The Prince's Trust Awards in Belfast
On 24th October 2017 we celebrated in style at the Titanic Belfast in Northern Ireland for The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards.
The awards reception, hospitality and entertainment was kindly sponsored by Titanic Quarter Limited.
Each young person who has been nominated for a Prince's Trust Award has a unique story. Be inspired by our award winners.
- Young Achiever of the Year
- Young Ambassador of the Year
- Enterprise Award
- Rising Star Award
- Community Impact Award
- Breakthrough Award
- Educational Achiever of the Year
The Young Achiever of the Year award, sponsored by Homesense, recognises the success of young people getting into employment, training or education and overcoming substantial barriers to transform their lives.
“I went into foster care with my brother when I was three days old. It was meant to be temporary, but when my birth mum was murdered it became permanent.
“We were happy growing up, but then things went wrong. My brother died, then six months later my mum died, and then my gran. I couldn’t handle it. I got involved with drugs and a violent boyfriend, I was arrested... I was way out of control. And I knew it.
“My Dad was so worried, it affected his health. I thought my behaviour was going to make him have a heart attack and I couldn’t face losing him as well. So I went to the Job Centre and they told me about The Prince’s Trust and Make Your Mark.
“When I heard I’d got a place, it was the first time I’d ever felt accepted.
“I asked loads of questions and learned as much as I could about how the store ran. But the best part was working in the café. That’s where I work now; because when the course finished, I got offered a job there.
“I’d probably be dead if I hadn’t done Make Your Mark. But now the old me is back, and life is looking great.”
The Young Ambassador Award, sponsored by Shredbank, recognises young people who are exceptional Young Ambassadors for The Trust, these young people volunteer their time to share their personal experiences and inspire others.
“My dad died when I was 14.He ran his own business and we depended on it as a family, and I knew that if I didn’t try to run it myself, it would close down.
“But because of the demands of the business, I stopped seeing my friends and got depressed. I even thought about suicide.
“When I was 22, the business took a downturn and I had to make myself redundant. I spent the next nine-months working towards starting a car cleaning business, but couldn’t get planning permission. It felt like the die had been cast.
“That’s when I got referred his advisor at the Job Centre in Coleraine to Make Your Mark. After that, life just started going right. I got work with Marks & Spencer, was elected as a representative for Coleraine's Business Involvement Group, and later got on Marks & Spencer’s Trainee Management Programme.
"I wanted to help other young people move their lives forwards with The Prince’s Trust, so I became a Young Ambassador.
"Being a Young Ambassador was an amazing experience. I had to work through my nerves, but once I’d done my first speech, it got easier and easier. I spoke at so many events and even co-hosted an awards ceremony. It was incredible a made me realise that it’s not what you achieve, it’s what you overcome that defines you and your career.”
The Enterprise Award, sponsored by Ulster Bank, recognises young people who have overcome barriers and achieved success in creating a sustainable business or a community or social enterprise.
“I was put on long term sick leave after being diagnosed with post natal depression. I struggled every day and although I knew something had to change, I couldn’t see how I could find a job that could fit around the demands of my children.
"I was at home for two and a half years and then one night my husband and I realised that self employment could be the answer.
“I’m an experienced graphic designer and knew I wanted to do something to make people feel good, so I did some research and decided to start a semi-permanent make-up business.
"The Jobs and Benefits Office put me in touch with The Prince's Trust so I could go on Enterprise.
“Four months later – with a £500 grant from The Trust and guidance from my brilliant business mentor, Dwayne - I started treating my first clients from a rented therapy room. Business has grown so much, I’ve opened a clinic in Portadown - Precision Face and Body Clinic - where I can work the hours I want, and earn enough to pay our bills.
"I'm not cured of depression, but I find it much easier to be positive now, and I can't thank The Prince's Trust and my mentor enough for helping me get where I am today."
The Rising Star Award, sponsored by Devenish Nutrition, recognises young people who, despite having faced substantial personal obstacles, are in sustainable employment as a result of a Prince’s Trust programme.
“People pointed and stared at me at school after things fell apart at home. They made me feel like an outcast. Mondays were always the worst because I had to face it all again
“Secondary school was just as bad. I hated every second of every day at that place and left before taking any exams. I didn’t know who I was anymore and felt sick at the thought of leaving the house, embarrassed by what people would think of me.”
“When my sister realised I’d started self harming, she got me to go to the doctor. I started seeing a councillor, too, and then went to Fairbridge.
“Fairbridge gave me a purpose in life. I was trying new things and making friends – it was like being a child again, but better.”
“After that I did Get into Retail. My buddy helped me a lot and when store’s deputy director said how far I’d come during his end of course speech, it was the first time I’d ever felt like I’d made a difference.
“I work at New Look permanently now and do you know what’s at the top of my CV? ‘An articulate, presentable and motivated individual who possesses the ability and confidence to work with a variety of people and in a range of environments.’ Because that’s who I am. THIS IS ME!”
The Community Impact Award, sponsored by Lidl, recognises the positive contribution young people make to their local community.
Pathways Project Shankill Road
“People used to go the memorial garden to remember people they had lost to addiction and suicide.”
“It used to look nice and bright, but when we saw it, it looked forgotten. We thought it was sad that it had become so overgrown and shabby and voted to spruce it up and make it a sanctuary again.”
“We had to raise money to fund whatever community project we did, so we gave up the snacks we were given every week by the Achieve club, and used the money instead to buy materials like wood stain for the benches.” Jonathan McCracken
“Our families realised how important the project was to us, and they helped us out, too. My dad even made us a cross to put into the garden.”
“People were always stopping by to ask us what we were doing and it felt good to be able to talk to them about it and show them the plants we were planting. I never knew I could feel like this. I have never felt more respected in my own community – doing something special for them made us feel part of it.”
“The garden looks brilliant now; everyone likes it. It’s the peaceful, colourful space it was always intended to be.” Lauren Martin
The Breakthrough Award, sponsored by HSBC, recognises the progress of young people in overcoming barriers and developing new skills.
"I started off just smoking cannabis every weekend, then every day. And then I started on harder drugs. I thought they were helping me with my confidence; but they weren't.
“There was always this never ending battle in my head. I was overweight and got bullied at school. I got into fights, I couldn't concentrate. I felt alone and blamed my parents. I stopped going to school and even tried taking my own life. The only thing I cared about was where I was getting my drugs from.
“Eventually I ended up in hospital where I started rehabilitation, and it planted the seed of change.
“I was introduced to The Prince’s Trust through rehab, and thought I’d give Fairbridge a try. It was a brilliant experience. What I achieved there gave me hope for bigger and better things. In fact, I’ve done a marathon and gained my Levels 2 in English and in Youth Work since then!
“In the long-term, I’d like to help other people turn their lives around, maybe as a counsellor or youth worker. But right now, I have a reason to get up and out. I am enjoying life and I know that there is more to it than drugs."
The Educational Achiever Award, sponsored by Belfast City Council, recognises young people who have overcome barriers, developed new skills and improved their education prospects.
“Mum’s health wasn’t great, and I remember spending a lot of time in my room worrying.
"I had anxiety attacks, and even though I had my granny, I felt alone and started self harming. Then granny died, and I had to go and live with my dad over the border.
“Things got worse then. I stayed away from my friends and from school and ended up being registered as a 'school refuser'. I was scared about what would happen to me; about what kind of future I’d have. Then one day I just got up, went into school and offloaded everything to my teacher, Mrs Walsh.
"She listened and reassured me, and said I could come back to school gradually and join the Achieve club.
"Achieve helped me believe in myself. It made me see that if you want something that much, you just need to put your mind to it. That’s what I did. I gained certificates in child protection, first aid and youth leadership, took my GCSEs and started working as a youth leader. I’m studying my Level 3 in Childcare at college now.
“And the best thing is that I don’t worry about my future anymore because I know I’ll make it good.”