Prince’s Trust award for Colne woman (20)

A 20-year-old woman from Colne who has turned her life around with help from youth charity the Prince’s Trust has been honoured at a prestigious royal awards ceremony.

Hannah Sumner was honoured for the CIMA Breakthrough Award at the Prince’s Trust and L’Oréal Paris Celebrate Success Awards in Manchester. She was runner-up for the award.

Hannah had been in care since she was six due to family problems. She ended up suffering from emotional and behavioural problems after staying in three foster homes and two children’s homes over seven years. Eventually, in 2004, she found stability with a foster family and lived there for five years - it was the first time she “felt like a somebody and not a nobody”.

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Despite an unsettled upbringing, she managed to get good GCSE grades and found a job at a nursery. However, her life spiralled out of control when she lost the job due to a personal problem.

She felt she had nothing to live for and was scared she had ruined everything she had worked hard to achieve.

Hannah was at rock bottom when she joined the Prince’s Trust Team Programme. The Team Programme is a 12-week personal development course, offering work experience, qualifications and practical skills and a lifeline to people like Hannah.

She worked hard throughout the course, building up her experience and confidence. Her communication and team-leading skills were superb and she was a popular figure over the 12 weeks. Her talent for working with children shone through during a work placement at West Street Primary School, Colne.

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Thanks to the Prince’s Trust, Hannah has turned her life around. She has now passed her teaching assistant qualifications while working at the local school, and will now continue her teacher training after a trip to Uganda and Thailand this summer.

The support Hannah received from the Prince’s Trust showed her all was not lost. She said: “The Prince’s Trust changed my life and I’m extremely grateful to them. Being runner-up for this award is a huge achievement for me and I’m looking forward to helping other young people.”

David Stanford, from CIMA, said: “The Breakthrough Award recognises young people who have shown strength and determination to overcome barriers and turn their lives around. It is a privilege to support this and we congratulate Hannah on being up for this special award.”

The Prince’s Trust and L’Oréal Paris Celebrate Success Awards honour the achievements of disadvantaged young people supported by the trust who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their community.

Last year, more than three in four young people helped by the Prince’s Trust moved into work training or education. The Prince’s Trust needs almost £1m. a week to continue its vital work.