Titanic Quarter Ltd success stories scoop royal awards
Titanic Quarter Ltd success stories scoop royal awards
19th November, 2013
Susie Cuthill wins Titanic Quarter Ltd Young Ambassador of the Year Award
Ryan McGuigan and Gavin Andrews are runners up in the category
Three young people who turned their lives around with help from The Prince’s Trust, have picked up prestigious awards sponsored by Titanic Quarter Ltd. at the youth charity’s annual ceremony.
This year is the tenth anniversary of the awards, which have recognised the achievements of young people across the Northern Ireland region over the last decade.
The Titanic Quarter Ltd Young Ambassador of the Year Award recognises young people who are exceptional Young Ambassadors. Young people who have successfully completed a Prince’s Trust course can apply to be a Young Ambassador to volunteer their time, share their personal experiences and inspire others.
Susie Cuthill, 27 scooped the top spot while Ryan McGuigan,30 and Gavin Andrews were runners – up in the Young Ambassador of the Year category at The Prince’s Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success Awards held in The MAC Belfast on 15th November.
Susie Cuthill: Winner of the Titanic Quarter Ltd. Young Ambassador of the Year Award
When Susie came to The Prince’s Trust, she was a young mother who had been unemployed for almost two years. After a difficult youth in which she faced homelessness and isolation, she admits feeling “hopeless and demoralised.”
When she heard about The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, which helps unemployed young people learn about starting up in business, she thought she’d give it a go to see if she her love of knitting and hand-spun yarns could be turned into a profitable venture.
“The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme was really informative. I was expecting to be sent off with a pat on the back at the end, but I was surprised at the level of aftercare support I received from The Prince’s Trust. I was also given a mentor, funding and regular follow-up meetings.”
Susie went on to found her hat-making and hand-spun wool company, Teddy Baby. Once it was off the ground, she became keen to give something back.
“The Prince’s Trust helped me in my hours of need, and I wanted to do something to help them in return.”
Susie became a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador. Her talent for getting the best from people saw her become one of The Trust’s most active Ambassadors as she went out of her way to inspire new volunteers, young people and staff at a variety of events; she spoke about The Trust live on Good Morning Ulster twice and became the first of two Young Ambassadors to co-host a major Prince’s Trust event.
Her unwavering commitment to juggling her parental and entrepreneurial responsibilities is testament to her unwavering support of The Trust’s work.
Susie now works full-time for The Prince’s Trust as a volunteering and partnerships executive.
David Gavaghan, Chief Executive of Titanic Quarter Ltd. Said: ““We are delighted to congratulate Susie on winning The Titanic Quarter Young Ambassador Award, which recognises young people who are inspiring others through their personal experience of transforming their lives and often those closest to them. We have been hugely impressed by her achievements and based on this incredible success, wish her the very best for the future – I look forward to following her progress.
Ryan McGuigan: runner – up
The Titanic Quarter Ltd. Young Ambassador of the Year Award recognises young people who are exceptional Young Ambassadors. Young people who have successfully completed a Prince’s Trust course can apply to be a Young Ambassador to volunteer their time, share their personal experiences and inspire others.
When Ryan, 29, from Belfast, realised his dreams of becoming a physiotherapist were over, he retrained as a massage therapist but lacked the practical experience to secure work. Two and a half years later nothing had changed and he was still unemployed.
“Life was pretty unbearable. I hated being on Job Seekers Allowance. I was a qualified massage therapist and had thought about becoming self-employed, but didn’t think I had what it takes.”
Ryan was referred to The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, which helps unemployed young people start up in business.
“The Prince’s Trust helped me write my business plan, gave me a grant for marketing, and a business mentor who I still meet with every month.”
After successfully launching Holistic Therapies Belfast which provides services to corporate clients and the public, he became a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador.
Articulate, confident and professional, Ryan has attended events with corporate partners, helped to recruit volunteers and advocated youth issues by engaging with local politicians and MLAs. Throughout his time as a Young Ambassador, he has inspired many other young people with his story.
“I always wanted to help people overcome problems that were preventing them from reaching their potential. Being a Young Ambassador has helped me do this and give me so much confidence and pride. It’s made me feel good about my life.”
On his own initiative, Ryan also started a buddy system with another young person who is in the process of setting up a holistic therapy business.
Ryan is a real-life example of what you can achieve through hard work and determination.
Gavin Andrews – Runner – up
Gavin, 32, from Antrim, contracted a rare disease called encephalitis as young child. It triggered a severe brain injury which has left him with severe memory issues and lifelong learning problems. During this difficult time his parents were told that if he responded to the anti-convulsion medication that they needed to prepare themselves that Gavin would be very different to the boy they had once known.
Gavin did respond to treatment during a time in coma, but suffered with severe memory problems, learning difficulties, intense headaches, hallucinations, personality changes, memory loss and emotional distress throughout his childhood.
“Mum and Dad coped best they could during this time even though my illness pulled them apart. It was an extremely difficult time due to the serious implications of the disease and lack of awareness of the illness itself; none of us really understood what I was going through, and there were inevitable family arguments.”
Getting bullied during school suffering from depression and feeling very isolated, Gavin wanted to end it all.
He left school without any qualifications, but despite his confidence issues, managed to secure an apprenticeship. Then the recession came, and with it multiple redundancy’s. Gavin tried to drink his problems away, but only sank into a depression.
Gavin enrolled on Enterprise, a Prince’s Trust programme that supports unemployed young people to explore and test their ideas, write plans and start their own businesses or achieve other goals in education, training work or volunteering.
“Enterprise opened my eyes to so many possibilities. It gave me my voice back and allowed me to feel happy again in my own skin.”
When Enterprise was over, Gavin had focus and determination but it wasn’t until he became a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador that his confidence truly soared.
He represented The Trust at a number of high profile events, sharing his experiences with many influential individuals and celebrities. He was the first Young Ambassador to co-host the Celebrate Success Awards in 2012, and has supported volunteer activities and new recruits to the Young Ambassadors programme. His positive approach is an inspiration to us all.
“Being a Young Ambassador is an amazing opportunity. I’ve met people from all walks of life and am so much more confident than I used to be. It has been an incredible and life changing journey for me.”
The Prince’s Trust & Samsung 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 local community.
Youth charity The Prince's Trust gives disadvantaged young people the skills and confidence to find a job. Three in four young people helped by The Prince’s Trust move into work, training or education.