A Chichester man who was once homeless, unemployed and depressed could be in line for a prestigious award after turning his life around.
Darren Nolan, 25, has a good chance of winning the Flying Start Award at The Prince’s Trust and L’Oréal Paris Celebrate Success Awards to be held in London.
After a tough start in life because of family and financial problems, Darren got involved in gangs and crime and by the age of 20, he was unemployed and homeless.
However, with support from The Prince’s Trust, he has overcome these problems and has achieved his dream of becoming a sailing instructor.
Darren said: “I’ve had my ups and downs. It was absolutely worth getting help from The Prince’s Trust.
“They funded my instructor course for sailing and through them I spent the past two summers in Greece teaching people.”
Darren said he also got help with writing his CV and searching for jobs.
He added: “Today, my future looks bright. I will always be grateful to The Prince’s Trust for helping me to get where I am today.”
Darren, of Portfield Close, will attend The Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success Awards on November 24 at the Emirates Stadium in London to find out if he has won. He is on a shortlist alongside two others to win the award.
The accolade recognises young people who have overcome barriers, transformed their lives and moved into sustainable employment.
Unable to deal with the problems at home when he was younger, Darren spent most of his time on the streets, eventually getting involved in gangs and crime.
At 16, Darren left school with very few qualifications. By the age of 20, he was unemployed and homeless.
Feeling hopeless and depressed, Darren was unemployed for eight months before he heard about The Prince’s Trust Get Into Maritime course, which helps unemployed young people gain the skills and confidence they need to move into work or training.
As part of the course, Darren gained the qualifications and experience he needed to find work in water sports. He discovered a real passion for sailing and got a job working as an instructor at the UK Sailing Academy.
Last year, he got the opportunity to work as a sailing instructor in Greece – his first trip abroad.
Darren hopes to become a chief sailing instructor in a few years.
His advice to youngsters who are in the same difficult position he once was to seek the help of The Prince’s Trust.