From an early age, Tiffany Ridd, 27 from Southampton, Hampshire, had to grow up fast. Acting as the main carer from the age of eight for her mother and finding herself homeless at 16 were just two of the issues she faced.

Despite this, she pursued her dream of a career in childcare and found a job in a nursery. 18 months later due to the reappearance of someone from her past, she had a complete breakdown, was signed off, and 12 months later tried to take her own life.

Referred to the Fairbridge programme, which gives disadvantaged young people the skills and confidence they need to change their lives for the better, Tiff was initially extremely nervous, but by the fourth day she began to feel safe and secure and realise that the programme could help her.

Fairbridge gave me back my life, but a much better life than I ever thought I would have had before. It gave me the opportunity to be me rather than simply my mum’s carer or someone who just looked after children.

In the 12 months of the programme, Tiff took part in a wide range of activities, which gave her the confidence and self-belief to realise she was good at things other than childcare, and offered her the chance to rediscover who she was. Encouraged to fulfil her potential, she secured a place on a local university social work degree and has recently started her second year of study. In her spare time she also volunteers with her local church and has returned to help as a valued member of the Fairbridge team.

Thanks to The Prince’s Trust I am now full of self-confidence and am studying to pursue a worthwhile career that I know I will love. Once I have finished my degree I hope that I can make a difference to other people, just like the Fairbridge staff did for me.