Sorrell researched her nearest Prince’s Trust programme online after seeing the L’Oréal Paris campaign in the news. She has an interest in fashion and beauty and was drawn in by the campaign’s focus of self-confidence and self-worth, things she had always struggled with.
Sorrell then travelled for an hour, to a town she had never visited on her own, to attend her Fairbridge induction meeting. This in itself was a big step for her, who struggled to cope in new or crowded environments since being bullied, and considering she had been diagnosed with ME.
Sorrell was attending college when she started to struggle with her concentration and energy levels. This affected both her studies and her personal life, leading to bullying and losing friends. After a lengthy medical process of tests and consultations, she was diagnosed with ME. She was working in a restaurant when her tiredness became too much, and she took a month off to recover.
However, the recovery did not go as planned, and Sorrell eventually had to leave her job as she was unable to work. Her inability to take part in most of the important things in her life, including working, travelling, and seeing friends, had a bad impact on her mental health. She fell into a slump that she felt was impossible to get out of and began to suffer with anxiety and depression.
But, inspired by L’Oréal and determined to beat her illness, Sorrell joined the Fairbridge programme, a personal development course that builds the confidence and employability skills of young people.
She immediately set herself the goal of taking part in activities she normally wouldn’t, and challenging herself to start conversations with people she normally wouldn’t talk to. Sorrell also stated that she wanted to feel confident in herself so she would be able to stand up for herself and 'not be walked all over again'.
Sorrell created good relationships with every member of the group, with those running the programme impressed with her ability to get on with all types of people, and comfortably deal with challenging behaviour.
Fairbridge Programme Executive Andrew Elliott recalls:
By the end of the first week, Sorrell had proved to herself and everyone around her that she was capable of putting in hard work with exceptional results. This included spending all her time with a completely unknown group of people and taking part in challenging activities.
Andrew says: "None of her peers could tell that Sorrell was continuously dealing with an illness that often manifests itself in severe and persistent exhaustion."
Sorrell's confidence had been boosted to such an extent that she decided to apply for apprenticeships. She was placed as a leader on the programme, and was pushed to be a central, vocal member of the group. And it wasn't long before her hard work paid off when, after three years of being out of work and education, she landed herself a Level 3 Early Years Education apprenticeship.
She is now nine months in and enjoying every minute, with the high-intensity workload being her favourite part.
Andrew continued: "I believe Fairbridge worked so well for Sorrell because she was inspired and motivated from the beginning. The L’Oréal link gave her the confidence to convert her frustration and worry into a positive force."