AWARD winner Abi Gleave has spoken about how the Prince’s Trust transformed her life.

Abi, from Wilmslow, won the North West HSBC UK Breakthrough Award at The Prince’s Trust Awards, receiving the accolade at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.

The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx and Homesense Awards honour young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their community, as well as people who have supported the work of The Trust.

Abi said: “If I hadn’t found The Prince’s Trust, I honestly don’t know if I’d have survived.”

As a result of her mum’s mental health problems, Abi entered the care system when she was nine and stayed there until she was 16.

She said: “When I returned my mum was still bad and by that time I also had a little sister to look after.

“I wanted to give her as normal a life as possible but had my own mental health struggles and often couldn’t bear to leave the house.

“Looking after mum again, I got back into bad habits; I lost interest in reading, music and even my love of writing. I lost all confidence to do anything.”

Social services recommended Abi visit a Work Coach at the local Job Centre, which proved a vital step as she was referred on to The Prince’s Trust.

She joined the Team programme, which builds the confidence and skills of unemployed young people so they are better equipped to find work.

She said: “I remember the first day, my anxiety got the better of me and I was looking for any excuse not to go, but I made it.

“Then I was in a group of all boys! I decided to go for it and threw myself into everything. Encouraging others and helping them to overcome their fears massively helped build my own confidence.

“I left Team with a totally different outlook on life. I’m much more focused and I’m coping much better with looking after my mum. My family are also more settled now, which means the world to me.

“I still don’t quite feel ready to enter the world of work full-time, but I’m volunteering in my community and building my social skills by speaking to different people every day.

“The Trust has given me a stability in my life I’ve never had before, and gave me people I never want to forget.

“I have a different outlook on life now that I’ve taken part in The Prince’s Trust Team programme. I’m planning my future, and to receive this award spurs me on to achieve even more.”

Michaela Wright, Head of Sustainability at HSBC UK said: “Huge congratulations to Abi on everything she has achieved.

“It’s so inspiring to see the progress she has made, and we wish her all the best for the future.”