WATCH: Three amazing stories of how young people with depression, dyslexia and drug addiction succeeded against all odds
They started out in life with challenges that seemed insurmountable to overcome.
But now a trio of young people have told moving stories about how they fought back against depression, dyslexia, drug addiction and family illness to succeed against all the odds.
Annabelle, Marylou and Vinny told their stories as part of the film by Inspire Suffolk to show how the young people’s charity had helped to turn their lives around.
The independently-funded education charity supports hundreds of local young people across Suffolk and North Essex each year through personal development programmes and motivational education courses, designed to improve their confidence, aspirations and build key skills for work and life.
One of the most successful programmes it runs is the Prince’s Trust Team programme, working with 16 to 25-year-olds who are not currently in education or employment and need vital support.
During the film, produced by Rendlesham-based film company Bruizer, Annabelle - from Lowestoft - spoke about how she took part in the Prince’s Trust Team Programme in 2017 to try to overcome anxiety and panic attacks, which were causing her to spend time in isolation from others.
She surprised herself by enjoying tasks like speaking to members of the public to raise funds for a community project and even dressed up as a tin of Spam to fundraise in Lowestoft town centre - something she would never have done before the programme.
She has now used her new-found confidence to take on a film course in Norwich.
“I was so caught up in believing that I wasn’t going to amount to anything that I never thought I could do what I wanted to do,” she said.
“I’m so glad that I did the programme because now I am doing exactly what I want to do.”
Before making contact with Inspire Suffolk, stay-at-home mother Marylou - from Sudbury - found that depression was getting the better of her attempts to find a new job.
Severe dyslexia had stopped her getting qualifications at school, with her confidence at a real low point.
However after a two-week work experience placement volunteering at an Oxfam charity shop - working on the tills, cash handling and sorting stock - her confidence grew to the point where she eventually secured a job at her local McColl’s convenience store.
She has proved herself to be hard-working and willing, so often gets offered additional hours too.
She is also now focussing on gaining her qualifications in English and maths which she did not get at school, so she can move up the career ladder and support her son.
Before Vinny came into contact with Inspire Suffolk, he openly admits to losing all hope in life and not caring for anyone or anything.
He experienced some very dark times and had turned to taking drugs. During this time, he also found out his mother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.
After some persuasion from a team leader, Vinny joined the Prince’s Trust Team Programme in Lowestoft - surpassing all expectations and became a valued member of the team.
Throughout the programme Vinny became extremely reliable and punctual and his confidence grew. He took a lead role during the residential part of the course and the rest of the programme. He also helped others overcome their individual fears.
Through the team’s community project at the at the Excelsior Trust, Vinny undertook a lead role within the team and gained himself voluntary work on the trust’s boat.
He is now employed at the Excelsior, sailing all over the world delivering courses to young people from all different backgrounds and nationalities working to develop their skills and confidence just like he did himself.
“I know this would not have happened if I did not have the Team Programme to push me to achieve my best and progress to the future,” he said.
■ Find out more about Inspire Suffolk by visiting www.inspiresuffolk.org.uk
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