A former drug addict from Spalding has been nominated for a royal award after turning his life around with help from the Prince’s Trust.
Shaun Taylor (22) is one of just three young people from the East Midlands to be nominated for The HSBC Breakthrough Award at the Samsung Celebrate Success awards in Derby next month.
I wanted to stop taking drugs and I wanted to get a job. If I kept going the way I was I probably would have ended up in prison
The award 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.
Before his problems, Shaun had the world at his feet: he had achieved good grades at school and was heading towards a solid career in the army, but a split from his girlfriend led him to seek comfort in drugs. He became addicted.
Shaun’s addictions worsened and eventually he became homeless. He began shoplifting to fund his addictions and was arrested.
Hoping to turn things around, Shaun (22) attended a workshop at his local Job Centre Plus about a programme called Team. Created by The Prince’s Trust and delivered in partnership with Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, Team is a 12-week course that improves the confidence and skills of unemployed young people to help them find work.
Shaun said: “I was pretty desperate. I wanted to stop taking drugs and I wanted to get a job. If I kept going the way I was, I probably would have ended up in prison. Team was my chance to change it all.”
Full of enthusiasm for the programme, Shaun immersed himself in Team and was praised for both his efforts and his leadership skills.
Feeling more confident, Shaun asked his team leader to signpost him to support for his addictions and felt empowered to make lasting changes to his life.
He added: “Team was brilliant; and my team leaders were amazing. They helped me get out of a really dark place and because of that I’ve got my life back. Sometimes you need a second chance – The Prince’s Trust gave me that.”
After finishing the course, Shaun completed a work placement in administration and recently secured employment at Majestic Bingo, where he is undergoing training to become a caller.
He is also volunteering at Lincolnshire’s drug and alcohol rehabilitation service to help other young people beat addiction and get on the right track.
“I can’t thank The Prince’s Trust staff enough for helping me to where I am today. When I did my presentation at the end of the course, I realised how far I’d come and now I am determined to grasp every opportunity with both hands. I am learning a lot in my job and I enjoy volunteering to help other young people turn their lives around.”
Shaun has the ambition of getting an electrician apprenticeship in the future.
The Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success awards take place at the Roundhouse in Derby on November 9.