Three young people from Kettering, Corby and Rushden were crowned royal award winners at a ceremony in Derby last night (Monday).
The Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success awards recognise the achievements of disadvantaged young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community.
Winners from the north of the county include Kettering’s Tapiwanshe Ryane Maringa, Corby’s Rachel Wood and Rushden’s Michael Lyman, with Kesia Hyde coming runner-up.
Twenty-one-year-old Ryane was left in Zimbabwe aged six by his mother who wanted to retrain as a nurse, and it was 13 years before he was able to move to England.
He arrived with no qualifications and spoke little English, but defied the language barrier to excel during a work placement at Marks & Spencer.
Ryane is now proud to work part time helping people with learning disabilities, and won the Samsung Young Achiever of the Year award.
He is studying an Access to Higher Education Diploma, is taking his maths and English GCSEs and hopes to study nursing at university.
He said: ““It feels amazing to be recognised and to win this award.
“If I hadn’t been introduced to The Prince’s Trust I would never had the courage to go after my dream.
“Now I am more confident, and excited about the future.
“Thank you to everyone who has made that possible.”
Twenty-seven-year-old Rachel won the Natwest Enterprise award, which recognises young people who have overcome serious difficulties in order to achieve success in creating a sustainable business or social enterprise.
She began working in a hair and beauty salon to make ends meet after her relationship crumbled just six months after she gave birth to her daughter, and spotted a niche she wanted to pursue.
Rachel worked up a strong business plan during Enterprise, was granted a loan and business mentor and four months later had opened High Maintenance, a lively salon aimed at young professionals who like to look good.
She now employs five staff, is taking on an apprentice and recently expanded her business to open a second salon.
She said: “I really didn’t think I was going to win this award.
“I feel very proud of what I’ve achieved with the business and I’m honoured to be recognised.
“Thanks to The Prince’s Trust for helping me get to where I am today.”
Twenty-two-year-old Michael was crowned winner of the HSBC Breakthrough award, which recognises the progress of young people who have developed new skills to enable them to make positive steps in facing their challenges and stabilising their lives.
Michael suffered severe anxiety and was afraid to leave his bedroom.
He was prescribed anti-depressants, stayed up until 4am, woke at 2pm and whiled away the hours watching TV or playing computer games.
A residential trip made Michael realise he was a skilled leader, and is now free from anti-depressants, socialises with friends and works part time at a supermarket.
He volunteers on the Team programme and hopes to move into a career where he can kick start the futures of other young people who need help.
Michael said: “I can’t sing praises enough for The Prince’s Trust.
“The Team programme changed everything for me.
“I now volunteer and I know what I want to do in the future.”
Nineteen-year-old Kesia came runner-up in the Rolls-Royce Rising Star award, which recognises young people who are in sustainable employment despite facing substantial personal obstacles.
Kesia suffers from a rare chronic illness which affects her everyday life leaving her unable to eat or drink without suffering with extreme allergic reactions.
She left sixth form early but returned for a jobs and apprenticeship fair, which completely changed her attitude.
Happy to go out and socialise like a normal teenager, Kesia is taking control of her life.
She works part time as a barmaid and customer services assistant and cares for her mum in her spare time.
She said: “I was quite surprised to be nominated but it just goes to show that hard work does not go unnoticed.
“I am grateful to the support I received and I’m looking forward to the future.”