A 26-year-old from Kettering is one of just four nominees for a royal award to be presented next month.
Dennis Mkurazhizha has been nominated for the Samsung Young Achiever of the Year gong at the Prince’s Trust ceremony on March 12 at London’s Leicester Square Odeon.
The Oscar-style ceremony, hosted by Ant and Dec and attended by The Prince of Wales, recognises the achievements of young people supported by the Trust who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their community.
Among the celebrity guests will be Prince’s Trust ambassadors Gary Lineker, Tess Daly, Jools Holland, and Dominic West.
Dennis is nominated for a prize which recognises young people who have struggled through difficulties to transform their lives. He had to put up with being bullied at school because of his severe eczema, something that had a huge impact of his mental health and wellbeing.
Suffering with severe eczema since childhood, he was forced to cover every inch of his body in creams and bandages. His parents sought help from various doctors, but years of trialling different medications left him with negative side effects.
Dennis eventually became reclusive, distancing himself from his parents, before moving to Kettering. He also turned to drink and drugs to relieve his torment. When his grandmother died, he lost control.
Dennis said: “I was confused. It felt like I was in a box I couldn’t get out of. I was mentally ill, lacked confidence and had no social belonging or positive outlook. Life, for me, had no purpose.”
He joined The Prince’s Trust Team at Tresham College, a 12-week personal development course designed to help young people gain the skills the confidence they need to turn their lives around.
Organisers there say he became a big brother figure, leading the group’s community project, calling businesses for support, typing up fundraising letters at night and hand-delivering them the following day. Dennis shone during a placement as a care assistant and he became determined to pursue a career in social care.
“The Prince’s Trust gave me ambition,” he said. “I’ve stopped trying to hide. For the first time I can remember I’m looking forward to my life.”
He is now studying for a degree in Advanced Nursing at the University of Northampton to help him move one step closer to realising his ambition of helping those in need.
If you are aged 16 to 30 and unemployed, click here to find out how the charity can help you back into work, education or training.