County duo celebrate success in a royal awards ceremony

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Two young people from Kettering and Rothwell, who have turned their lives around with help from youth charity, The Prince’s Trust, were honoured at a royal awards ceremony on Wednesday November 7.

The Prince’s Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success Awards honour the achievements of disadvantaged young people supported by The Trust who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community.

Martin Meeuwissen, 26, from Rothwell, won the American Express Breakthrough Award at the ceremony at The Roundhouse,in Derby.

This award recognises the progress of young people who have developed new skills to enable them to make positive steps on facing their challenges and in stabilising their lives.

Despite a troubled background the 26-year-old is now starting to forge a successful career and was pleased to win the award.

Mr Meeuwissen said: “I’m over the moon to have won this award! I can’t thank The Prince’s Trust enough for helping me to get my life back on track.”

He was born in the Netherlands and as early as eight years old,had thoughts of suicide.

His childhood was spent between numerous countries before he eventually settled in the UK aged 11. This unstable life caused him to suffer from anxiety and a difficult home life led to a speech impediment from a young age.

He suffered violence and bullying and school life was hard. His mother died shortly after arriving in the UK and his life went further out of control.

In his adult years he could only gain irregular employment, and had a problem with substance misuse.

Mr Meeuwissen found himself with mounting debt and in trouble with the police.

But then he came across The Prince’s Trust Team programme by chance. The course provides young people with key workplace skills and helps them gain confidence overcame his communication barriers and often took the lead on community projects, with Prince’s Trust staff saying he was a model pupil.

Since joining the course, Martin has transformed into a ‘phenomenal young man’ according to his Team leader.

His has seen become a volunteer with The Trust and he is currently working as a community support assistant for clients with physical and learning disabilities for Olympus Care Services, a division of Northamptonshire County Council - and because of his success he has been asked to head up their new ‘Tools for Self Reliance’ project.

Colin Walsh, Executive Vice President at American Express Europe, said: “On behalf of all at American Express I would like to congratulate Martin for winning this award. Martin has come a long way and I’d like to wish him the very best for their future.”

Meanwhile, Carly-Jayne Panter, 26, from Kettering was also honoured at the awards - being named runner-up for the Creativeminds Young Ambassador of the Year.

The award recognises young people who are inspiring others through their personal experience of turning their lives around.

Mrs Panter had a love of music and drama and with help from The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme the 26-year-old opened the first singing school in Kettering, “Vocal Cords.”

She is a Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust and she said she sees the role as a way of reaching out to others in need of help.

Mrs Panter had recently been diagnosed with a form of Thyroid Cancer but continued to work with the Prince’s Trust and she has since made a full recovery.

Speaking about winning the award the 26-year-old said:“This has been a great night and being named as runner-up feels fantastic, it’s great to have all my hard work recognised.”

Steve Warren, managing director, Creativeminds said: “I would like to offer huge congratulations to Carly-Jayne for being named runner up of the Creativeminds Young Ambassador of the Year Award. We are honoured to sponsor such a prestigious award and wish her all of the best.”