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The Prince's Trust Awards in Northern Ireland

On 7 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

Annie Burke - Homesense Young Achiever

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.

Annie's story

It makes me so happy dancing round my kitchen baking orders for my customers, I’m in such a different place to where I was before. I honestly think that discovering my talent for baking saved my life. 

I found life scary when I was younger, I had a difficult childhood and had constant panic attacks that I couldn’t control. My anxiety and depression made everyday things difficult, everything came to a head and I was hospitalised when I was 25. 

When I left hospital I was determined to face up to my fears and find a way of making my dream of running my own baking business happen, so I signed up for a bakery course and achieved my Level 3 qualification.  

The course gave me the technical skills, but I needed some help to learn how to set up my business. A friend posted on Snapchat about a course he was doing through The Prince’s Trust, so I got in touch with them. 

The Enterprise programme taught me the basics of how to run a business and I got a grant that allowed me to buy the equipment and stock I needed to start Annie’s Baking Company from home.  

The first time I felt I achieved anything was on the day of my business launch. The main way I promote my business is through Facebook, a social media expert was at the launch and he told me that I had created a brand that people are buying into and to never change. 

To go from being bullied and told I was never good enough to hearing that, that was the day I changed and started to believe in myself. I’m not ‘cured’ of my past but now I feel better equipped to cope with my anxiety and depression.

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

Cathryn Caulfield - HSBC UK Breakthrough Award 

Course: Get Started with Acting

Gain careers advice from experts such in a week while taking part in a team project that gives you a taste of what you love. A well-deserved celebration ends the week.

Cathryn's story

Because of my skin condition I was scared of putting myself out there and nervous I would feel embarrassed on stage, but the opposite happened. I felt really confident and supported during the acting course, being on stage felt like a safe space. 

I have had anxiety and depression since I was young, but it got worse when I was diagnosed with an auto inflammatory disease called Hidradenitis Suppurativa (HS). HS causes sores, abscesses and scarring on the skin, it can be painful and embarrassing.  

I was just finishing college when I was diagnosed. I wanted to find a job in the creative industries, but I was struggling to put myself out there and wasn’t sure how to find the right thing. That’s when I got in touch with The Prince’s Trust to see if they could help, they told me about the Get Started with Acting programme, and I loved the sound of it. 

I went on to complete another acting course funded by The Trust and in the future, I would like to publish my own poetry book based on mental health and facilitate creative writing workshops. My health can still be a barrier sometimes, but I’m determined not to let my HS control my life.

The Breakthrough Award is sponsored by HSBC UK.

Aoife O’Reilly - Tesco Young Ambassador 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.

Aoife's story

I always dreamt of being a classroom assistant, but there was a time in my life that I couldn’t look after myself, let alone other people’s children. 

Because of my ADHD I struggled in school with even the smallest tasks. My medication made me feel detached, having the confidence to leave the house and interact with the outside world seemed impossible. 

I was referred to The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme by acute mental health services. On the first day my anxiety was through the roof; just stepping through the door was terrifying. Fiona from The Prince’s Trust was so supportive and spent a lot of time with me making sure I felt comfortable. 

We began to set some objectives together for simple tasks like eating lunch at a regular time and learning how to do ironing and use a washing machine. Breakthroughs started to happen and my self-esteem and confidence started to grow. 

When I finished Fairbridge I was encouraged to apply for a classroom assistant training programme and couldn’t believe it when I was accepted! 

I am now a Young Ambassador for The Trust speaking to people about how they gave me my self-esteem back. It has built me up and I now feel like I can do anything.

The Young Ambassador Award is sponsored by Tesco.

Sarah Lavery - Ulster Bank 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. 

Sarah's story

I love to provide a little bit of magic for children on their special day. I opened my business Dudes and Divas Entertainment two years ago, it is a unique children’s party venue themed like an enchanted garden with princesses, superheroes, fairies and pirates. Snow machines, bubbles and candyfloss machines add to the magic while a sensory room, wheelchair access and a disabled toilet mean that everyone can join the party. 

I have family members with autism and dreamt of starting my own kid’s entertainment business that would allow all children to come along to birthday parties, regardless of their needs or disabilities.  

I was made redundant from my job when I was 23. I was left with no way of supporting myself and mounting credit cards debts and loans. I decided that was the perfect time to find out if my business idea could be more than a dream. 

I got in touch with The Prince’s Trust about their Enterprise programme. After the three-day course I found the confidence I needed to see that my business idea was viable and developed a plan to make it happen.  

In the past 12 months we have employed three part time members of staff and expanded into an additional building. I’m now debt free and so proud of the business.

The Enterprise Award is sponsored by Ulster Bank.

Bella McCartney​ - Lidl NI Rising Star Award

Bella's story

After I had a cochlear implant fitted, I was able to hear things I had never heard before like my family talking and laughing, birds chirping and the wind in the trees. I was so excited about what was going to be possible for me in the future. 

I was born deaf and as I got older, I became increasingly frustrated with my condition. I left school with no qualifications and experienced depression. My health got worse when I was diagnosed with an irregular heart issue. 

After many visits to the doctor I had heart surgery and the implant fitted that meant I could hear. Once I got my health back I became determined to get a job but because I had no qualifications or experience it wasn’t easy. I applied for over 100 jobs in five years but only got three interviews and no job offers. 

That’s when I decided to contact The Prince’s Trust to see if they could help. They worked with me to find out what I was good at and passionate about. I decided I wanted a career in catering and with the help of my Prince’s Trust Executive I applied for a Level 2 Cookery course. I’m so excited that I was accepted and start this autumn! I also got a part time job in a café. 

It was more difficult than I thought it would be learning how to talk as an adult and it made me feel frustrated. I felt like I had no prospects or chance of finding a job but working with The Prince’s Trust made me realise that I have to keep turning the negatives in my life into positives.

The Rising Star Award is sponsored by Lidl NI.

UHub, Team 6 - Dell Technologies 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 6's story

Chloe Kydd: “There was a time in my life that I couldn’t go to the shops by myself or answer the door because my anxiety was so bad. By coming together with other young people to help support a mental health charity, I feel like I got back a bit of myself that I’d lost.” 

Jenna Simpson: “I had a master’s degree but no hope for the future, my anxiety was crippling me to the point of giving up. Someone recommended the Prince’s Trust Team programme and I decided to give it a try.  

“As part of Team we had the chance to take part in a community project. All eight of us in the group have been affected by mental health issues, I had recently started counselling with uHub which was really helping me, so I suggested that we do something to support them. They were moving into new premises and we set ourselves the goal to raise enough money to kit out their new sensory room as well as help with the refurbishment of the building.   

“As part of our fundraising activity, I went to local businesses asking for raffle prizes, something that before Team I would have been adamant I couldn’t do. The Team programme gave me the push I needed to find my confidence and a new motivation in life. 

“Despite coming from different backgrounds and having different personalities we truly became a team and are now good friends. We still keep in touch on our Facebook group and know that we can always go to each other for support. Being part of this project has reminded me what I am capable of. I am genuinely optimistic about the future now."

The Community Impact Award is sponsored by Dell Technologies.

Jed Conwell - Ascential Educational Achiever of the Year 

Course: Achieve

Achieve programmes are run in schools or youth centres. If you're aged 11-19, Achieve can help you to boost your confidence, learn new skills and work with your friends on a group project - but how you do it is up to you.

Jed's story

I was scared to start another school; I thought the pupils would laugh at me and call me names because that is what always happened before. But when I went to the EOTAS (Education Other Than At School) service in Strabane I began to let my guard down and the other pupils actually liked my quirky personality! 

In school I found the classroom too noisy. I lashed out sometimes and didn’t like going, so my attendance was only 33 per cent. When I went to EOTAS and started on The Prince’s Trust Achieve programme I started to realise that there are different ways to learn. 

Achieve was a more practical way of learning and offered me extra support. As part our course we held a fundraising raffle and I even offered to dress up as Santa – that’s not something I ever thought I would do! 

I have started walking and eating more healthily thanks to what I have learnt through Achieve. I’m feeling so much better and I don’t need to take medication anymore. I have friends now and I’m looking forward to starting a Media with Art and Design course in college this autumn.  

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

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Prince’s Trust Centres in the Northern Ireland

Working from three offices in Belfast, Derry-Londonderry and Newry, we support around 5,000 young people each year into jobs, education and training.

Our Belfast Centre is a hub of activity which welcomes more than 1,000 young people each year. Whether they’re taking part in a programme, attending a celebration event or meeting a mentor, the doors are always open to young people from across Belfast and beyond, who might need our support.

Find out more about our work in Northern Ireland

Start your journey with us