The Prince's Trust Awards in Newcastle
On 1 November 2017 we'll be celebrating in style at The Discovery Museum in Newcastle for The Prince's Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards.
ch 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.
“They said I wouldn’t live past 15; I’m 27 now; but back then my cystic fibrosis felt like a death warrant.
“I had to take loads of time off school for treatment and got told I’d never amount to anything, but I got to college and worked for my uncle in his car body repair shop until my mam got breast cancer, just after dad died from bowel cancer. I left to look after her.
“Mam beat the cancer, but I got pneumonia, and took a year to get better. Five months after I started back at work, the business nose-dived and I had to sign on at the job centre where they said no-one would employ me because of my condition.
“I wanted to prove them wrong, but got sick again and spent a long time in hospital.
“I joined Get into Retail after seeing a documentary about The Prince’s Trust. It wasn’t like other training courses I’d been on; it gave me a sense of achievement and let me prove that I could work, and work well.
“The Prince’s Trust and Marks & Spencer didn’t label me by my condition, they gave me a chance and now I work at Marks & Spencer full time. I’ve even been able to buy my first car.”
The Young Ambassador Award, sponsored by The Launch Group, 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.
“I had a breakdown when I was 14. I blamed myself for being bullied at school and felt worthless. So I self-harmed and attempted suicide. I then developed OCD and later developed anorexia.
“I ended up in hospital twice; at one point my heartbeat had dropped to 18 beats per minute. My body was shutting down.
“When I left hospital six months later, I struggled. Physically I was well, but I didn’t know how to face life on my own.
“My occupational therapist encouraged me to join Fairbridge, and it was the Fairbridge team who pulled me out of that empty space I was in and made me want to strive for a fulfilling future.
“Even when I left, I knew they were only ever a phone call away.
“Life is hard enough, but add stigma into the mix and it can feel unbearable. I became a Young Ambassador because I wanted to spread the word about The Trust’s work and help break down the stigma surrounding eating disorders, particularly in young men like me.
“Being a Young Ambassador has made me who I am today: confident, employed and proud of what I have achieved.”
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.
“I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t fascinated by birds of prey. I struggled to concentrate at school, and bunked off a lot so I could go to the Bird of Prey Centre. I told them I was on study breaks so they didn’t ask questions, and I always got home before mum so I could get rid of any letters or voicemails from school.
“When I got found out, I was expelled. No other school would take me, so I was sent to this school for children with behavioural issues where I was diagnosed with social anxiety.
“I left at 15 to work at the Centre, and after doing a stint of falconry displays in Canada, I decided to try starting my own business using the 25 birds of prey I’d already reared and trained, and kept in my mum’s garden.
“Enterprise taught me a lot. I never imagined I could start my own business, let alone turn my hobby into one, but thanks to The Prince’s Trust, that’s exactly what I’ve done!
“They believed in me and made me see I could do it. Now I have this growing pest control and ‘hawk walks’ business, North East Falconry, that’s more than quadrupled its original projections. Thanks to The Trust I feel like I’m in total control of my life.”
The Rising Star Award, sponsored by Barclaycard, recognises young people who, despite having faced substantial personal obstacles, are in sustainable employment as a result of a Prince’s Trust programme.
“Life felt like swings and roundabouts. When something went well, I felt brilliant. But when anything went wrong, it completely shattered my confidence and I felt useless at everything.
“My anxiety became really restrictive after my GCSEs – the gap between them and A Levels seemed huge and, on top of a relationship breakup, my confidence just evaporated.
“Team was a massive pick-me-up. I moved to London to study fashion journalism afterwards, but it was a completely different world and I couldn't handle it. So I went home and enrolled on Team again before going to university. But confidence issues put an end to that, too.
“People need to talk about mental health more. If I had, maybe things would have been different. But, back then, my anxiety was destroying any chance I had of a life.
“That realisation made me seek professional help. I got medication and started Get into Airport Services. I experienced many ups and downs on the course but refused to give in, and now I'm on a course I’m really enjoying that will help me get my dream job.
“Goodness knows where I’d be if it wasn't for The Trust. Thanks to them I felt able to face the world, and I realised that it’s ok to feel low and that, when I do, I won’t feel that way forever. Knowing that is the key to happiness.”
The Community Impact Award, sponsored by Bond Dickinson, recognises the positive contribution young people make to their local community.
“Even though we drew up a list of three causes we wanted to support, we lent towards MAIN because of the difficulties it had faced.
“MAIN helps people with disabilities, particularly autism, and had been supported by a Prince’s Trust team a year before us. They’d done some art installations for it, but soon afterwards the lease on its premises was revoked and MAIN had a month to find a new home.
“They couldn’t take the murals with them and although they wanted them redone, they’d been defrauded of £10,000, so couldn’t afford to hire an artist.
“We wanted to put things right, especially after we met some of the people that use MAIN, but we needed funding. So we put together this presentation and practiced and practiced, and, after pitching to UK Steel Enterprise, we were awarded £1,250.
“We used the money and £500 from MAIN to buy materials and painted murals with jungle and planet themes. They looked really good. We also built accessible raised flower beds from recycled scaffolding boards, which was really hard work because we had to manually take 18 tonnes of soil from a pile at the front of the building to fill each flower bed.
“I’d never really felt I’d achieved anything until we did this project – but this made me feel proud; we all did.”
The Breakthrough Award, sponsored by HSBC, recognises the progress of young people in overcoming barriers and developing new skills.
“Two years after my parents died, I was trafficked from Nigeria to Sudan. Aged 12, I was locked in a house with other children and beaten every day for four years. When I was 16, I was flown to London and abandoned at the airport.
“I was sent to various children’s refugee homes and settled in Stockton-on-Tees, where I met my girlfriend.
“Then my asylum application was refused and I got very down. I was made homeless and my benefits were stopped – I haven’t received benefits since 2012. But then my girlfriend fell pregnant, and finally I had happiness in my life.
“My asylum seeker status means I can’t get a job and I’m limited to what courses I can take, so I started volunteering at refugee centres and joined Get Started with Football after a friend told me about it at church.
“Get Started with Football was the most brilliant week of my life. I gained skills in leadership, communication and football coaching, and my self-confidence went from zero to boom!
“I’ve completed more football qualifications now and volunteer with the Middlesbrough FC Foundation. And I am also the proud father of two!
“At the moment, I am waiting for the Home Office to make their decision and will be so happy when I can finally earn my first wage!”
James has also been involved with Talent Match, a Big Lottery Fund initiative that is led by The Trust in the Middlesbrough area.
The Educational Achiever Award recognises young people who have overcome barriers, developed new skills and improved their education prospects.
“After moving to Stockton and switching schools I was bullied by my peers for being deaf and having learning difficulties. I joined a deaf club but found that a lot of the bullies from my school had also joined so I couldn’t get away from it.
“Maybe it was because I was new, maybe it was because I was different, but what they did to me made me want to stop going both to the club and to school altogether.
“When I went to college I used a communicator in every class. I was just too embarrassed to use my voice. I then went on the Achieve course because I wanted to get more qualifications.
“Achieve was great, not just because I liked the work but because it made me feel liked and valued. Sometimes I got to help others, and we had a laugh, which was great for my confidence. I started using my voice more. And now I speak far more than I use sign.
“I’m a better communicator and am more independent because of Achieve. It gave me the confidence to do a work placement and take control of my life, and now nothing can stop me! I want to get a job in retail, and am trying to get relevant experience that will make my CV stand out to employers!”