Physically and sexually abused for years, Michelle, 23 from Southampton, suffered in silence, hating her life, and growing increasingly angry.

She was suspended from school for fighting, stayed out late smoking cannabis and was regularly picked up by police for anti-social behaviour.

She found respite in a restaurant job, but then her world came crashing down. Her nan was diagnosed with dementia, her friend died in an accident and the restaurant closed down. Spiralling into a severe depression and seeking refuge in drugs, Michelle lost control and started offending.

“ started to contemplate what life was about and at that point I didn’t care if I lived or died.

Two years later, Michelle was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. 

A local charity recommended she enrol on Get Started with Stewarding, a Prince’s Trust programme that is delivered in partnership with Southampton FC, and builds the confidence and motivation of disadvantaged young people through vocational training.

It was daunting going on the programme, especially because I was the only girl. But everyone was in the same boat as me, they wanted to change, and they were really nice, encouraging and were so positive about how I was doing. It helped me in so many ways.

Within just one week, Michelle had made huge advancements in both her social and personal development; her confidence had blossomed and she had earned her Level 2 Award in Understanding Stewarding at Spectator Events. But it was a one-to-one forward planning session that really grabbed Michelle’s imagination and she set herself the goal of becoming a youth worker.

Michelle left the course full of motivation. She secured work as a steward at Southampton FC, and began volunteering with several youth organisations. She is also researching mental health amongst young people and has become a Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust.

Without The Trust’s support, I would have carried on being self-destructive, with no future to look forward to. Instead I’m happy, sociable and I’m actually excited about where my life is going.