On 8th November 2016, we celebrated in style at Leeds Grand Theatre 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 Yorkshire & The Humber 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: Sophie McDevitt

Sophie, 23, from Skipton, was 13 when her parents split up and became a carer for her younger siblings.  By 14, she had developed an eating disorder, and at 15, she was sent to live with her grandparents in London. Sophie had no contact with her mother for the next four years.

Things took a turn for the worse for Sophie, when on her 19th birthday she was raped. She fled to Skipton to find her mum and began working three dead-end jobs just to make ends meet.

Sophie joined The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme after meeting her new partner and becoming a mother. It helped her assess different business ideas and supported her in launching Macie’s Party Hire – a bouncy castle and soft play hire company. 

It hasn’t been easy, but through sheer hard work and determination, Sophie has put her past behind her and is busy making her business a success. 

Finalist: Shannon Butcher

Shannon, 20 from Leeds, was seven when she moved in with her grandparents. She struggled to cope with the change in her life and by the age of 13, she was self-harming.

By 15, she had left school, and at 16, she was living on her own.

Trying to deal with the responsibilities of life, Shannon realised her future was heading in the wrong direction, and although she wanted to find work, she worried what people would say if they saw her scars. Absorbed with anxiety and depression, she hid herself away in her flat, away from the world outside, and alone. 

Job Centre Plus suggested she try Get into Retail, where she pushed herself to the limit to gain industry skills and mix with others. By the end of the programme, her confidence had improved dramatically and she was offered a job with Tesco, where she still works today as a customer service assistant.

Finalist: Nathaniel Davies

Nathaniel, 21, from Sheffield, had always wanted a career in sport, but became disillusioned after studying it at college. Uncertain what to do next, he lost confidence in himself and his future.

An online search into trade-based jobs saw his interest piqued by dry stone walling, but the training and qualifications he needed were expensive and his age precluded him from qualifying for support from traditional funding networks. 

Lost and confused, Nat decided to follow his brother’s lead and join Team. He settled in immediately, enthusiastically participating in every activity and building his confidence daily. His true turning point, however, was when he secured a work placement with a dry stone walling company and was subsequently offered a permanent position and training as a dry stone waller. Nat is now a qualified dry stone waller and advocates The Trust wherever he can. He also helps other young people reach their potential by mentoring new trainees.

Finalist: Ashley Hall

Difficulties with his reading and writing made Ashley, 25, from Leeds, feel like an outsider during his school years. His dyslexia meant he found lessons overwhelming, he became increasingly frustrated as a result, started fights and was eventually expelled.

He returned a year later and was placed on a school vocational programme, and although it led to part time work, it wasn’t enough to survive on.

“I had to borrow money from my parents, but they struggled to make ends meet as it was, and didn’t need me adding to the mix.”

The Jobcentre Plus recommended he try The Prince’s Trust Get into Retail course; desperate for a break, Ashley gave it his best shot. He received one-to-one support for the course theory, and impressed everyone with his can-do attitude.

No longer feeling like an outsider, Ashley now works full time at Tesco; he is thrilled to have prospects and hopes to work his way up the ladder.

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Young Ambassador of the Year

The Young Ambassador of the Year award, sponsored by KCOM, 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: Lewis Houghton

Talented artist Lewis, 26, from Rawmarsh, rarely shared his work with anyone. He was home-schooled until 16 and saw college as his chance to lead a normal teenage life; but in reality, he’d never felt more alienated. He became swamped by depression and attempted suicide. 

A friend convinced him to join The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme for help establishing himself as a professional illustrator. Lewis excelled on the course and later used a Will it Work grant to market-test his artworks at local craft shows. 

Since then, Lewis has received commissions from an award-winning children’s author, has self-published a book on Amazon, and runs writing workshops for disadvantaged young people. 

He also became a Young Ambassador – a huge undertaking for a young man with confidence issues, and recently addressed an audience of more than 250 people at an event that raised £120,000 for The Trust – a phenomenal achievement.

Lewis is a compassionate, talented young man with a long-term plan and a fantastic future.

Finalist: Jennifer Fairbanks

Jen, 26, from Sheffield, was severely traumatised by the birth of her first child. She developed pre-eclampsia, post natal depression and debilitating mental health conditions that included paranoia and agoraphobia. It prevented her from finding work, so she tried running a home-based business, but grew too scared to answer the phone. 

Unable to pay the rent on her house, Jen and her fiancé became homeless and moved into temporary accommodation.

Two months later, Jen gave birth to her second child. It was a happy experience and prompted her to pursue a career with the NHS. 

She signed up to Get into Hospital Services, secured work at the end of it and became a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador, sharing her story to inspire others. 

She has recently completed an apprenticeship as a Clinical Support Worker at Rotherham Hospital, and won Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust’s Excellence in Healthcare Award. She is now working with patients in the community and hopes to become an occupational therapist. 

Finalist: Meryem Riasat

Meryem, 25 from Sheffield grew up surrounded by mental health issues, and started developing OCD, depression and anxiety. When her depression cost her a place at university, Meryem blamed herself and struggled to see a way forward.

The Prince’s Trust Make Your Mark course, delivered by Marks & Spencer, helped her “feel human again” and she credits the support her Prince’s Trust progression mentor gave her as “life-changing”. 

After, completing a fixed term contract with Marks & Spencer and securing permanent work and a volunteering post as a reading assistant, Meryem became a Young Ambassador.

Constantly pushing back against her worries, she overcame huge personal barriers, spoke at events, interviewed potential volunteers and even met HRH Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace. 

She can’t believe how much she has changed. Confident and optimistic, Meryem is excited about what her future holds.

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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: Faye Savory

Faye, 26, from Sheffield, was working as a Speech and Language Therapist when she was diagnosed with chronic Lyme Disease; it severely affected her mobility and her ability to carry out normal day-to-day tasks. At its most severe, Lyme Disease left her unable to wash, dress or feed herself and she could only leave the house using a wheelchair.

Trying to stay productive, Faye began blogging and, when able, made jewellery which she sold online, donating the profits to chronic illness charities. Then, when a friend sent Faye an especially thoughtful care package, Faye had an idea for a business: bespoke ‘hug in a box’ gift packages filled with feel-good treats.  

Faye’s next step was The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme. Six months of market research later, she applied for the Trust’s Will it Work grant to market-test and prototype her boxes, and launched BearHugs

Faye’s commitment and determination to break down the limitations of her illness are extraordinary. She has made BearHugs a success and hopes to use it to support others with chronic illness in the future.

Finalist: Nicola Hunt

Niki, 31, from Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, was exposed to extreme domestic violence as a child. 

She left school with no qualifications, was homeless by 16, and started studying hairdressing at college but later found herself struggling to balance motherhood with with other responsibilities in her life at the time.

A stint at a poorly-managed hairdressers prompted Niki to explore self-employment. She joined The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme and within five months had launched her business, Identity.

It hasn’t been easy. Niki was diagnosed with depression, but somehow she kept going and made her business work. 

She is currently running her business whilst studying Theatrical, Special Effects Hair and Media Makeup at degree level, and hopes to become part of a TV Hair and Makeup team.

Finalists: Shleeta Palmer and Lereece Wilson

Shleeta, 30, from Sheffield, suffers with Lupus, an auto-immune disorder which leaves her wi,th chronic fatigue and affects her brain functions. She had hoped for a career in teaching, juggled childcare with her studies, and even secured her first teaching job but when it didn’t work out, became disillusioned. 

Shleeta refocused and joined the Enterprise programme with her sister Lereece, hoping to create some nurturing learning tools. By the end of the programme, she was planning to launch a children’s nursery.

Battling against her illness and the challenges it brings, Shleeta successfully opened Beanies Childcare children’s nursery in partnership with Lereece. It grew steadily through word of mouth referrals and strong management and now has a team of nine staff. 

The sisters love being self-employed and have proven that with the right guidance and a lot of work, nothing can stop you from achieving your dreams.

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Rising Star Award

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

Winner: Chelsey Nelson

Chelsey, 19, from Leeds, was placed into foster care when she was three. She always felt loved and supported but later her family relationships broke down leaving Chelsey devastated. She moved out to live with her boyfriend.  

Desperately in need of focus, Chelsey joined The Prince’s Trust Get into Customer Services course. She powered her way through the course, rebuilding her confidence, developing new skills, and keeping her eyes firmly fixed on her goal: a job with First Direct.

Her dedication paid off. She now works for First Direct and plans to progress through the ranks. Chelsey has also been working with her leaving care team and has moved into her own home. Happier and with prospects, Chelsey one day hopes to buy a house with a garden. 

Finalist: Kirsty Hague

Kirsty, 25, from Rotherham, South Yorkshire began drinking from a young age. She socialised with teenagers, lost interest in school and was diagnosed with depression at 13. By 14, she was pregnant, but tragically gave birth to a stillborn baby. 

Reeling from the loss, Kirsty stopped going to school and focused on filling the gap with her partner. She suffered another loss before finally giving birth to a healthy baby aged 16. Within a few years, Kirsty was the proud mother of three, but began worrying for their futures.

Her partner picked up a leaflet advertising The Prince’s Trust Get into Hospital Services course – seeing it as the perfect way to get her foot in the door, Kirsty joined and blossomed.

She made such a strong impression at Rotherham Hospital, she was offered a job half way through the course. 

Kirsty loves working at the hospital and hopes to eventually qualify as a palliative care nurse. 

Finalist: Nathaniel Daisy

Nathaniel, 18, from Spofforth, Yorkshire felt friendless. He was bullied at school - often because of his race - and truanted to avoid it. He left with low grades and enrolled at college hoping for a fresh start, but was bullied again after standing up for someone. Isolated and feeling lower than ever, Nathaniel slid into a depression. 

He tried to secure a place on a different course, but was rejected because of his grades. It was then that his tutor suggested he joined The Prince’s Trust Team programme where, for the first time ever, Nathaniel felt a sense of belonging.

With his confidence growing by the day, Nathaniel started to take more of a leadership role in Team and shone during a work placement at Marks and Spencer, where he now works part time.

Nathaniel left a changed man, cheerful, employed and with a great group of friends. 

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Community Impact Award

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

Winner: Barnsley Team 2

An emotive speech from a member of Team 2 convinced the rest of the group to focus their community project on the village of Goldthorpe, whose residents had felt abandoned since its mine had been closed down. 

“We thought a good place to start was by repainting its three old railway bridges,” said Joe Easton, Prince’s Trust Team programme member.

It was no mean feat – the enormous bridges meant that agencies had to be involved, permissions had to be sought and road closures needed to be organised. However, Team 2 pushed themselves out of their comfort zones to get on with the job at hand. 

They overcame knock backs, learned to think on their feet, and demonstrated patience and passion when they scaled each bridge to clean, scrape and repaint them in bright new colours. 

The local impact Team 2 made was incredible. They not only came together to instigate change, they proved to themselves that they could achieve great things and inspired a whole village in doing so.

Finalist: Huddersfield Team 11

An invitation from to MENCAP asking Team 11 to visit its catering training café and meet some of its service users, prompted the group to brainstorm an idea that would turn the café into a vibrant learning facility for adults with learning disabilities. 

After consulting with the café’s staff and service users on colour and design, Team 11 drew up plans and allocated each other tasks that would expose each member to all areas of the renovation work, helping them maximise the skills they would learn. 

Using paints and tools provided by MENCAP, Team 11 spent five consecutive days stripping, cleaning and painting the café’s interiors, pressure-washing the patio, painting the garden fence and added some colourful nuances to its overall look and feel. 

By the end of the week, the café was transformed into an American diner-style eatery and training facility that has become a popular social hangout and learning space for MENCAPs service users, staff and volunteers. 

Finalist: Wakefield Team

Team Wakefield heard about The Scott Mortimer Little Beck Trust which was set up by a father in memory of his son to offer rehabilitation facilities to brain injured young people from its base in a renovated barge.

The charity had been unable to create a putting green in the past due to problems with the land, so participants on The Prince’s Trust Team programme in Wakefield put their heads together to come up with a solution. 

Team Wakefield sourced donations of artificial grass, wooden pallets, golfing equipment and paint, raised £180 and then designed and built a fully accessible, six-hole mini golfing green that could be packed up and transported in the back of a van.

Thanks to Team Wakefield’s hard work and vision, local brain injured young people are now able to access golf as part of their rehabilitation. It also inspired The River, Canals and Waterways Trust to offer the charity land to extend its rehabilitation facilities – an incredible result. 

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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: Raphaela Heron

Growing up, Raphaela, 25, from Bradford, grew up feeling not accepted by her family or community. She experienced a difficult home life and began self-harming at the age of 12. 

She moved in with her grandmother, but by 16 she had gone off the rails: she was exploited by older men and started experimenting with drugs.

Then life for Raphaela went from bad to worse: she entered difficult relationships, and was physically abused and raped. This resulted in depression, substance abuse and suicide attempts. 

Raphaela vowed to change her life. She joined Get Started with Boxing and started to feel like herself again – not a victim but a 24 year old woman who could have fun and get her confidence back. She left determined to use her past to help others. 
She has applied for an Access to HE Social Care and hopes to become a women’s support worker. 

Finalist: Kim Garside

Kim, 18, from Bradford, was bullied at school and left half way through her GCSEs. It caused arguments at home, and Kim left to stay with friends. 

She tried to find work, but with few qualifications and no self-esteem, the thought of showing her CV to someone left her feeling terrified. 

Her Jobcentre Plus advisor referred her to The Prince’s Trust Get into Customer Services course, and although she was anxious, she bonded with everyone, gained customer service skills and repeatedly practised her interview techniques until she was one hundred percent confident about handling the real thing.

When the course ended, Kim attended an interview with food travel experts SSP, and was offered a job at the sports bar in Leeds Bradford Airport, using a Development Award to cover her first month of travel.

Loving life, Kim continues to work at the Airport and hopes to start studying an NVQ. 

Finalist: Glen Norton

Learning was an uphill struggle for Glen, 24, from Doncaster. He suffers with ADHD and watched as his peers competently got on with their work, whilst he struggled to understand the basics. 

Against the odds, Glen gained his GCSEs and progressed to college, but hit a wall when he couldn’t find work. 

After two and a half years of unemployment, Glen needed a break. He left home and moved into a homeless shelter. His luck changed when he saw a poster advertising The Prince’s Trust Get Started with Horses course.

Having loved helping out at a friend’s stables during college, he signed up, proactively took feedback on board and found that his practical skills and passion for horses helped him achieve without feeling frustrated. 

He left confident and with his basic Race Horse Care qualification under his belt. He is currently seeking a placement at a racing yard and hopes to study for a level 2 apprenticeship in basic race horse care at Northern Racing College.

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Educational Achiever of the Year

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

Winner: Mark Pollard

Mark, 17, from York, was placed into isolation at school. He was frustrated by problems at home, struggled to concentrate, lacked support for his dyslexia and was often overwhelmed in large classes. 

He skipped lessons, underachieved and was at risk of disengaging with education completely before his teacher referred him to The Prince’s Trust xl (now known as Achieve) programme. 

Its smaller group size appealed to Mark, and its off-campus location - at a charitable boxing gym - appealed even more. Able to offload his stress and frustrations at intervals through boxing, Mark engaged with xl from day one. His attendance soared to 97 per cent, and his concentration, and academic attainment improved. He learned to control his temper, started completing his work ahead of others, and confidently contributed to group discussions.

Mark's life has completely transformed since xl. He is studying Patisserie at college, has two part time jobs, volunteers at charity events at the gym, and is considering a career in the army.

Finalist: Miroslav Ilko

Miroslav, 16, from Rotherham, once told teachers he only went to school to fight. He faced prejudice every day because of his Slovakian origins, and grew so aggressive he was repeatedly excluded from school and refused to engage in lessons. He became involved in drugs and eventually ended up in hospital suffering with substance misuse.

It was the wake-up call he needed. After receiving support from a drugs counsellor, Miroslav stopped taking drugs and was introduced to The Prince’s Trust xl (now known as Achieve) programme by his school. 

Staff noticed a difference in his behaviour almost immediately. He liked xl’s informal learning environment, encouraged his peers in lessons, and showed such maturity in his attitude towards staff and learning that he became a positive role model for other young students who looked up to him. 

xl gave Miroslav a second chance, and took it. He recently sat his GCSEs and is now studying construction at college. 

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