Lancashire teenager Jack Lucas, 19, today received a top award from HRH The Prince of Wales for transforming his life after going off the rails.
He scooped the prestigious HBSC Breakthrough Award at the glittering ceremony held at The Palladium in London today.
The event was hosted by Ant & Dec and attended by celebrities including Olivia Colman, Helen McCrory OBE, Cheryl, Sir Tom Jones, Bryan Cranston, Tom Hardy, Thierry Henry, Olly Murs, Laura Whitmore and Caroline Flack.
The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards recognise disadvantaged young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community, as well as those who have played a part in supporting the work of The Trust.
Team is a 12-week programme from The Prince’s Trust that builds the confidence and skills of unemployed young people so that they are better equipped to find work.
Jack, 19, from Chorley, had a difficult upbringing.
He said: “I went off the rails. I got into fights, left home, and sofa-surfed whenever I could.
“When I couldn’t, I slept in the park. Sleeping out in a place like that in the winter, it really affects you.
“Dad heard about Team on the radio and said I should go. I needed something positive to focus on, and that’s exactly what Team is.”
Jack added: “I have so many memories from that programme, like going on a night walk during our residential and helping those at the back. And telling the instructor that I wanted their job! My Team leader sat me down with the instructor at the end and talked me through the skills and qualifications I’d need. I was so taken aback that they believed I could do it. That alone gave me a massive confidence boost.”
“Then, when my mental health declined during a work placement at the activity centre, The Prince’s Trust helped me through it and made sure I got another chance.”
Making the most of that second chance, Jack worked hard to impress and landed an interview at the end for an activity instruction apprenticeship.
He used a Prince’s Trust Development Award – funding that removes the financial barriers that would otherwise prevent young people from accessing work, employment or training – to pay for transport to and from the interview, and the rest is history.
Jack volunteered with The Prince’s Trust in Chorley, helping out with the same Team programme that helped him.
He now works as a support worker for Eden Futures, which supports people with learning disabilities, autism, mental illness and other complex needs.
On winning the HSBC Breakthrough Award, Jack said: “The Prince’s Trust put their neck out for me and made me believe in myself, and I’m now making my life a success by helping others. Winning this award gives me a massive sense of achievement, and I couldn’t be more grateful.”
Ian Stuart, CEO, HSBC UK said: “This award is testament to how hard Jack has worked to gain new skills and create a brighter future for himself. We here at HSBC have been inspired by Jack’s journey. Our heartfelt congratulations!”
Caroline Flack, who presented Jack’s award with Laura Whitmore, said: “It’s such an honour to present an award at this event. I’m humbled and amazed by what these young people have achieved with the help of The Trust and can’t wait to see what’s next for these bright young stars.”