"When I was 14 I realised I felt different to other girls my age and I began to question my gender. I made the difficult decision to come out as transgender a couple of years later which my family struggled to accept as I began to live as a man.

"This coupled with struggles with my mental health meant I didn’t get the grades I wanted at GCSE and when I was studying to retake them my mental health deteriorated further and I was hospitalised for four months.

"I was so anxious – I didn’t want to leave the house and the thought of using public transport to get anywhere was terrifying. I was self-harming regularly and couldn’t see a future for myself.

"The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge programme (now known as the Explore programme) was suggested to me and I saw it as an opportunity to change things for the better. I was nervous to begin with but the programme pushed me outside my comfort zone and helped me start to believe in myself again.

I’m now on a path I never dreamed I’d be on. I no longer self-harm, my relationship with my family has improved and I’ve moved to London to study Mental Health Nursing at university. I’m really excited for what’s next!

Duncan Painter, Chief Executive Officer, Ascential says: 

Congratulations Jay – you are an inspiration and a shining example of the impact of The Prince’s Trust’s work. We wish you all the best for the future.