Young Gwent woman wins top Royal award
A Gwent woman who suffered from a period of poor mental health and drug misuse has won a prestigious Royal award after successfully turning her life around.
During her teenage years, Charlotte Wookey suffered with depression, anxiety and drug abuse that subsequently led to her being made homeless, but with the help of the Prince’s Trust was able to build her confidence, retrain and secure a new job.
Now 25-years-old, Charlotte has been rewarded for her inspiring story by winning a HSBC UK Breakthrough Award, which celebrates the progress of young people who have developed new skills to enable them to make positive steps towards facing their challenges and stabilising their lives.
Charlotte loves caring for animals and has now secured a paid position at a local doggy daycare in Wales, while also volunteering with a neighbouring animal rescue centre.
Charlotte was presented with her award by HRH the Prince of Wales at the Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards on Tuesday May 24.
The star-studded event ceremony held at Theatre Royal Drury Lane was hosted by Ant and Dec and attended by celebrity ambassadors including Sir Ben Kingsley, Amal Clooney, Jeremy Irons and Anne Marie, and will be broadcast on ITV tonight (Thursday May 26) at 8.30pm.
Speaking about her experiences and the impact the Prince’s Trust has had on her life, Charlotte said: “When I was 16, I moved into shared accommodation. I was feeling low and felt like my life was out of control. I started to take drugs, which resulted in me losing my accommodation – I was homeless. I ended up sofa surfing and even spent a few nights in a shipping container.
“I needed a focus, and when I was referred onto The Prince’s Trust Explore programme it gave me the boost I needed. The programme helped me to conquer my fears, meet people and build my confidence massively.
“My dad’s also back in my life, so I have his support too, which is great. I’ve stopped feeling like I don’t have a future and instead am excited about what’s ahead.”
On winning the HSBC UK Breakthrough Award Charlotte said:
“Winning The Prince’s Trust Award was such a surprise, I still can’t believe it! I’m shocked. It all feels like a dream at the moment. It’s one of the biggest things I’ve achieved in my life. My dad is so proud of me, which means the world to me. I’m feeling really positive right now – which is one of the best feelings in the world!”
Cheryl Bosi, Head of Human Resources for HSBC UK said:
“We’re proud to once again sponsor The Prince’s Trust Breakthrough Award, and delighted to celebrate Charlotte as this year’s winner! It is incredibly inspirational to see her overcome so many challenges and grasp the opportunities The Trust programmes provide – a truly deserving winner!”
Former professional boxer Nicola Adams presented Charlotte with her award and said:
“Charlotte has been able to use her love of dogs in a positive way to change her life for the better. The support of The Prince’s Trust has clearly helped Charlotte on her journey to success, and now she has the skills to go on and achieve whatever she wants – what a superstar!”
British adventurer and TV presenter, Bear Grylls said:
"Charlotte should be incredibly proud of herself. Her journey demonstrates that, with the right support, you can turn your passion into a career. She hasn’t let the challenges in her life hold her back, which is testament to her overwhelming strength of character. I am excited to see how her never give up spirit continues to help her soar.
“The Prince’s Trust supports young people aged 11-30 to develop confidence and essential life skills to get ready for work, access job opportunities and live positive futures. It helps tens of thousands of young people each year and three in four young people on The Trust’s programmes move into work, education or training.”
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