Youth charity The Prince’s Trust helps disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track.
It supports 11 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed and those struggling at school and at risk of exclusion. Many of the young people helped by The Trust are in or leaving care, facing
issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or have been in trouble with the law.
The Prince’s Trust Awards have become the highlight of their year; it is their opportunity to pay tribute to the bravery, determination and sheer hard work that our young people demonstrate. Here a just a few of the Lancashire and Yorkshire finalists…
“People saw my disability, not my potential”
Hashmina Rahman – North West Rising Star winner
Hashmina Rahman, 21, from Accrington, has won the North West Rising Star award.
Hashmina was bullied at school because of her race and her disability.
“I have a rare tissue disorder and rods in my spine which can be painful and limit my mobility. I also have obstructive sleep apnoea, which means I rely on a breathing machine at night. That – and my race – made me an easy target for bullies at school. Those years of my life were just awful.
“People saw my disability, not my potential. So I never had many friends and no-one seemed inclined to employ me, despite my Graphic Design qualification.”
A friend suggested Hashmina join Fairbridge – a programme from The Prince’s Trust that builds the confidence and motivation of disadvantaged young people.
“I knew I would struggle because it was activity based, but I didn’t want my disability to dictate what I could and couldn’t do anymore. I wanted to find ways to work around it – and the people at Fairbridge showed me how.
“Life is like a ladder – you have got to work your way from the bottom to the top. You can’t be afraid to fall, because you can always climb up again. So after Fairbridge, I went on the Team programme, which was even more challenging and inspiring.”
Team, a Prince’s Trust programme, builds the confidence and employability skills of unemployed young people.
“I left with a qualification, new friends and a job at a t-shirt printing company where I’m now an apprentice.
“I can’t express how much happier I am following my time with The Prince’s Trust. I’m married and, one day, I hope to use my qualification in Tourism to become an Immigration Officer at Manchester Airport.”
Hashmina has recently become a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador to support The Trust, inspire other young people, influence public decision-makers and engage donors and the media.
Jack Lucas – Breakthrough award winner
Jack, 19, from Chorley, had a difficult upbringing and said, “I went off the rails. I got into fights, left home, and sofa-surfed whenever I could. When I couldn’t, I slept in the park. Sleeping out in a place like that in the winter, it really affects you.
“Dad heard about Team on the radio and said I should go. I needed something positive to focus on, and that’s exactly what Team is.”
“I have so many memories from that programme, like going on a night walk during our residential and helping those at the back. And telling the instructor that I wanted their job! My Team leader sat me down with the instructor at the end and talked me through the skills and
qualifications I’d need. I was so taken aback that they believed I could do it. That alone gave me a massive confidence boost.
“Then, when my mental health declined during a work placement at the activity centre, The Prince’s Trust helped me through it and made sure I got another chance.”
Making the most of that second chance, Jack worked hard to impress and landed an interview at the end for an activity instruction apprenticeship. He used a Prince’s Trust Development Award – funding that removes the financial barriers that would otherwise prevent young people from accessing work, employment or training – to pay for transport to and from the interview, and the rest is history.
“The Prince’s Trust put their neck out for me and made me believe in myself, and now it’s like I’ve come full circle because I’m a live-in apprentice at the activity centre, making my life a success by helping others!”
David Richardson, Educational Achiever of the Year award winner
David, 16, from Warrington, was in shock when he was split up from his siblings and moved into care.
“We went into foster care because of problems at home. It was good to have stability, but I’d always looked after my brothers and sisters and now we’d been separated. I missed them. I still miss them. And I was sad and frustrated.”
“I found it hard to trust people and I’d flare up in class. I’d just had enough of being told what to do.”
He became disengaged with school and was encouraged to join the Achieve programme – a Prince’s Trust course that builds the confidence and motivation of pupils who are struggling at school.
“The way they teach on Achieve is different to how I was being taught in class. It’s more relaxed and there are way more activities. You do things there that you wouldn’t normally do and discover you’ve got talents you never even knew about. And that gives you a kick.
“I got a taste for landscape gardening during Achieve. In fact, I managed to get a work placement at a landscape gardening company which has evolved into a Saturday job!”
Life at school has calmed down too. David now has a 100% attendance record, and is a polite, diligent and popular member of his year. He is expected to pass his core GCSEs and other vocational qualifications, and has been given an unconditional offer to study Horticulture at college.
“It was a bit of a rocky start for me, but thanks to the encouragement I was given and the variety of skills I learned on Achieve, I’m much happier. And I’ve been offered a permanent job at the landscaping company once I’ve completed my second year at college.
How good is that!”
Amy May Anderson, Breakthrough award winner
Amy May, 24, from Leeds, was 10 when her youngest sister died.
“As a family, we were deeply affected, and us remaining siblings were eventually separated. I initially went to live with my dad, then moved in with my sister. At the time, I was bullied at school.”
Confused and lonely, she travelled back to Leeds to be reunited with her mother, but ended up seeking refuge with a neighbour.
“They kindly fed me and let me stay for a while before going back to my family.”
Life carried on that way for a while until Amy May was exposed to a group of men.
“They forced me to smoke cannabis and groomed me for sexual exploitation. I was too scared to tell anyone.
“When I was 15, my family and I were evicted and re-housed. Added to other personal problems which made me feel really low and I eventually attempted suicide.”Two years later, Amy May had to take responsibility for her siblings.
“It was exhausting. I sought refuge in drugs which I was given in exchange for sex. That kind of lifestyle took its toll and I ended up being sectioned twice. What had happened to me? I’d gone from being a normal, happy-go-lucky kid to this. I hated myself.”
Her drugs support worker suggested she join Get Started with Boxing, a Prince’s Trust programme that builds the confidence and motivation of unemployed young people through boxing.
“It was hardcore but I liked the routine and, although my body ached, my mind felt clearer. It
was freeing and helped me focus on my future, not my past.
“So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve joined Team and hope to inspire other females to reach for the stars because, if you try hard enough, like I’m doing, you can make it.”
Amy May is now looking for volunteer roles within animal shelters and zoos which she hopes will bring her one step closer to a career working with animals.
Ross Barr-Hoyland, Enterprise award winner
Ross, 28, from Wakefield, had an idyllic childhood but was hit hard by a series of events, including a family tragedy. He then began struggling with his feelings for his male best friend at school.
“My depression grew darker – nothing could stop my fear of being outed. But I was. I left my phone at school one afternoon, and two lads found it and discovered my secret. I lost my best friend over that and was so overcome with shame, I attempted suicide.”
University gave Ross a chance for a fresh start, but a bad relationship saw him fall into a deeper depression and attempt suicide a second time. He had a mental breakdown in his final year and left.
“I couldn’t take it anymore. My family knew something was wrong and when my brother asked me outright if I was gay, I actually felt relieved. He was so supportive. I told the rest of my family that night by text and felt freer than I had done in years. That’s when I resolved not to lie down and die. My life was for living.
“I went back and completed my degree, and then I joined Enterprise for help with starting my own men’s knitwear business.”
Enterprise is a four-day intensive programme from The Prince’s Trust that helps unemployed young people start their own business.
“A lot of people were down on the idea because I lacked experience, but The Prince’s Trust were different.
“For me, it wasn’t about a second chance, it was about getting as many chances as it takes to make your dreams come true. And that’s what The Prince’s Trust gave me.
“It took me ages to get the business model right and it hasn’t been a bed of roses, but I’ve weathered the storm and now I’ve done it. It feels so surreal saying this, but I’m a successful designer with my own brand – Ross Barr. It’s even stocked in Harrods!”
Ross is also in talks about his knitwear with Bergdorf Goodman and Saks. He recently became a Young Ambassador for The Trust.
Tara Joe Nortcliffe, Rising Star award winner
Tara, now 19, from Barnsley, was 15 when her mother was diagnosed with leukaemia.
“I didn’t take it well. Me and school never really got on but, after mum’s diagnosis, I completely rebelled and refused to sit my exams.”
She left school with no qualifications and began working at a chip shop. She also volunteered at a riding school for the disabled in between studying for college. But, when her mother died, he quit them all, moved in with her grandma and signed on to help pay her way.
“I lost all direction and was constantly joining and dropping out of different courses. My Job Coach at the job centre said I should go on this programme called Team. I said ‘ok’, but I expected it’d end in the same way as all the others.”
“I arrived with this bravado – I argued, was disruptive and was always late. I wanted to appear to be confident and carefree – I was anything but. Then one day I got really upset, and despite how I’d acted, everyone was really nice to me and it made me realise they had
become my friends.
“Team holds so many good memories for me; our community project at the boxing club, my work placement at a care home, getting four qualifications. But the best was realising I didn’t need to pretend anymore – I could just be myself.
“I’m no longer a rule breaker. I’m someone who sits and listens and wants to help people, and I’ve started a whole new chapter in my life – living in my own flat and working full time as a carer. I’m proud of who I’ve become and I think mum would be too.”
Dominic Loftus, Young Ambassador award winner
Dom, 18, from Bradford, had been diagnosed as clinically deaf until the age of five, when a life-changing operation restored his hearing.
“It opened up a whole new world, but by that age I was way behind everyone else in terms of my speech development and stuck out like a sore thumb. It was pretty isolating.”
“I’m back in charge of my life. No one else, just me”
He struggled to fit in at secondary school too, and ended up in an abusive relationship which, along with troubles at home, significantly impacted his mental wellbeing.
“I experienced my darkest moments between the ages of 13 and 16 and tried to commit suicide on several occasions. When I didn’t get the GCSE results I wanted, I felt like I’d let everyone down. I attempted suicide again and ended up in hospital where I got told I was too
fragile to take my A-Levels. People were giving up on me.”
Almost immediately after Dom was discharged from hospital, he joined Team.
“It was exciting: I was a fish in new water and loved everything about it. Team made me see life differently. I made friends and found the strength to take back control of my life. And
that’s why I became a Young Ambassador – to say ‘thank you’.
“Sometimes I can’t believe it was me standing up on stage telling people about my life, but it was, and it feels incredible.”
Dom helped raise more than £200,000 by speaking out at fundraising events as a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador and received a number of job offers as a direct result. But rather than accept the offers, Dom chose a different path for himself.
“I’m taking my A-Levels now and then I plan to go to university. I’m following my dreams because I’m back in charge of my life. No-one else, just me.”