Two young women were honoured by HRH The Prince of Wales at The Prince's Trust and L'Oréal Paris Celebrate Success Awards ceremony in London in March.
Katey England and Laura Nuttall were two of just four young people from across the UK to be nominated for the L'Oréal Paris Young Achiever of the Year Award. The award recognises the success of young people in getting into employment, training or education and overcoming substantial barriers to transform their lives.
They were both honoured on stage by L'Oréal spokesmodel Cheryl Cole and hosts Kimberley Walsh and Steve Jones in front of a 1500-strong crowd at the Leicester Square Odeon.
Speaking at the ceremony, Cheryl said: "Today's awards have been incredibly moving and emotional. I am full of admiration for all the young people I've met today. Many of them have hit rock bottom but have had the strength of character to seek support from The Prince's Trust and get their lives back on track.
"I have been truly inspired by HRH The Prince of Wales and the work of his youth charity with the UK's most vulnerable young people. The Prince's Trust is an incredible charity and one I'm very passionate about supporting."
Katey, who is 23 and from Blackpool, won the overall prize after amazing the judging panel with her story of determination and dedication which has helped transform her life.
Before joining the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service's Prince's Trust Team programme in 2009, Katey had low confidence, low self esteem and she was in a downward spiral with nothing positive happening in her life. During the programme, Katey developed basic life skills including confidence, tolerance and communication. She also learnt many new skills, such as teamwork, first aid and leadership.
After receiving her award from Cheryl Cole, Katey said: "Just a few years ago, I was at rock bottom and had no hope at all. Now as a Young Ambassador I am able to show people how much The Prince's Trust has helped me. I attend Prince's Trust events and speak to corporate businesses. I want to make sure that the work of The Trust continues to reach those young people who need a second chance.
"I have so much more confidence now and I actually enjoy life. Without the help of The Prince's Trust and the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, I can honestly say I wouldn't be here now. I had the chance to get my life back, I took it and now I can help others who are where I was."
Laura, 20, from Sleaford, Lincolnshire, also impressed the judges with her inspirational story.
At the age of 16, Laura attempted to take her own life after feeling increasingly isolated and alone. With the help of Lincolnshire's Fire and Rescue Service's Prince's Trust Team programme, Laura has turned her life around and is now much more confident about what her future holds. Over the 12 week course, she conquered many fears, developing her confidence and self-esteem. She undertook a work placement at a local veterinary centre and was thrilled when her supervisor gave her a glowing report.
Laura is due to complete her A Levels in Psychology, Philosophy and English Language this summer so she can use her experiences and knowledge to help other young people. Laura has been offered a place to study psychology at York University this September.
Peter Holland, President of CFOA and Chief Fire Officer of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service says: "Katey and Laura have shown tremendous sprit and endeavour to complete The Prince's Trust Team programme and get their lives back on track. There are many superlatives that have been used to describe them; inspirational and courageous are two of them. There can be no doubt that Katey and Laura have both succeeded in the face of adversity with a never give up attitude and they are an outstanding example and inspiration for other young people.
"Furthermore, I want to pay tribute to the Fire and Rescue Service's Prince's Trust staff; this award shows highlights the achievements that Fire and Rescue Service's have achieved working with young people."
Posted: 15.12pm, 16.06.11, firstname.lastname@example.org