HRH The Prince of Wales travelled to Rotherham last week to meet young people who have turned their lives around with our support. His Royal Highness visited Dearne Community Fire Station, where we partner with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue to deliver the Team programme to local young people.

One of the young people who had the honour of meeting His Royal Highness was Dominic Loftus. Dominic, 18, from Bradford, had been diagnosed as clinically deaf until the age of five, when a life-changing operation restored his hearing.

It opened up a whole new world, but by that age I was way behind everyone else in terms of my speech development and stuck out like a sore thumb. It was pretty isolating.

He struggled to fit in at secondary school too, and ended up in an abusive relationship which, along with troubles at home, significantly impacted his mental wellbeing.

I experienced my darkest moments between the ages of 13 and 16 and tried to commit suicide on several occasions. When I didn’t get the GCSE results I wanted, I felt like I’d let everyone down. I attempted suicide again and ended up in hospital where I got told I was too fragile to take my A Levels. People were giving up on me.

Almost immediately after he was discharged from hospital, Dominic joined Team, a 12-week personal development course that develops the confidence and employability skills of unemployed young people.

"It was exciting. I was a fish in new water and loved everything about it. Team made me see life differently. I made friends and found the strength to take back control of my life."

I’m taking my A Levels now and then I plan to go to university. I’m following my dreams because I’m back in charge of my life. No one else, just me.

As part of the visit, His Royal Highness met young people currently on the Team programme, took part in a discussion group with former course members and witnessed a role play scenario carried out by Team youngsters with the help of fire station staff.

Clare Crabb, North Regional Director at The Prince’s Trust, said:

The Trust works hard to help young people reach their potential and we have plans to reach even more. We are delighted that HRH The Prince of Wales is visiting Dearne Community Fire Station and hearing first-hand from young people whose lives have been transformed by the support they’ve received through the Team programme.