Francesca Brown, 25, from Sale, Greater Manchester, has won The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever Award at The Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards.

The Awards celebrate the achievements of truly remarkable people who make our world a better place. The Prince's Trust Young Achiever Award is presented every year to a Trust-supported young person who has turned their life around against the odds and is now helping others.

HRH The Prince of Wales, Founder and President of The Prince's Trust, attended the ceremony, held at Grosvenor House on Monday 31st October, and presented Francesca with her award. HRH The Prince of Wales was introduced on stage by Dame Maggie Smith, while long-standing Ambassador to The Trust, Carol Voderman MBE was host for the ceremony.

Francesca had a challenging start to life. Living with her grandmother, she didn’t have a strong relationship with either of her parents and throughout her teenage years she experienced depression as a result.

Francesca says:

It was tough. There were a lot of obstacles I had to overcome. I had always been passionate about sport but I was often told I wasn’t going to amount to anything.  My self-confidence took a massive blow and without the support from my family, it was hard to fulfil my dreams.

Despite the doubts, she did pursue her ambition and achieved her dream of becoming a semi-professional footballer and professional athlete. But the years of discipline and hard work were shattered in a second when she suffered a career ending injury. Aged 18 she moved to London, with just £10 in her pocket. Effectively homeless, she sofa surfed while she created her own identity and honed her idea for a football course for girls. 

After trialing her idea for two years, Francesca joined The Trust’s Enterprise programme, which helps young people set up in business, in January 2015. She then successfully launched her company, Goals4Girls, which works with young women to build and sustain a development pathway through sports and education.

Francesca runs Goals4Girls while also looking after her five-year-old son. She says that through founding her own company, she is now able to realise her dream of helping others achieve their goals:

Now I know I am able to provide for my child and prove anything is possible. I no longer claim benefits, I am off anti-depressants and am running my own company. I’m passionate about helping other young women reach their full potential by giving them the encouragement and training they need, which is something I never had.”
Francesca Brown

The Goals4Girls programme delivers workshops, football coaching, qualifications, mentoring and much more. These activities help to build self-esteem, confidence and life-skills in girls and as well as helping to direct them towards setting and reaching their own goals in a fun, inclusive environment. So far, she has coached and developed over 700 young women into professional clubs, colleges and work placements. Recently she partnered with London FA, providing Level 1 coaching qualifications and reintegrating women into sport. Francesca currently runs the programme in The Royal Docks Community School, East London, alongside summer camps and residentials.

I literally cannot believe I have won The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever Award. It is such an honour and a massive encouragement to continue the work I am doing with the girls. My dream now is to see Goals4Girls grow and expand across London and beyond.” 
Francesca Brown

The Pride of Britain Awards ceremony will be broadcast on ITV1 on Tuesday 1st November at 8pm.