Tom Evans, 23, a student on the Morecambe Prince’s Trust team, has been named as the winner of an award from The Prince’s Trust after turning his life around and continuing to give back to the community through his job as a Support Worker and volunteering.
The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards recognise young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community. Tom scooped the Watches of Switzerland Group Young Change Maker Award, recognising someone who has inspired others through their personal experience of turning their life around.
“A massive part of what motivates me now is wanting to help others who’ve had the same experiences as me to achieve what I have. It’s great seeing people make changes because of the advice I now give.”
Tom was living in supported housing, having recently completed a drug rehabilitation programme, when he joined Team, a 12-week personal development course with The Prince’s Trust delivered by Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. After the programme he worked to help others overcome addiction and homelessness in his role as a Support Worker. He now works in a similar role, but in a children’s home providing advice, assistance and support to young people whilst also balancing volunteering commitments and studying at college.
“Before finding out about The Prince’s Trust, I was addicted to Class A drugs and prescription medication, and things spiralled to a point where I got drawn into County Lines activity. When I started The Trust’s Team programme, although I’d finished my rehabilitation programme, I still found it difficult to trust other people or even myself.
“The Prince’s Trust helped me to see that I could be a leader. I took a few of the lads who were taking part in Team under my wing, as I could see they were starting to follow the same path I’d been down. The residential week of the programme in particular was really good for us all. We went up to stay at the Lake District for a few days. I’d always enjoyed outdoor activities before my drug addiction, so getting back into hiking and climbing was really good for me. Team helped me commit to things and believe in myself a bit more.”
As part of the Team programme, young people are encouraged to develop their employment skills through a two-week work experience. Tom completed his at a local homeless support charity, where he continues to volunteer to this day. He also volunteers with Lancashire police to help educate their staff on County Lines from a young person’s perspective.
“While I was doing Team I was living in supported housing; not only am I now no longer living there, but I’ve worked as a full-time staff member who helped other people who are homeless and addicted to drugs. It’s a good feeling to know that I can use my past experiences to help others. Team 100 per cent helped me to get that job, as before I would never have had the confidence in myself that I needed for work.
“I’ve now moved on to a new job working with young people, which is really fulfilling my need and passion for supporting the youth of today.”
Since coming to The Prince’s Trust, Tom has completely turned his life around and continues to give back to the community through his employment and volunteering. During this time, he also dedicated himself to study by undertaking Psychology and Biology at college to further support his career. He’s doing a huge amount to help improve others’ wellbeing and help them get their lives back on track.
On winning the Watches of Switzerland Group Young Change Maker Award, Tom said:
“I am immensely thankful to The Prince’s Trust and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service for all the support that they’ve given me. They helped me along on the journey of finding my true self I had already started to embark on and helped me realise that I am a natural leader. It is my honour to accept the England Young Change Maker Award.”
Philippa Jackson, HRD, Watches of Switzerland Group, said:
“As the proud sponsor of the Young Change Maker Award, we are delighted to name Tom as this year’s winner in England. Tom is a very well deserving winner and a true inspiration for so many young people.”