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

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. 

Caroline Wales, winner of our Leeds Young Achiever Award 2017

Caroline Wales

“The blackouts and memory loss started when I was at secondary school. My confidence was already in tatters from being bullied throughout primary school, but now I was being accused of faking my condition and that made it so much worse. Turns out, I’m epileptic.

“I studied animal care at college and, even though I blacked out an entire year of learning, I managed to pass my exams. The next hurdle was finding work, but it was like I had this big sign over my head saying ‘Epileptic – don’t employ’. I got turned down at every interview.

“The job centre sent me on loads of courses I wasn’t interested in and I remember thinking Get into Retail would be the same. I convinced myself everyone would write me off once they knew about my epilepsy. But they didn’t. They gave me a chance! 

“To be honest, I was shocked by how much I enjoyed Get into Retail. My buddy was really patient and everyone – even the customers – made me feel valued. 

“I had to do a double take when I got offered a job at the end. I couldn’t quite believe it. Get into Retail helped me escape the limits of my condition and get on with my life. I’ve been at TK Maxx for two years now and I finally feel free.”

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Young Ambassador of the Year

The Young Ambassador Award, sponsored by KCOM, 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.

Young person holding a Prince's Trust Award

Dominic Loftus

“I was clinically deaf until the age of five, when an operation restored my hearing. It opened up a whole new world, but by then I was way behind everyone else in terms of my speech development and I stuck out like a sore thumb. It was pretty isolating.

“My mental health took more hits at secondary school. I experienced my darkest moments between the ages of 13 and 16 and tried to commit suicide on several occasions.

“The last time, I ended up in hospital and got told I was too fragile to take my A Levels. People were giving up on me.

“As soon as I left hospital, I joined Team. 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. And that’s why I became a Young Ambassador – to say ‘thank you’.

“Sometimes I can’t believe it was me standing up on stage telling people about my life, but it was, and it feels incredible.

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

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Enterprise Award 

The Enterprise Award, sponsored by NatWest, recognises young people who have overcome barriers and achieved success in creating a sustainable business or a community or social enterprise.

Young person holding a Prince's Trust Award

Ross Barr Hoyland

“When a close member of my family passed away, I got really down. Around the same time, I started developing feelings for my best friend. My depression grew darker then – nothing could stop my fear of being outed. And I was.

“I was so overcome with shame, I attempted suicide.”

“University wasn’t the fresh start I’d hoped for and, in my final year, I had a mental breakdown and left.”

“My family knew something was wrong and when my brother asked me outright if I was gay, I actually felt relieved. He was so supportive. I told the rest of my family that night by text and felt freer than I had done in years. That’s when I resolved not to lie down and die. My life was for living.

“I went back and completed my degree, and then I joined the Enterprise programme for help with starting my own knitwear business. A lot of people were down on the idea because I lacked experience, but The Prince’s Trust were different.

“For me, it wasn’t about a second chance, it was about getting as many chances as it takes to make your dreams come true. And that’s what The Prince’s Trust gave me. It feels so surreal saying this, but I’m a successful designer with my own brand – Ross Barr. It’s even stocked in Harrods!”

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Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award, sponsored by All Steels Trading, recognises young people who, despite having faced substantial personal obstacles, are in sustainable employment as a result of a Prince’s Trust programme.

Young person holding a Prince's Trust Award

Tara Joe Nortcliffe

“Me and school never really got on, so when my mum was diagnosed with leukaemia, I completely rebelled and refused to sit my exams.

“I started working at a chip shop and volunteering at a riding school for the disabled in between college, but when mum died I quit them all. 

“I lost all direction and was constantly joining and dropping out of different courses. I thought it’d be the same on Team.

“I arrived with this bravado – I argued, was disruptive, and was always late. I wanted to appear confident and carefree. I was anything but. Then one day I got really upset and, despite how I’d acted, everyone was really nice to me and it made me realise they had become my friends. 

“Team holds so many good memories for me – our community project at the boxing club, my work placement at a care home, getting four qualifications. But the best was realising I didn’t need to pretend anymore – I could just be myself.

“I’m no longer a rule breaker. I’m someone who sits and listens and wants to help people, and I’ve started a whole new chapter in my life living in my own flat and working full time as a carer. I’m proud of who I’ve become and I think mum would be too.”

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Community Impact Award

The Community Impact Award, sponsored by CNG, recognises the positive contribution young people make to their local community.

Young people in a group photo at The Prince's Trust Awards

Dearne Team 2

Connor Simpson said: “We wanted to do a project that would stretch and test our skills as well as benefit as many people in our community as possible, but we couldn’t find anything we all agreed on so we went for a walk to clear our heads and came across Manvers Lake.

“It was obvious it had potential to be a nice spot, but it was badly overgrown and, when we asked around, we learned that it was maintained by two volunteers who were swamped with coordinating events and water-sport clubs.

“We knew that, if we could get it looking nice for the summer, lots of people would benefit from it.

“Manvers Lake is spread over two kilometres of woodland, fields and pathways, so clearing it was a massive task. There was so much rubbish – bottles, bike parts, shopping trolleys; by the end of day one, we’d collected more than 30 bags of it and had only scratched the surface. By the time we’d finished, we had more than 100.

“We then made a nature trail, which the local children love, and set up a Facebook page where around 100 locals signed up to help keep Manvers Lake clean and tidy. We couldn’t have asked for a better result.”

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Breakthrough Award

The Breakthrough Award, sponsored by HSBC, recognises the progress of young people in overcoming barriers and developing new skills.

Young person holding a Prince's Trust Award

Amy May Anderson

“I lost my youngest sister when I was 10. It deeply affected my family and us remaining siblings were eventually separated. I initially went to live with my dad, then moved in with my sister. At the time, I was also bullied at school which knocked her confidence.

“I was exposed to a group of men who forced me to smoke cannabis and groomed me for sexual exploitation. I was too scared to tell anyone.

“When I was 15, my family and I were evicted and re-housed.  Added to that I had other personal problems which made me feel really low and I eventually attempted suicide.

“Two years later, I was made to take responsibility for my siblings – it was exhausting. I sought refuge in drugs which I was given in exchange for sex.

"That lifestyle took its toll and I ended up being sectioned twice. What had happened to me? I'd gone from being a normal, happy-go-lucky kid to this. I hated myself.

“My drugs support worker suggested Get Started with Boxing. It was hardcore but I liked the routine and, although my body ached, my mind felt clearer. It was freeing and helped me focus on my future, not my past.

“So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve joined Team and hope to inspire other females to reach for the stars because, if you try hard enough, like I’m doing, you can make it.”

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Educational Achiever of the Year

The Educational Achiever Award, sponsored by Wilko, recognises young people who have overcome barriers, developed new skills and improved their education prospects.

Young person holding a Prince's Trust Award

Courtney Mitchell

"I got told I'd be a 'nobody, forever'. Mum knew something was wrong with me, but the teachers just thought I liked being violent and disruptive. I got expelled from two schools, put on a reduced timetable and eventually I was diagnosed with ADHD.

"The medication I received worked and, for the first time ever, I was able to focus. But those I thought were my friends didn't like it. They made every day at school torture for me and made me afraid to leave my own house. I tried reaching out to them, but discovered they were planning to ambush me and beat me up. I was heartbroken.

"I changed schools again and started Achieve. I didn't get stuck in until my second year when I got a new teacher, Mrs Howarth. She was amazing and inspired me to do well. I joined the school council, and lobbied the head teacher to let pupils use their mobile phones at lunchtime. Then, for our careers module, I did a placement in the school office.

"Because of Achieve, I got the space I needed to learn and worked out what I want to do in life. So, when I've completed my GCSEs and level 2 Achieve certificate, I'm going to college to study Business Administration. I'm not a nobody, I'm a somebody. And I'm making my life amazing."

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