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Wales Country Final

Meet the winners from our Wales Country Finals of The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards. 

The winner of The Watches of Switzerland Group Young Change Maker and the NatWest Enterprise Award is... Hannah Hoskins

“Disability isn’t something to be ashamed of. I’m proud to call myself disabled.” 

Hannah was diagnosed with a chronic illness six years ago, which resulted in her having to use a number of disability aids, so she could live independently. 

Hannah said: “No one has once said, “wow what a beautiful grey walker you’ve got there”. Let’s face it, mobility aids aren’t really known for their looks yet shoes (which are actually a mobility aid) aren’t treated to the same bland colour palette. They help you get from a to b easier but no one bats an eyelid if you have a pair to match every outfit. As I talked to more people in the community I found they also felt the same as me. Why couldn’t I be disabled AND stylish? 

“I felt that the only way I could change this was to set up my own business, Not Your Grandma’s, selling items that appealed to me and others, while also setting up a community of advice and support with like-minded people. I’m on a mission to show disability isn’t boring. Colourful aids were a way I found to open up conversation that didn’t start with “do your legs work?

“The Prince’s Trust enabled me to realise I didn’t have to be physically in the room with people to have a successful business. It also taught me to think outside the traditional 9-5 structure, so that I could be more flexible with my approach to work and my disability.

Mostly it was about learning that I didn’t have to do any of it in the “business” way and that I could actually make up my own rules that worked best for me and my body. 

“Not your Grandma’s is a community first and foremost. Eighty per cent of people who are disabled weren’t born disabled, so it’s a massive learning curve when diagnosed later in life. Building a community which offers advice and support including a podcast, Instagram page and my blog I call The Handbook – is my way of providing the information I so desperately wanted but couldn’t seem to find. 

“Winning The Prince’s Trust awards is an incredible personal achievement, especially during a pandemic, which continues to affect many of my community who are still shielding, this includes myself. I can’t wait to display my awards on my mantlepiece!”

The Community Impact winner is... Llanelli Rural Council Training Achieve Cohort Three

The Prince Phillip Hospital garden in Llanelli, used by medical staff working on the Covid- 19 ward, was brought back to its former glory by five teenagers. The young people, Callum, Ioan, Jessica, Jodie and Levi, volunteered their time as part of The Prince’s Trust Achieve programme, delivered by Llanelli Rural Council Training (LRC).

Levi, Ioan, Jodie, Jessica and Callum, all aged 16 at the time, joined the Achieve programme to increase their confidence, leadership and teambuilding skills, to prepare them for their next steps in education and employment. The group faced different challenges including mental health and behavioural issues, disengagement from education and a placement in foster care. Some in the group were also struggling to navigate their way through the pandemic and feelings of isolation.

The learners came up with the idea to transform the garden area, they wanted to give back to those working on the frontline, offering them a colourful space to relax on their breaks.

Ioan said: “As a group we wanted to help our local hospital, as we know how hard they’d been working through the pandemic.

"We wanted to offer a bright space, based on the NHS rainbow motif, so we bought colourful flowers. We cleared the hedges and discovered two benches hidden underneath! We painted the benches and weeded, so the garden looked inviting.

"We had to stick to a budget and agree different tasks. The staff at LRC Training supported us throughout the project. They encouraged us if we started to feel overwhelmed and reminded us that we were doing a great job as a team.

"When we started to see the space transform, staff and visitors noticed the changes too and shared positive feedback – it was a great feeling. The Hywel Dda Health Board thanked us on social media too!

As a group we all bonded, we became a team and our confidence grew. It was a rewarding experience and we all genuinely believe we made a big difference to our community.

"The space is a thank you to all the medical staff – we loved working on it.

“It’s great that our idea and hard work has been recognised with a Prince’s Trust Award. It’s hard to believe that a summer of digging, weeding and painting could make such a difference to so many people. I’ll never forget the experience.”

The group have progressed in different areas. Ioan is studying to become a mechanical engineer, Levi is aiming to join the Royal Merchant Navy, Callum would like to gain some experience in carpentry, Jodie has started a college course and Jess is considering education and training opportunities with support from LRC Training. 

The Marvel Rising Star winner is... Jarrad Chandler

Jarrad is on his way to promotion with a national food outlet and is looking forward to the opportunity of developing his skills, which will lead to increased responsibility. 

Prior to securing his current position, Jarrad made the hard decision to leave college, as the course wasn’t right for him. He felt overwhelmed. Leaving college was a blow to Jarrad’s  self-confidence, he started to isolate himself to deal with his disappointment.

Jarrad said: "Dropping out of college wasn’t what I had planned, so when I left, I felt like I had no plans, or structure to move forward. I was unemployed with no real focus.

"When my work coach suggested I sign up for The Prince’s Trust Get Started with Teamwork programme, it gave me the incentive to get up in the morning. I was so nervous on the first day, but the staff were so supportive and meeting young people who were in the same boat helped. By the end of that first day my nervousness started to disappear. The week was challenging but fun and I could feel my confidence growing. So much so I took part in a residential as part of The Prince’s Trust Explore programme, which increased my confidence even more. I felt like I finally belonged."

Following completion of both programmes Jarrad took part in The Prince’s Trust Get into Retail with M&S programme, gaining valuable customer service experience. Then the pandemic hit. 

Jarrad continued:

I’d worked so hard leading up to the pandemic to gain skills that would help me into employment, while also building my confidence, I wasn’t about to let that go to waste.

"I managed to find a few jobs during the pandemic but they were short term. At Subway, I feel settled, which means I can start to plan ahead. It has given me stability for the first time in a long time. My mum has been a great support and is so proud of me. This award has made her even prouder – if that’s possible! The Prince’s Trust was there for me, just when I needed them. I have self-belief and am ready to step out into the big wide world and be a success."

The Ascential Educational Achiever winner is... Dewi Jones

"I can’t quite believe how much I have achieved. I’m proud to say I left school with a load of qualifications and I’m now at college and enjoying my life. I’ve worked hard, it wasn’t easy but was worth it!"

Dewi’s success was something he couldn’t imagine in primary school. Dewi’s Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and severe bouts of low mood made it difficult for him to enjoy education in a mainstream school. He became disengaged, anxious and self-loathing and found it hard to communicate how he was feeling. Dewi also found it difficult to make friends, which increased his feeling of isolation and he often ran away from school as he found it difficult to cope. He was later placed in foster care.

Dewi’s enjoyment of school returned in Year 8 when he joined The Prince’s Trust Achieve programme at a new school in North Wales. The staff worked closely with Dewi to increase his confidence and his learning. He became more engaged with staff and his peers and started to communicate his interests with those around him. With support from his teachers, he was able to start valuing himself and started to believe he had a future he could be proud of.

Dewi said: "I hated school, I didn’t think I had anything to offer, I found it difficult to concentrate, make friends and felt that I wasn’t able to achieve anything in life, so there was no point in going to lessons. It was a dark time for me.

"When I started at my new school and started taking part in The Prince’s Trust Achieve programme, my confidence started to build. I felt supported in the sessions by the teachers who understood how I was feeling, they encouraged me every day. The Achieve sessions enabled me to learn practical skills, such as teamwork and communication, which helped me in my other lessons too.

I also started to feel more positive about my life outside of school too. I now had self-worth, which is incredible!

"I was placed with my foster mum Tina who has been brilliant, she is such a great role model and support.

"When I was told I’d won a Prince’s Trust Award – it was overwhelming – I was shocked but really pleased – my teachers, my foster mum Tina and The Prince’s Trust saw potential in me that I couldn’t see all those years ago – I’m so glad they did. I’m thinking about a future for myself now – I’m currently interested in becoming a stone mason and now believe anything is possible."

The HSBC UK Breakthrough winner is... Charlotte Wookey

Charlotte loves caring for animals and has now secured a paid position at a local doggy daycare in Wales, while also voluntary with a neighbouring animal rescue.

Prior to securing both positions, Charlotte couldn’t see a future for herself, her confidence was low and she isolated herself due to anxiety and depression. With support from the local authority and participation in the Prince’s Trust Explore programme - a personal development programme, Charlotte’s believes her life is now back on track.

Charlotte said: "From a young age my life was unstable. We moved around a lot due to domestic abuse, which meant I had to keep changing schools too. It was hard to make friends. When I was twelve I was placed in foster care with my brother – however we were later placed in separate homes.

"I later moved into shared accommodation at 16. I was feeling low and felt like my life was out of control. I started to take drugs, which resulted in me losing my accommodation – I was homeless. I ended up sofa surfing and even spent a few nights in a shipping container.

"With help from social services I managed to secure my own place and get support for my drug addiction. I was also diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression. I didn’t want to leave my house – my dogs were my only comfort and all I cared about.

"When I was referred onto The Prince’s Trust Explore programme, it gave me the boost I needed. With support from staff, I started to travel on public transport three times a week to attend each session.

The programme helped me to conquer my fears, meet people and build my confidence massively.
"I achieved my Level 2 certificate in Food Safety and a certificate from the John Muir Trust for my contribution towards conservation. I was so proud of myself!

"My dad also came back into my life, so I have his support too, which is great. I’ve stopped feeling like an ex-junkie with no future and instead am excited about my future – I now feel like I do deserve to have a nice life and that I have the strength to make it my reality.

"Winning The Prince’s Trust Award was such a surprise, I still can’t believe it! It’s a really  great way to start 2022!"

The Homesense Young Achiever winner is... Alexander Anderson

Alexander aged 21 is one of the first person with Asperger’s Syndrome to secure a role in the Royal Air Force – a huge achievement, and a dream come true.

With support from The Prince’s Trust, Alex was able to build his confidence and employability skills, enabling him to embark on his new career.

Alex said: "I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when I was nine years old. It impacted my school life, I was bullied which really affected my health and well-being. I struggled with everyday situations, at home and at school. Before my diagnosis I attended four different schools due to my behaviour. I ran away from school too, just to remove myself from a situation I couldn’t deal with. It was really unsettling for me and my family.

"This all changed when I went to high school at the age of 11, they had a department that supported young people on the Autism Spectrum, so I was able to get the support I needed. My self-esteem grew, I was able to pass my GCSE’s with good grades, make friends while also helping new students. I also started fundraising for local causes and completed the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. I was happy.

"Then COVID 19 hit. All the things that I enjoyed, the activities I took part in stopped. My hope of gaining employment in the RAF seemed impossible. I started to feel lost, my confidence started to dip.

"I was referred to the Prince’s Trust employability programme, which was online.

I gained the confidence I’d lost, re-engaged my drive to achieve my dreams and took part in activities that boosted my employability skills. The Prince’s Trust staff were so inspirational and supportive.

"The programme gave me the encouragement I needed to start applying for jobs again and after a few job rejections, I finally got the job I was waiting for - Logistic Supplier with the RAF. I’ve been working for over a year and am also a Neuro-Diversity Ambassador for the RAF too!"

On winning his Prince’s Trust Award, Alex said: "I’m really pleased. I’ve had so many knock backs. The Prince’s Trust Award will remind me how far I’ve come and how The Trust support got me through a difficult time and ultimately helped me to achieve my dream. I’d recommend The Trust to any young person who is looking to secure work – no matter their background or the struggles they have had in the past. They can help."