On 16th November 2016, we celebrated in style at St George's in Bristol 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.

Winner: Matt Dalton

Matt, 20, 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 became engulfed with depression. He self-harmed and was later diagnosed with gender disorder. 

Hoping it would help rebuild his confidence, social services suggested to Matt that he join The Prince’s Trust Team programme. He learned a host of practical skills, gained qualifications and developed coping mechanisms to help him deal with his issues. He also became a lot more positive about himself and his future. 

Since leaving Team, Matt has been very busy. He has gained his Level 2 in Youth Work, lives independently and works as a health care assistant. He also volunteers at a local LGBT group and writes articles for a local youth organisation. 

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.

Finalist: Joe Langdon 

Joe, 22, was living on a deprived London estate when his gang held up a shop at gun point. 

He was sent to a juvenile prison and was later relocated to Ashfield prison in Bristol, where he was encouraged to enrol on Truth About Youth, which is a Prince’s Trust course that builds the confidence of young people through performing arts.

Attending the course on day release, Joe made it his mission to prove himself. He rebuilt his confidence, learned to trust others and shone as a performer. He went on to successfully apply for one of just 12 places on Bristol Old Vic’s annual Made in Bristol initiative, paying his way by working part-time in the box office.

He hopes to inspire others with his story and is currently studying acting at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. 

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Young Ambassador of the Year

The Young Ambassador of the Year award, sponsored by RSG, 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: David Doe

David, 29, from Bristol, grew up in Ghana but left for the UK with his father when he was 16. A year later, he found himself flying back in a bid to save his father’s life.

“My father had returned a few weeks before to visit family, but fell ill. I flew back to nurse him, but he died in hospital.”
David’s passion lay in football and after promising his father he would make a life for himself in the UK, he returned to Bristol, honed his coaching skills and tried to establish a soccer school. Unable to do it alone, David joined The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme and launched Monster Soccer UK, a family-focused football coaching school for 2-7 year-olds.

He later became a Young Ambassador, and proudly represented The Trust at a number of events. Always going out of his way to enrich the lives of others, David is an inspiring young man whose passion has become his success story.

Finalist: Jessica Greenwood

Jess, 25, from Dursley in Gloucestershire, suffered such severe social anxiety that she scarcely left the house. It began at school, where she was bullied, and grew steadily worse. Her social circle gradually faded and she put increasing pressure on herself to excel in other areas of her life. 

Jess achieved well academically and studied media, but was knocked when her search for permanent work proved fruitless. The Jobcentre Plus recommended The Trust’s Truth About Youth course, where Jess not only showcased her creative talents but made some true friends. 

She went on to complete The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme and launch Green Wood Pictures, a film and photography business, before becoming a Young Ambassador - an incredible feat for someone who used to be bullied and suffered with social anxiety. 
Jess became one of the South West’s busiest Young Ambassadors and left confident, happy and unafraid to put herself out there. Now she can’t wait to see what the future holds. 

Finalist: Nadia Abdulla 

Accomplished ballerina, Nadia, 26, from Morden in Surrey, spent years sacrificing her dreams to support her family after a series of events saw close relations lose their lives, her mother diagnosed with cancer and Nadia, herself, injured in a car accident. 

Her hopes of becoming a dancer ended after she secured an internship which revealed irreparable damage to her spine, caused by her accident. Devastated, Nadia relocated to Bristol and was inspired to coordinate a fundraising event for a charity. It identified a new passion in her life, organising events. 

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme helped her establish Park Street Events, which quickly evolved into a second, larger company called BEE Marketing Ltd. 

Fuelled by a desire to help others, Nadia became a Young Ambassador and excelled. She has helped form partnerships between her company’s clients and The Trust. She is a shining example of what young people can achieve with the right support. 

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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: Abbi Lee

Abbi, 30, from Filton in Bristol, had a successful career working with adults with autism, but an accident at work left her with Functional Cognitive Disorder, a condition that causes hypersensitive hearing and other sensory difficulties. 

Unable to continue with her job, Abbi used her insights into adults with sensory needs to start Sensory Oojamabobs - an online store selling chewy jewellery and fiddle toys. Having a wide range of experience working with people with sensory needs, she knew there was a market, but needed help tapping into it. 

She enrolled on The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme and was encouraged to promote her product through trade shows and conferences. Using strategies to cope with the noise, Abbi started marketing her toys at events and saw sales quickly rise. More confident and with a clear vision for her business, Abbi is now seeking investment to create her own range of products and plans to become the UK’s leading supplier of sensory toys. She also hopes to employ staff with autism.

Finalist: Jessica Langford-Snape

Jessica, 30, from Bath, lost all faith in herself after a turbulent post-education path left her unemployed for six months and feeling like a failure. Tired from worrying and feeling unable to commit, she stopped going out and cut herself off from friends. 

Encouraged by her aunt, Jess signed up to the Enterprise programme and it was the catalyst she needed. She left enthused, wrote a business plan, was assigned a Prince’s Trust business mentor, whom she credits as being “brilliant”, and founded The Organic Cake Company. 

Although Jess originally wanted to specialise in wedding cakes, her market research highlighted greater demand for wholesale tray bakes, so she took heed, adjusted her business plan, and quickly started securing clients. Today business is booming for Jess. She employs six staff, enjoys month-on-month business growth and has recently moved to larger premises to cater for demand. Happy to be standing on her own two feet, Jess is optimistic and excited about the future.

Finalist: Jack Jeanes

Jack, 24, from Bristol, suffered from worrying neurological symptoms, depression and anxiety. 

They took control of his life and left him almost housebound for two years. After years of uncertainty, he was finally diagnosed with Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) and Chronic Proximal Hemicrania, conditions that demand lifelong medical support. It was a lot to take in.

Jack needed something to focus on, and it came in the form of a childhood ambition that combined his two passions, art and fashion. He used Enterprise as the springboard to start tattoo-inspired street wear brand Inked Attire, and by the time he was ready to present his business plan to the Business Launch Group, he had already sourced a manufacturer in China, had made serious headway gaining stockists and had a strong following on social media. 

Jack now exports his designs to outlets as far away as Australia and is excited about developing his brand even further. 

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Rising Star Award

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

Winner: Alex-Cassandra Sheppard

Caught up in a cycle of self-destruction Alex-Cassandra, 22, from Bristol, had a difficult childhood. 

She truanted from school, experimented with substances and started offending. By 15, she was homeless and suffering with both anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

She was hospitalised following failed suicide attempts. It wasn’t until she faced prison that she realised her life had to change.

Two years of knock-backs followed, but then she heard about The Prince’s Trust Get into Retail programme. Determined to make the most of it, she arrived early every day, developed a professional attitude and key retail skills. Despite having difficult days, including suffering a panic attack during the course, she left with a more positive outlook and secured a job with TK Maxx

Happy and optimistic, Alex-Cassandra now has a new life, a new group of friends and an exciting career path ahead of her. 

Finalist: Chloe Causer

Payday loans had left Chloe, 22, from Plymouth, crippled with debt and on the verge of homelessness. She had underachieved at school, was a victim of domestic abuse and after being made redundant and finding herself unemployed for almost a year, she had lost all her confidence. She was also suffering with depression and using drugs for an escape.

Her caseworker at WOW (Get Wiser with your Wonga) helped her with her finances, housing and abuse, and also referred her to The Prince’s Trust Get into Admin course.

Chloe’s infectious enthusiasm inspired others on the course and saw her excel during a during a two week placement as a personal assistant at Plymouth City Council. She now works there as a Level 2 Business Administration Apprentice. 

Today, Chloe is free from drugs, paying off her debts and moving into accommodation that is safe from the environment of domestic violence that used to haunt her. She has also become a Young Ambassador.

Finalist: Carly Spicer 

A troubled home life saw Carly, 20, from Bristol, facing a difficult decision. Either she took parental responsibility for her siblings or they faced being moved into care. Only 19 at the time and no longer thinking about her own future, Carly chose parental responsibility. 

Struggling to cope financially and emotionally, Carly’s Jobcentre Plus referred her to The Trust and she joined the Fairbridge programme. 

It took time for her to come out of her shell, but when she did she made friends and used Fairbridge’s workshops to achieve new goals. She gained skills that helped ease the strain at home and earned a string of qualifications. She also took the initiative to hand out her CV to local employers - a decision that led to a job in retail. 

By the end of Fairbridge, Carly had changed almost beyond recognition. She was more resilient, positive and started socialising regularly. She now hopes to return to college and eventually become a vet. 

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Community Impact Award

The Community Impact Award, sponsored by Avon and Somerset Constabulary, recognises the positive contribution young people make to their local community.

Winner: Bridgwater Team 42

The aim of bringing positive change to the community saw Team 42 give a sensory makeover to a rundown outdoor space at a day centre for adults with learning disabilities. 

The fundraiser was a huge hurdle for the group. More than half of them battled with anxiety and communication issues, and the prospect of talking to the public during a fundraising bag pack they had organised at ASDA terrified them. 

Showing great maturity, they supported each other and raised £224.24 in just four hours. They also secured donations of paint and tyres and forged strong relationships with Dulux and Somerset Auto & Tyres.

Keen to do the best possible job, Team 42 took the time to put themselves in the place of the service users, and worked as a unit to make the sensory garden come to life. The end result was a work of art -the garden is now one of the most popular spaces at the Centre. 

Finalist: Tiverton Team 9

Tiverton Team 9 transformed a flood-prone garden at a children’s day nursery into an uplifting sensory space, complete with art boards and a sound wall.

After fundraising to secure £592.55 in cash and £700 in donations, Team 9 consulted with nursery staff on design to ensure it complied with OFSTED standards. Working calmly under pressure in conditions that often saw the site flood, they dug, cleared and landscaped the garden, adding flood prevention measures and lowering the raised beds to make them more accessible for the children. 

Disaster almost struck when the group discovered a thick layer of concrete six inches below soil level where they were planning to install fencing, but they thought on their feet and adapted their design to incorporate two colourful play dens, and relocated the fence. 

The children’s sensory garden no longer floods and is used every day by the children, who enjoy many secret adventures in their play dens. 

Finalist: Barnstable Team 8

The young people of Barnstable Team 8 left a lasting legacy at a local care home for people with dementia after creating a calming quiet room based on a yesteryear theme.

Having researched the condition online, participants on The Trust’s Team programme discovered that reminiscence was key in keeping those with dementia mentally engaged and voted to create a room that triggered memories of the past.

Learning a host of new skills as they went, Team 8 raised more than £800 worth of donations which they used to paint and accessorise the room in a period style. They also installed calming LED lights, a games and media area, and even bought some fish for the residents to care for.

By embracing the ethos that communities should support each other, the group created a space that has changed the way the dementia patients can live. Its impact will last for years to come.

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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: Jordon Rooke 

An early-years diagnosis revealed that Jordon, 24, from Bristol, has Choroideremia, a degenerative eye condition that will eventually leave him completely blind. 

His sight progressively deteriorated through his teenage years, which impacted his confidence and dreams of becoming a teacher. As a result he underachieved at school and grew afraid to leave the house without his mum’s support. 

The Jobcentre Plus and Action for the Blind encouraged him to talk to The Trust about the Fairbridge programme and although he was quiet and reserved initially, he was forced to rely on the group’s support during a night walk activity. He completed it with renewed faith in himself. 

Jordon found his voice during Fairbridge, completed several qualifications and went on to join The Trust’s Team programme. He now has a good group of friends, and is actively pursuing his ambition of becoming a teacher. 

Finalist: Wendy Douglas

Wendy, 25, from Tiverton in Devon, was placed into care at 15 whilst she was pregnant with her first child, was being medicated for depression and suffered with behavioural problems. 

Things worsened after Wendy gave birth. She suffered with severe post natal depression and eight months later gave up her baby to her mother. She started seeking comfort in drink and drugs and attempted to take her own life.

By 17, Wendy was pregnant again, but this time she vowed things would be different. After giving birth to her third child she got clean, freed herself from an abusive relationship, found work in a café and joined The Prince’s Trust Team programme. She faced many personal pressures during the programme, but she always wore a smile and left a changed person. 

Today Wendy no longer suffers with social anxiety and manages her depression without medication. She says that for the first time ever, she is happy with her life.

Finalist: Emma Rosslee 

Emma, 26, from Trowbridge in Somerset, doesn’t know who her real parents are. She was born in Romania but was adopted by an English family and flown to the UK to live before she was a year old.

She worked hard at school, despite being bullied for being adopted, but feelings of low self-worth crept in, leaving her feeling unwanted and upset. Then, when a job as a nanny didn’t work out and troubles began brewing at home, Emma found herself homeless.

She was referred to a young person’s residential centre, the Amber Foundation, which suggested she try to build her confidence through The Prince’s Trust Team programme. Following on from Team, Emma joined The Trust’s Truth About Youth course - where she discovered a passion for performing arts - and Get into Security, which saw her flair for supporting others emerge.

Emma is much happier now. She regularly supports residents at the Amber Foundation, works at Matalan, and would love to perform in the West End. 

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Educational Achiever of the Year

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

Winner: Dan Horan

Erratic and violent outbursts earned Dan, 14, from Bristol, few friends. He had experienced a troubled childhood and when his mother and five siblings were forced to relocate to Bristol, he grew angry and frustrated.

Teachers had tried various intervention strategies and were running out of options, but when he tried The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge Under 16s programme, things began to change. Showing great maturity and positivity, he tackled activities with enthusiasm, opened up in one-to-one sessions and supported both peers and staff. 

He refused to engage with others when they misbehaved, choosing to focus on his own personal development instead, and set himself the goals of working well with others, improving his communication and finding a way to manage his behaviour. He succeeded in every single one. 

Dan is now fully engaged in his education. He has a new friendship group, has improved his grades and hopes to become a mechanic. 

Finalist: Drew Bodman 

Drew, 15, from Bath, was failing badly at school. He struggled to recognise information and retain instructions and lost confidence in his ability to learn. He grew frustrated, refused to participate in work, was excluded for not completing homework and received daily behavioural demerits. 

A move to Bath Studio School saw Drew referred to Fairbridge Under 16s. Cheerful and smiling on the surface, he was clearly suffering beneath. He withdrew from group activities and remained silent when staff questioned him.

The Fairbridge residential changed everything for him. He embraced the activities and team environment, felt happier and supported, and started asking for help when he needed it. 

After Drew completed Fairbridge under 16s he was more resilient and able to manage set backs better. Now filled with more confidence Drew is at school two days a week whilst also attending Military Preparation College three days a week. He is working towards a military career.

Finalist: Joshua Lloyd-Jones

Joshua, 16, from Shaftesbury in Dorset, was attacked and hung from a bridge by his feet when he was five years-old. 

The effect it had on him was profound. He refused to leave his grandparents’ house, where he has been living ever since. He lived in constant fear, began acting erratically and aggressively, and truanted from primary school to avoid bullies who hospitalised him several times. 

He was prescribed a cocktail of medicines after being diagnosed with ADHD, autism, Asperger’s, and attachment and anxiety issues. He then began self-harming and it was then that Josh was referred to Sherborne Learning Centre, where he began attending The Prince’s Trust xl (now known as Achieve) programme.

xl helped him recognise and manage his negative behaviours and re-engage with life, socially and educationally. He recently gained his GCSEs and his Level 1 xl qualification, and has secured a place at on a vocational course with Employ my Ability. 

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