On 22nd November 2016, we celebrated in style at Aston Villa Football Club in Birmingham 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 West Midlands 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: Kimberley Lightfoot

Emotionally broken because of her troubled past, Kimberley, 26, from Rubery, Birmingham, lost all motivation. She distrusted people, suffered with low confidence and dropped out of college.

Shortly afterwards, she became a mother of two but grew paranoid about the world around her and shut herself away.
Worried for her wellbeing, Kim's brother suggested she attend Fairbridge.

She barely spoke initially, but came into her own during outdoor activities and started mentoring other people. Realising she wanted a career in outdoor challenges, Kim began volunteering with The Trust’s Adventurous Activities team, cycling 10 miles every day just to be there. 

She now regularly delivers activities as part of the team and is studying for her coaching qualification for teaching Entry Level 3 in Personal Social Development.

Eventually, Kim hopes to become a full time outdoor activities instructor.‎

Finalist: Mariama Darboe

Mariama, 17, from Birmingham, grew up in Gambia and, aged 15, made the tough decision to leave her mother and sisters, and join her father in England to pursue her childhood ambition of becoming a nurse. But when she arrived her confidence was shattered: she was labelled an educational underachiever, and ‎realised that her road to the medical profession would be a long, uphill journey.

Shy and severely lacking in confidence, Mariama attended a college open day, heard about Team and joined.

Fearing she would say the wrong thing or misunderstand something, Mariama was initially withdrawn, but gradually grew more at ease, made friends, developed her language skills, and started looking for part time work. 

She says Team has made her happier and more confident as a person. ‎She is now studying a BTEC Level 1 Foundation learning and has recently enrolled at college hoping it will get her one step closer to her dream career as a nurse.

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Young Ambassador of the Year

The Young Ambassador of the Year award, sponsored by Birmingham City Council, 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: Daniel Caddick

Daniel, 24, from Birmingham, lived with his nan and granddad. He knows little about his mother and doesn’t know who his father is. When he confided with someone he trusted at school they began bullying him and when Daniel fought back, he was suspended and dropped out. 

With few qualifications, Dan’s employment options were limited. He picked up occasional work, became a father but was then hit by a family tragedy. Unable to cope, he pushed his family away, lost his job, began drinking and grew depressed.  He heard about Get Started with Football and progressed onto Get into Transport, where he found direction and a permanent job with London Midland. 

Wanting to give back to The Trust, Dan trained as a Young Ambassador and spoke confidently to audiences of young people and supporters at various events. He found the experience liberating. 
Stronger as a person and free from depression Daniel is busy building a better life for his family. 

Finalist: Lee Bourne

Lee from Wolverhampton, was diagnosed with arthritis as a child and needed regular steroid injections to alleviate the symptoms. It made him an easy target for school bullies, and although he tried to push past it, he eventually lost confidence and was too scared to leave the house after his life was threatened.

He quit school and completed his education in an alternative provision before finding work in retail. However, when an advert for Get Started with Football caught his eye, he saw it as a great opportunity to pursue his long-term ambition of becoming a football coach.

Lee completed the programme having earned his FA Level 1 Coaching certificate and started volunteering with the Wolverhampton Wanderers FC Kicks project. He then became a Young Ambassador, inspiring other young people to seize opportunities and to never give up on their dreams.

He is currently studying for his FA Level 2 in Coaching certificate alongside studying his NVQ Level 2 in Youth Work. 

Finalist: Joseph Ringane

Joseph, 25, from Birmingham, has marfan syndrome – a potentially life threatening disorder that affects the body’s ability to create connective tissue; he had always aspired to be a basketball player but when a fall at university left him with a fractured spine, his whole world collapsed and he attempted suicide.

He joined Fairbridge at his support worker’s suggestion, regained his confidence and left to join Team

Team helped Joseph develop new skills and made him realise he wanted a career helping others.

He began working for a not-for-profit organisation that raises awareness of female genital mutilation and HIV, and has since been promoted to Director and Head of Media. 

Hoping to help more young people, Joseph became a Young Ambassador and was instrumental in securing a partnership between The Trust and Hewlitt Packard that will benefit thousands of disadvantaged young people. 

Joseph is an incredible young man with a huge heart. 

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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: Daniel Bate

Anger issues saw Daniel, 31 from Wednesbury, West Midlands, serve three short prison sentences before vowing never to be put behind bars again. 

Drafting a basic business plan from inside his cell, Daniel decided to build up cash reserves by finding work as soon as he was released, but things didn’t go to plan - he was repeatedly knocked back because of his past and was denied business start-up funding for the same reason. Realising he needed to change tactics, Daniel contacted The Prince’s Trust and signed up to Enterprise.

The Trust provided Daniel with the one-to-one support he needed to perfect his plan. He was then awarded a £4,000 loan and founded Distinct Corporate Clothing, a business work wear branding and embroidery company. 

Researching and cold-calling leads saw him clock up countless rejections, but he also landed his first orders. 

Resilient and rolling with the punches, Dan now has a thriving business, employs two staff and plans to start mentoring ex-offenders. 

Finalist: Jason Evans

Jason, from Stourbridge, lacked direction and found himself caught up in crime. After being arrested and serving time he decided that, upon his release, he would prove to himself and everyone else that he could change his life for the better. 

Jason received CV support from Pertemps and was signposted to Enterprise after talking about his ambition of setting up a tattoo business.

Guided by his Prince’s Trust mentor, Jason drew up a business plan and was awarded a loan to help him secure premises. Within a matter of months, he had launched Inky’s Tattoo Emporium and although business was initially slow, Jason has now been trading for more than two years and has a strong client base and reassuringly high profits. 
Jason is over the moon with its success and grateful to have put his past behind him. 

Finalist: Estaban Bridges

Motivation was never an issue for Estaban, 29, from Shrewsbury. He has long-term mobility issues, but refused to let it rule his life and by 19 he had published his first book, had co-founded a regional writers’ group, hosted school writing workshops, ran a community filming project, and had a day job as a retail manager.

But Estaban pushed himself too hard. He suffered a nervous breakdown and was signed off work.

Stuck on benefits and frustrated at doing nothing, Estaban decided to take advantage of the new enterprise allowance from his local Job Centre Plus, and joined Enterprise.

He began selling crafts on a market stall, but quickly realised he could earn more by selling DVDs and moving to a better location. After securing premises in a local shopping centre, Estaban launched DVD Megastore; it is so successful, he smashed his original projections, employs two staff and has had to upgrade to larger premises twice.

This young man is a true inspiration.

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Rising Star Award

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

Winner: Lisa Case

Lisa, 24, from Birmingham, suffers with hydrocephalus, a build-up of fluid on the brain that can cause brain damage. She was sexually abused at the age of 17, a traumatic experience that left her suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety. She lost direction and when her mother contracted pneumonia, Lisa found herself caring for her mother and completely withdrew from society. 

A visit to her Jobcentre Plus gave her hope: she met a Prince’s Trust Outreach Executive and was inspired to join Team.  

Team made Lisa feel supported.  She overcame her anxiety and pushed herself to see what she was really capable of. Growing increasingly more confident, Lisa took on a work placement, flourished and completed Team happier and in control of her mental health.  

Proud of what she has achieved, Lisa now works for a fast food chain and hopes to progress to a managerial role.  

Finalist: Bianca Byrne

Bianca, 24, from Edgbaston in Birmingham, was taken into care at the age of 14. Despite the disruption it caused, she kept her head down and secured a place at university studying law. But within a few months, her sister fell terminally ill and lost her life to cancer. Distraught, Bianca returned to Birmingham to support her mother and family, but was diagnosed with severe grief and depression and was unable to work for a year.

Her doctor persuaded her to go to the Jobcentre Plus where she heard about Get into Retail - a programme that taught her valuable retail skills and highlighted her natural flair for visual merchandising and customer services. 

Today, Bianca is no longer struggling with confidence issues. She works for New Look, has plenty of scope for career progression and has won prizes for her professionalism. Happy and excited about her prospects, she hopes to move to a big city store and work her way up to become a department specialist.

Finalist: Rachel Williams

Rachel, 25, from Shrewsbury, applied for work but felt her attempts were being thwarted by her chronic back problems. After five years of unemployment she started doubting her abilities and lost all self-confidence.

An online search prompted her to join Get into Hospital Services and although she was initially reserved, Rachel enjoyed the sessions and was exposed to life as a medical secretary, a ward clerk and a Clinical Audit department worker.

Her enthusiasm impressed bosses and Rachel was invited to interview for a role as a Therapies Administration Apprentice.
Thrilled by the prospect of work, but worried she would let herself down in the interview, she worked on perfecting her interview techniques and aced the interview.

Rachel now manages the Therapies reception area. She is also working towards her Level 2 NVQ in Business Administration and plans to progress her career in the NHS by developing her skills and experience.

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Community Impact Award

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

Winner: City of Wolverhampton College Team 300

The 10 young people on Team 300 were given the responsibility of remodelling a rundown garden at a centre for people with dementia, so that it could be used for outdoor therapy sessions. 

Impressed with their creative ideas, the centre’s manager assigned them funding and let them get to work. 

After digging out an extension to an existing patio, Team 300 laid two tonnes of sand, one tonne of gravel and 40 stone slabs. They also upcycled outdoor furniture, built a raised sensory bed, stained 200ft of fencing, spread three tonnes of top soil and planted a variety of plants. 

The scale of the project was immense but the impact it had was even greater. The garden is now frequently used by service users, enriching their experience at the centre and improving their quality of life. It also inspired some members of Team, two of which decided to pursue opportunities that focused on helping others.

Finalist: City of Wolverhampton College Team 280

When nine unemployed young people, aged 18-24 from Wolverhampton, heard that a busy local community centre had been saved from closure due to council budget cuts, they vowed to do something to keep its doors open and reduce its running costs.

The inside of the centre was pristine but the outside needed love, and this is where the group decided to focus their efforts, fundraising £315 to do so.

Torrential rain couldn’t stop them as they worked alongside the centre’s manager to spread 20 tonnes of gravel and plant vibrant shrubs and flowers in the garden. 

Local residents often stopped to talk to them and Team 280 were always happy to share the story and vision behind their work. 
The project and dedication shown by these young people marked the beginning of a very special relationship develop between the centre, The Prince’s Trust and the local community.

Finalist: Solihull Team 160

Team 160, aged 16-23 from Solihull, gave up their time to create an interactive outdoor forest school area complete with a bird hide and mud kitchen at Cranmore Infant School.

Keen to stretch imaginations and enhance the children’s social skills, Team 160 fundraised, drew up plans, and mapped out a timeline before getting stuck into the manual labour. 

Often working long hours, they dug seven 4ft-deep holes to support the bird hide’s structure, secured beams with postcrete, and added special panels to create the wall and roof. They also built a mud kitchen, a willow dome, painted the perimeter fencing, and held a family forest school fun day to introduce the children to their new play area. 

Forest school now takes place every week at Cranmore Infant School. The sheltered bird hide allows the children to play in all weathers, and the mud kitchen, which was recently used to host a community lunch, has been extended to include a mud beauty parlour.

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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: Leanne Quinney

Leanne, 21 from Birmingham, struggled with her mental health after experiencing a troubled childhood. She spent long periods in hospitals and secure units far away from her home, and was diagnosed with autism, emotionally unstable personality disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression. She felt isolated, experienced flashbacks, and self-harmed. 

She was living in a residential care centre for adults with mental health issues, recovering from a broken back caused by falling from a horse, when she was referred to Fairbridge

Initially very anxious, Leanne demonstrated real grit and perseverance during Fairbridge, developed coping strategies to manage her anxieties, and always supported her peers. Empowered by her new found confidence, Leanne started attending a weekly therapy group and became involved in a programme that promotes the development of creative and community conscious young people in Birmingham. Her real passion, however, is horses. She eventually hopes to help others by working in equine-assisted therapy. 

Her conviction to do well in life and help others is incredible.

Finalist: Georgie Palin 

Georgie, 25, from Stoke on Trent, suffered a stroke as a young girl and missed out on much of her education because of it.

At 16 she had a baby. One night, she was assaulted and began fearing for her daughter’s safety, so fled to her mother’s house.  A few weeks later, Georgie’s best friend, her granddad, sadly passed away.  Feeling unable to cope, Georgie started to self-harm.

Despite having initial trust issues on Fairbridge, Georgie became a beacon of light amongst her peers.  Always smiling and chatting. She began making positive plans for her future.

Georgie is studying her Youth Work Level 3 and hopes to become a youth worker.  She also volunteers with The Trust and has blown everyone away with her commitment and resilience.

Finalist: Jayden Gibson 

Jayden, now 17 from Birmingham, left school at the age of 13. He sought fun the only way he knew how,by causing trouble. He quickly amassed a string of offences, including theft and fraud, and at 16, had been barred from entering the city centre.

An intervention from his mother and a charity called SOVA, saw him referred to Team, and it was there that Jayden found the opportunities he needed to recognise where his talents lay. 

He readily supported others, thrived during a community project at a house for vulnerable adults, and discovered a passion for construction and property management during a work placement at Wilmott Dixon.

No longer disengaged or following a life of crime, Jayden is positive and full of ambition. He is currently studying plumbing, construction and engineering, and spends his free time socialising with a new group of friends. 

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Educational Achiever of the Year

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

Winner: Joe Cutts

Physical, social and sensory difficulties made lessons very stressful for Joe, 16, from Oldbury, West Midlands. He experienced problems both in and out of school, and was placed on the SEN register for ASD, speech and language problems, dyspraxia and sensory problems.

He received no respite, underachieved in all subjects, was diagnosed with depression and anxiety, and started refusing to attend school.

Worried for his wellbeing, his parents requested that he start attending the xl (now known as Achieve) programme. 

The less pressurised environment of xl appealed to Joe and not only gave him the opportunity to work in small, supported groups, but the chance to shine. 

He went home every day enthused, grew in confidence and developed a passion for Film Studies, which he went on to study at GCSE level. He is currently studying for his BTEC Level 3 Health and Social Care and sees his future supporting young people. 

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