recruiting for the first time in eight years.

Tom immediately registered his interest, focused on building his confidence and employability skills through Team and spent every spare minute preparing himself for the Fire and Rescue’s interview and training process. When the time came, Tom aced the interview and has since qualified as a fire fighter. He hopes to progress to Crew Manager and would like to mentor young people supported by The Trust.

Finalist: Frazer Rogers

Frazer, 27, from Blackpool, left school with few GCSEs but with a hunger to find work. Several years later, when the job he had came to an end, he was left out of pocket, with a family to support. 

Too old to get an apprenticeship, Frazer thought any chance of a proper career had passed him by and, for the first time in his life, he signed on to get Jobseeker’s Allowance. He hunted for jobs and courses online and came across Get into Admin with BAE Systems.

Despite living far away, Frazer was committed to the course. He was thoughtful, diligent and good humoured, made a strong impression on staff and ably turned his hand to everything from copywriting to spreadsheet modelling. 

He beat strong internal competition to secure a job at BAE Systems, where he now works as an HR Information Services Professional. Thrilled to take home a regular wage, he says he can now give his wife and children the life they deserve. 

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Community Impact Award

The Community Impact Award, sponsored by Fire and Rescue Service, recognises the positive contribution young people make to their local community.

Winner: Chester Team 76

Nine unemployed young people aged 16-23, from Chester came together to make a poignant film about the real life story of a young person’s involvement with substance misuse. 

Keen for to get it right but uncertain where to start, participants on the Team programme met with officials at the Fire Safety Centre in Lymm, who shared their ambitions of making a similar film aimed at Key Stage 3 children. 

With that as their springboard, the group voted to make a film that would highlight choice, consequences and taking responsibility, hoping it would convince other young people to avoid substance misuse by making the right lifestyle choices.

Within just three weeks, they had planned, scripted, filmed, edited and produced an evocative short film that now forms part of a 30 minute session (designed in collaboration with the Team) on safety and choice-making. It will be delivered to all Year 9 pupils in the area and all youth organisations that visit the Fire Safety Centre. 

Finalist: Bromborough Team 8

A centre in the Wirral had been using Taiko drumming to boost the energy and social interaction of disabled adults, but was forced to halt the sessions because the drums had become too damaged. 

When 12 young people, aged 16-25, from the Team programme heard about the sessions, they pledged their help. 

Following a meeting with the centre’s teachers, Team 8 sourced donations of paint and materials, and set about making a stencil to create new drum skins before receiving training to operate special machinery. 

They replaced the skin of each drum with strong tarpaulin, carefully riveting and shaping it so the rope would fit to create different sounds. They also worked to cut, shape and sand new drumsticks, painting each drum in bright, vibrant colours. 
Conducting themselves with professionalism, they established a fantastic rapport with the centre’s service users and helped reconnect a group of disabled adults with their community. 

Finalist: Huyton Team 36

Local children were treated to a colourful new play environment thanks to the inspired ideas and collaborative efforts of 13 unemployed young people aged 18-23, from Huyton, Merseyside‎.

Keen to find a worthwhile community project, members of the Team programme in Huyton, posted on social media and made calls to community groups to find out about any projects in need of assistance. Team 36 visited four potential ventures and debated each one before settling on renovating the Huyton Playtots After School Club playroom.

They raised £708 to fund the paint and equipment, mapped out the project to play to each Team member’s strengths and stripped, cleaned, and painted the room, dividing it into three zones for arts and crafts, reading, and play. They also painted and accessorised each zone with bright jungle-themed murals and furnishings. 

Mastering the arts of negotiation, compromise and project management as they went, Team 36 created a fun, stimulating learning space, and discovered that with a bit of direction, they could achieve great things.

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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: Alec McDermott

Tormented by bullies, Alec, 21, from Partington, was kicked and intimidated, had money stolen from him, and suffered from years of mental and physical abuse. He self-harmed, believing it was the only thing he could control. 

Following the death of his mum’s partner, Alec attempted to take his own life and was moved to a psychiatric unit before being sent to a Pupil Referral Unit (PRU). 

Life at the PRU was good, but outside it was a different story, the bullying continued and Alec became reclusive. A support service recommended Get Started with Radio, which was delivered in partnership with Reform Radio.

He had to force himself to attend, but became a valued member of the group and went on to co-write a drama and complete a 12 week digital traineeship. 

Alec has just secured his SIA Door Supervisor Licence and is looking to secure work in this area while studying Creative Media at Salford City College. Alec is interested in both routes and has recently completed his first job as a Door Supervisor at a Reform Radio event.

Finalist: Michael Morris

Michael, 17, from Bury, was often overwhelmed by feelings of anxiety and depression. He was bullied at school and moved in and out of care. Hoping to quell his inner pain, he started self-harming. With his exams approaching and an impending move from a long-term foster placement into independent living, it was all too much.

The turning point was The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme. He loved the people, the activities and the support he received, and when a career session identified his wish to become a radio presenter, he was encouraged to approach local station, Reform Radio, where he was accepted as a volunteer.

Michael now says he is living his dream. He has started a radio presenting traineeship and is working on improving his English and Maths. He also hopes to move out of supported accommodation into his own flat, and is contemplating starting a social enterprise.

Finalist: Arron Simpson

Arron, 21, from Burnley craved stability and calm but he often found himself feeling angry for no reason. It cost him his home, his college place, and his job.

A recruitment company suggested he work on his employability skills by going on the Team programme. Arron was able to reflect and became one of the most trusted members of the group. 

He challenged his feelings, set himself goals and became fixated on working in the voluntary sector. When he realised that public speaking could be the thing that stood between him and getting his dream job, he resolved to beat his nerves and inspired everyone at his end of Team presentation by standing up to give a tear-jerking speech about his experience. 

He also secured a job volunteering with the International Citizen Service.

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Educational Achiever of the Year

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

Winner: Morgan Gunal

Morgan, 16, from Tameside, Manchester, was unable to control his feelings and was purposefully separated from other students. He was put on a reduced school day by his primary school and after numerous conflicts at secondary school, he was excluded. 

He was moved to a Pupil Referral Unit before asking to return to mainstream education at Longdendale High School – a journey that comprised three different bus journeys, but gave him the anonymity to start afresh.

It was at Longdendale that Morgan was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia. He also joined The Prince’s Trust xl (now known as Achieve) programme. Morgan proved himself to be committed, popular and compassionate, and shone during the group’s community project at a nursing home for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. Morgan attained several awards at xl, saw his school attendance rise to 81.6% and sat all his GCSEs. He is now studying motor mechanics and exploring apprenticeship opportunities.

Finalist: Lois Kelly  

Labelled a trouble-maker, Lois, 14, from Bootle, felt ostracised and alone. She had the support of her mother, but the emotional trauma took its toll causing her to go from a happy, A-grade student, to an angry disruptive girl, who refused support.

She joined The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme for under-16s at her school’s suggestion and gradually formed relationships with her peers. Only when she realised that no amount of shouting would stop staff from trying to help her, she broke down and cried, and accepted their help. Together with her keyworker, Lois took steps to heal. She wrote a letter to her mum, telling her how she felt, she took part in anger management sessions, and engaged in activities that built her confidence.

Today, Lois is in a much better place and attaining such high grades, she is taking her English GCSE two years early.

Finalist: Georgina Lloyd

Diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, Georgina, 18, from Wirral, struggled at school and had to work hard to get enough grades for college. She became withdrawn and shut herself away in her bedroom. 

Concerned, her mother suggested she join The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme and although she was apprehensive about meeting new people, Georgina agreed.

Georgina was initially reluctant to engage with the group but when she did her confidence grew enormously. After opening up in one to one sessions with her key worker, Georgina started spending more time with positive influences and returned to her old self.
Today Georgina works part time and is studying her Level 3 in Health and Social Care with a view to going to university to become a mental health nurse. She also volunteers at her local majorette troupe and has become a Young Ambassador for The Trust.

Finalist: Nathanial Siddall

Nathanial, 17, from Stretford, Manchester was a young carer for his mother and siblings. He struggled to cope, taking the pressures in his personal life out on those around him at school.

After becoming involved with local gangs, Nathanial was moved to a new school where he joined the xl programme. Although reluctant at first, xl became his place to try new things.

Once he embraced it, massive changes followed. His self-belief prospered and he adopted a positive attitude towards school.

Nathanial has earned his Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award and is on track to achieve five GCSEs and a Diploma in ICT. He has been actively developing vocational expertise at the Skills Centre, made and distributed care packages to the homeless at Christmas and volunteers at a local special needs charity. He hopes to become a veterinary assistant.

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