A school drop-out who set up his own company despite suffering paralysis in a motorbike accident and an aspiring fisherman are among young people from Cornwall to be recognised for conquering the odds.
James Abery, 28, and Scott Richards, 20, helped turn their lives around with help from The Prince’s Trust and have been nominated for awards at the youth charity’s annual ceremony tomorrow, Tuesday, October 15.
Mr Abery, from Newquay, who has been nominated for the RBS Enterprise Award, said the charity had given him hope and his family a future.
After leaving school at 15, he fell in with the wrong crowd, endured a motorbike accident which left him paralysed in one arm and suffering memory loss.
“My world just caved in, my prospects halved overnight,” he said.
When he and his partner lost their first child, they moved to Cornwall to make a fresh start and it was here that, after continual rejections on the work front, Mr Abery decided to set up his own business with help from The Princes Trust.
“There’s only so many times you can hear, ‘sorry you can’t work here, health and safety’,” he said.
After joining Enterprise, a Prince’s Trust programme that helps young people start up in business, Mr Abery launched his own specialist valetting business which has exceeded financial projections.
“The Prince’s Trust probably don’t realise it, but they’ve not just helped me aspire to start a business, they’ve given my family hope,” he said.
“My children can now learn by my example, and that’s something I never thought I’d be able to say.”
Newlyn born and bred Mr Richards, is up for the AgustaWestland Flying Start Award, which recognises young people who despite having faced substantial personal obstacles are in sustainable employment as a result of a Prince’s Trust programme.
As a young man he always dreamed of following in his father’s footsteps by becoming a commercial fisherman but was unable to afford the fees for training courses.
“There were hardly any opportunities for people of my age,” he said.
“It was so frustrating, I wanted to get off Job Seeker’s Allowance, I knew what I wanted to do, I just couldn’t afford the course fees.”
Mr Richards eventually received help from a Princes Trust scheme to enable young fishermen to get their qualifications.
“I’d lost all my confidence; I thought I’d never find a job I liked, and then this fantastic opportunity came along,” he said.
After obtaining his qualifications, he has now got a full time job and works alongside his father.
“I love my job on my fishing trawler. If it wasn't for The Prince’s Trust, my life would be going nowhere. Now I’ve got a future that I’m really excited about.”