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The Prince's Trust Awards in London and the South East

On 14 October 2019 we celebrated our amazing young people at The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards. The Prince's Trust Awards honour the achievements of young people supported by The Trust's programmes.

See our programmes

Our 2019 winners

Leon McGhie - Homesense Young Achiever

Course: Team

If you’re unemployed and between 16 and 25, you can meet new people, gain new skills and train on our Team programme. 

Leon's story

Growing up in Tottenham, my family and I used to go to church regularly. But as I got older, I stopped going. Bigger forces drew me away and I became involved with criminal activity and gang culture. 

As a teenager I was in and out of prison, serving sentences for burglaries and robberies as I kept falling back into trouble each time I left prison. At aged 17, I came out of prison for what I swore would be my last time. 

Two years later, I joined a Prince’s Trust Fairbridge course but dropped out because there was trouble with some gangs in my area that I got called back into. I stayed involved in this life for longer than I wanted, I was stabbed 5 times and carrying knives myself. 

After being stabbed in the head, I decided it was time to make a change and in 2016 I came back to The Trust to take part on Team – not knowing it was delivered by The Metropolitan Police. 

I couldn’t believe I was spending time with and forming relationships with the police. I came from a community who did not interact with the police in a positive way, we shunned them. But Team made me see the police differently and work hard to stay out of trouble. 

After Team, I had a placement in a media company and met several people through The Trust who opened my eyes to different opportunities, such as the film industry where I now work. I got a job as a runner, working on blockbuster films such as Paddington and Fantastic Beasts - I now work in the costume department. 

I can only go up from where I am. I am now able to work, raise my children and set an example for them and others who want to change their lives for the better

The Young Achiever of the Year Award is sponsored by Homesense.

Gideon Buabeng - Young Ambassador of the Year 

Gideon's story

I grew up in an area surrounded by gang culture, and crime. Young people in my area were easily influenced by that culture – the image of success was violence and gangs, and that seemed to be all anyone could aspire to be. 

Unlike some of my friends, I had a choice to leave that life. After my GCSEs I decided to move away from that lifestyle. I knew if I stayed, I would end up dead or in prison. 

I worked hard at school and enrolled in a Business Management Degree in Leicester. While in my second year, I was ambushed in an attack that left me with 14 stab wounds and in hospital fighting for my life. 

I woke up after a full body X-ray and was told I had sustained 14 deep stab wounds across my torso, thighs, and bottom. The deepest wound was an inch away from my vital organs. It’s still amazing to know that I survived. 

I didn’t understand why it had happened. I’d made the right choice, I’d move away from that lifestyle. It wasn’t my problem, but it still found me. 

I couldn’t feed or wash myself and I had to leave university to recover. After recovering I went back to a retail job and one day told a customer about my story; she recommended I seek out The Prince’s Trust. 

I applied for an online mentor and was allocated someone who I think was the perfect mentor. She gave me invaluable guidance and made me see the power of sharing my story to inspire others and influence change. It never occurred to me that my story was one to share. Where I’m from it wasn’t unusual to have been a victim of violence. 

I now work as a youth worker and as a role model for other young people as a Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust. They share with me what they might not share with parents or teachers, and that’s a powerful thing. I’m now working to set up my own youth organisation, directing young people to the services they need and being the positive influence and relatable mentor that they need.

Marisa Battrick - NatWest Enterprise Award 

Course: Enterprise

Got a business in mind or want to explore an idea? From training and mentoring support to funding and resources, we're here to help you become the best entrepreneur you can be.

Marissa's story

I never thought I’d be running my own business, let alone one making toothpaste! It all started back in 2013 when I had what seemed like the worst toothache ever and I decided to start researching natural, alternative toothpastes online. Before long I was experimenting with different ingredients and formulas in my kitchen, and then the idea for truthpaste was born. 

When I went on the Explore Enterprise Course with The Prince’s Trust, I really enjoyed it but I didn’t have much confidence that people would like a product I was making in my own kitchen. I plodded along making truthpaste in my spare time. My mentor Frank eventually asked me – is this a hobby or are you serious about making it into a business? 

After going through the course, testing the product and completing all the paperwork, truthpaste was ready to go on the market by Christmas 2015 and my first sale was on 1st January 2016. 

When Blue Planet 2 was shown, everyone was talking about recyclable solutions and making a difference by using zero waste products. Truthpaste was there in its glass jars ready for anyone seeking plastic free toothpaste. It quadrupled my sales and now truthpaste is going from strength to strength. 

Incredibly, I have not yet had to do any marketing for my business, and it has all been word of mouth. This past year has been crazy. With the word spreading and sales steadily growing. I was waking up, dispatching orders on the way to work, coming home, mixing toothpaste, boxing up toothpaste, all alongside a full-time job! Eventually I quit my job and I have been full time truthpaste since July 2018. 

I absolutely love my business and the flexibility of self-employment. I’m so busy, but I love it, and I can’t wait for what the future will hold.

The Enterprise Award is sponsored by NatWest.

Jayden Renwick - Rising Star Award

Course: Get Into Hospitality

Work with top employers who are ready to hire fresh talent, while improving your CV and interview techniques. Some courses include a trial shift with potential job offers available at the end. 

Jayden's story

I always knew that I wanted to be a chef, so when the opportunity came up to help out in a local school, making breakfast, teas and coffees for the staff, I decided to go for it. 

I found the work quite difficult at times. I struggled with my stammer and my confidence was low, but I kept pushing myself to stick with it. One day, my support worker told me about a three week Get into Hospitality programme with The Trust. The programme was linked to job opportunities, including a role as comis chef role at The Savoy, so I signed up straight away. 

Although I was really passionate about the opportunity, my stammer continued to affect my confidence. I was determined to not let it get in the way or prevent me from getting my dream job. 

My confidence gradually grew and my stammer became less prominent. When the programme ended, I secured a permanent job at The Savoy as their comis chef, which was brilliant. 

I loved the working environment and really enjoyed my time working with the head chef. Everyone was so kind and supportive and helped me to overcome my fears. I’m living my dream now and can’t thank them enough.

Team 23 (London South East Colleges) - Dell EMC Community Impact Award 

Course: Team

If you’re unemployed and between 16 and 25, you can meet new people, gain new skills and train on our Team programme.

Team 23's story

When a group of young people from London South East Colleges met on The Prince’s Trust Team programme, they had no idea how much they would go on to achieve together. We interviewed the group about their experiences on the programme, and here’s what they said: 

Q. How do you feel about your time on the Team programme? 

A. “We’re so proud of how far we’ve all come since starting the programme – together we’ve been able to change our lives for the better. Not only have we had the confidence to secure our own work experience placements, but we’ve also been able to overcome our anxieties, develop our leadership skills and work together to deliver projects that we can be really proud of.” 

Q. What were the projects you worked on together? 

A. “We realised that most of us have struggled with chronic anxiety or depression at some point, and that these conditions are affecting lots of other people in our community. We decided something had to be done to tackle these issues, so we decided to set up a peer to peer support group, where people can meet in local places to enjoy a picnic and meet other people who are living with similar conditions.” 

“We also wanted to show that young people can be responsible and creative, while doing things that benefit the whole community. We hosted some treasure hunt events, worked on a mural in a local skate park and fundraised for Friends of the Park’s peace garden together.” 

Q. Have you noticed any difference in yourselves before and after the Team programme? 

A. “Definitely – before Team, many of us had high anxiety levels or depression and lacked motivation to really do anything. We were unsure of what our options were in life, and some of us even wondered if life was even worth living! Now we’ve seen what a difference we can make and feel much more excited about the future.” 

The Community Impact Award is sponsored by Dell EMC.

Megan Hamilton-Brown - Ascential Educational Achiever of the Year 

Course: Fairbridge

Try everything from kayaking to high ropes during an action-packed week-long residential, then choose from a range of options to create your own learning plan. 

Megan's story

It may sound strange to some people but I love taking the bus to go shopping with my friends. Most people take being able to do these tasks for granted, but for me it’s been a huge challenge to get to this point. 

Growing up I found myself faced with a lot of uncertainty. As a result, I struggled with severe anxiety, meaning situations where I had to spend a lot of time with others felt completely overwhelming. I ended up being home-schooled which was a huge help, but the thought of the exams terrified me so I ended up with no GCSEs. 

I felt really isolated and alone and didn’t know what to do. I was unemployed and the thought of applying for a job or doing an interview would trigger my anxiety. One day I managed to pluck up the courage to go to the Job Centre, which is where I heard about The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme. 

On the first day I felt so anxious that I didn’t think I’d make it through the day but the staff were so supportive and listened when I told them how nervous I was about the course and what it entailed. By day three I found myself agreeing to go on the residential trip, which is something I was certain I wouldn’t do, but I saw in myself how much I was progressing in those first three days and decided to give it a go. 

I’ve not looked back since. After the programme I did a course with Marks and Spencer where I gained work experience. I am now completing another Prince’s Trust programme called Get into Retail with TK Maxx and I’m working to secure a bright future for myself!

The Educational Achiever of the Year Award​ is sponsored by Ascential.

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Prince’s Trust Centres in the South

With five centres in Poplar, Kennington, Chatham, Southampton, Bristol and an office in Plymouth and Slough, our London and the South of England regional team supports nearly 12,000 young people each year. 

Find out more about our work in the South

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