Things had become so bad for Ryan, 23, from County Antrim that he tried to take his own life. He had faced bullying, intimidation and harassment on a daily basis at school because of his learning disability.

As a result he lost his confidence and social skills after being removed from school in favour of home schooling. Then, when he became homeless he  got caught up in illegal activities and drugs.

Ryan says:

Every day was like a dead end. There was nothing good in my life and nothing to look forward to. I got very, very depressed and wanted to die. I was in a very dark place.

A hostel referred Ryan to Fairbridge, a programme from The Prince’s Trust and that helps enhance the motivation and confidence of young people who are struggling in life.

It took a lot of coaxing and one-to-one support from Fairbridge staff for Ryan to feel able to open up and start setting himself targets to work towards. Over time though, Ryan forged positive friendships, began building bridges with his family and discovered a talent and passion for working outdoors. His confidence, communication and resilience improved and he made significant life changes that saw him move into his own flat and develop solid independent living skills.

He started volunteering at Belfast Activity Centre (BAC) assisting instructors and now has an ever-increasing list of responsibilities at the centre. Happy to put the past behind him, Ryan looks forward to every day and sees his future as an instructor at BAC. 

Ryan says:

When I first came to The Prince’s Trust I was nervous, but my worker helped me communicate with people, make new friends and realise what I can do. If it wasn’t for them, I would be basically in a grave or lying in a ditch somewhere, but instead I am at BAC successfully living the dream it’s awesome.