Royal Seal for Naomi

HRH Prince Charles has presented a national award to a young woman who turned her life around, with help from Stoke on Trent College and youth charity, The Prince’s Trust.

Naomi Berridge won the Flying Start Award at The Prince’s Trust and L’Oreal Paris Celebrate Success Awards, at a high profile awards ceremony in London’s Leicester Square, with an audience including Konnie Huq, Phillip Schofield, Christine Bleakley and Cheryl Cole.

The Flying Start Award recognises young people who have overcome barriers, transformed their lives and are in sustainable employment.

Naomi’s journey to success started after she undertook The Prince’s Trust Team programme, run with Stoke on Trent College.

Completed at the College’s Stafford Team location, the course helped her turn her life around – a process that culminated in the award presentation from HRH The Prince of Wales.

For 23-year-old Naomi, the award marks a transformation from bouts of depression, which included self-harm and feelings of worthlessness, into a confident and motivated healthcare support worker, who is now excited to wake up every morning and be able to make a difference to other people’s lives.

Naomi said: “Thanks to the Team programme, I’ve learned to love my life again.

“If it wasn’t for the programme, I would still be hiding away from the world feeling terrified of rejection.”

Robert Sigley, Team Leader at Stoke on Trent College, was a champion for Naomi at the awards. He said: “Our warmest congratulations go to Naomi for all her hard work and dedication.”

When Naomi’s bouts of depression first began, she received counselling and eventually managed to find a full-time job.

She thought her problems were over, but then the recession hit and Naomi lost her job.

Anxiety and depression returned. Naomi tried applying for other jobs but kept getting rejected.

Each time she got a job rejection, her feelings were compounded and eventually she stopped applying for vacancies.

But then Naomi decided to take control of her life and signed up to The Prince’s Trust Team programme run with Stoke on Trent College – and she has not looked back since.

Naomi’s new self-confidence and qualifications helped her secure a job as a support worker with a mental health team after completing the course.

She now spends her days helping other people who suffer from depression and mental health problems and is excited about the future.

Now she is the toast of the College – after notching up the West Midlands regional Flying Start Award – and then taking the national title.

Richard Ogden, Stoke on Trent College’s Alternative Skills 4 Life Manager, has also worked closely with Naomi. He said: “It’s a fantastic achievement and one she thoroughly deserves.”

“It’s also a fantastic achievement for the College and for the staff who deliver the programme. Naomi has done both herself and the College proud.”

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