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Conwy teen receives prestigious Prince’s Trust Award

Rhys, 16, from Conwy has been named as the winner of an award from The Prince’s Trust after struggling family moving homes and loss of contact with his school and friends during the Covid 19 Pandemic.

Rhys struggled with anxiety and thoughts of self-harm. Diagnosed with ASD in April 2020, Rhys withdrew from social settings including education.

The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards recognise young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community. Rhys scooped the Ascential Education Award recognising a young person who has demonstrated significant personal growth and overcome barriers to improve their future through a Prince’s Trust Education programme.​

Rhys’ journey began with The Prince’s Trust’s Achieve programme after being referred to Milestones Academy through his previous schoolteacher.  This academy is a Pupil Referral Unit that supports young people who are struggling with school, providing an environment to navigate challenges and find a path to personal growth.

Despite his challenges in education, the programme gave Rhys the desire to push his boundaries as he completed his GCSEs, BTEC and Prince’s Trust certificate. His skills, confidence, and ability to now open led him to reconcile with his past, showing gratitude to his former teachers who directed him to The Prince’s Trust and Milestones Group.

On his journey with The Prince’s Trust, Rhys said:

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“I’ve been able to do more than I can imagine with the correct support. I never thought I’d be this determined to do anything in life – I value learning now more than ever and I understand the importance of it.”

Encouraged by his youth development leader and mentor, Rhys began to consider what he could do for others, marking a shift on his journey. Pursuing his Public Services Level 3 course, Rhys is now firm on joining the police force wanting to contribute to society.

“I think really seeing the impact that The Prince’s Trust has on the community and wanting to also be that difference really helped me make the decision of wanting to be a police officer. I’d like to give back what I’ve received.”

“Success involves overcoming challenges, taking chances, and seizing new opportunities. We can influence the world for the better and reach our full potential with the help of Princes Trust.”

Philip Thomas, CEO Ascential, Chair LIONS said: “A huge well done and congratulations to Rhys on winning the Ascential Education Award. It’s so inspiring to see how Rhys has made such positive changes in his life, and gone onto to achieve their own success in the process.”

TK Maxx and Homesense (TJX) have been a partner of The Prince’s Trust since 2013 and are one of The Trust’s largest delivery partners of the Get into Retail programme. This is a two-to-six-week course that develops young people’s skills in the retail sector and supports them into positive outcomes in retail. TJX have also supported the Prince’s Trust Achieve programme since 2016, working with schools across the UK to build the confidence and teamwork skills of young people as they prepare for life after education.

Youth charity The Prince’s Trust gives young people the skills and confidence to get their lives on track. Three in four young people helped by The Prince’s Trust move into work, training or education.