"I was at university studying nursing and went to bed as normal and woke the next morning unable to see out of my left eye. It was terrifying. Doctors treated me for what they thought was the cause, but I then lost the sight in my right eye."

Charlotte was later diagnosed with a genetic eye condition that has left her with clouded central vision and limited peripheral sight.

"My sight loss impacted on every part of my life. I could no longer study nursing, I became afraid to leave the house unaccompanied, and friendships drifted because people didn’t know how to treat me. I’d never felt more isolated."

Charlotte received practical support from The Royal Society for Blind Children, but what she craved was to be treated like everyone else, not as a person with a disability.

"I met someone from The Prince’s Trust at a job fair in Hackney and they talked to me about their Fairbridge programme. It sounded like my chance to show everyone that my sight loss didn’t mean I needed special treatment.

The programme helped me feel like an equal to others and I didn’t feel singled out because of my disability. I was pushed fully out of my comfort zone and was persuaded to apply for an 18 month apprenticeship with the Home Office which is where I’m working now. The interview process was tough, but I made it through.

"Fairbridge gave me the confidence to believe I can do whatever I want, and it gave me the freedom to know I can choose for myself. It’s completely changed my life."

Charlotte won the Delta Air Lines Rising Star Award at our London and South East Prince's Trust Awards in 2018 - an award which recognises young people who, despite having faced substantial personal obstacles, are in sustainable employment as a result of one of our programmes.

Earlier this year, Charlotte took part in a L'Oréal Paris All Worth It confidence session, delivered through our Fairbridge programme. She also features in our latest campaign focused on affirmations. 

"Taking part in a L’Oréal All Worth It session really helped me build on my confidence. It allowed me to feel confident in myself, how I communicate and how I build relationships with others."

My affirmation is ‘I am more than my disability’ because I don’t want this to define me. The Prince’s Trust helped me to feel like I was valued just as I am and to know my self-worth.