Lancashire Prince’s Trust helps ex-drug addict go from county lines to working at homeless charity
Luckily, building young people’s confidence and skills is just what the Prince’s Trust is all about. A youth charity that helps young people aged 11 to 30 get into jobs, education, and training, the trust is an invaluable resource, with one of their most efficacious mediums being their long association with the Fire and Rescue Service.
Built on community, social responsibility, and inclusiveness, The Fire Service Prince’s Trust Association works with young people from groups at particular risk of becoming involved in crime and disorder, arson and deliberate fire-setting, with fire Service staff imparting skills and knowledge to mould participants into effective future leaders and influential role models.
Morecambe-born Tom, 23, was one such participant. Having previously been living in supported housing after completing a drug rehabilitation programme, he joined Team, a 12-week personal development course with The Prince’s Trust delivered by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and started volunteering at a local homeless support charity.
“The Prince’s Trust helped me to see I could be a leader,” says Tom. “I took a few of the lads who were taking part in Team under my wing, as I could see they were starting to follow the same path I’d been down. The residential week of the programme in particular was really good for us all. We went up to stay at the Lake District for a few days.
“I’d always enjoyed outdoor activities before my drug addiction, so getting back into hiking and climbing was really good for me,” he adds. “Team helped me commit to things and believe in myself a bit more. A massive part of what motivates me now is wanting to help others who’ve had the same experiences as me to achieve what I have.”
Having completely turned his life around, Tom is now focused on giving back to his local community. Having helped others overcome addiction and homelessness through his volunteer work, he landed a job as a support worker in a children’s home providing advice, assistance, and support to young people.
Also now studying psychology and biology at college, Tom recently won the Watches of Switzerland Group Young Change Maker Award at the Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards in recognition of his amazing work. Having gone from rock bottom to the top of the world, he couldn’t be happier.
“It’s great seeing people make changes because of the advice I now give,” says Tom. “Team 100% helped me to get that job, as before I would never have had the confidence in myself that I needed for work. I’ve now moved on to a new job working with young people, which is really fulfilling my need and passion for supporting the youth of today.
“I am immensely thankful to The Prince’s Trust and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service for all the support that they’ve given me,” he adds. “They helped me along on the journey of finding my true self.”