25-year-old Nathaniel Hawley from Eastleigh has been shortlisted for The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever Award which celebrates the achievements of truly remarkable people who make our world a better place. Screened on ITV in November, it is the biggest awards show of its kind on British TV.
The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever Award recognises every year the incredible achievements of a young person supported by HRH The Prince of Wales’s charity.
At the age of 16, life for Nathaniel was more than tough; it was near impossible. Autistic, dyslexic and living alone after a series of family problems, Nathaniel was penniless. He was struggling to complete domestic tasks because of his disabilities, his GCSEs were looming and all he wanted to do was care for his mother in hospital.
Nat heard about Fairbridge, a Prince’s Trust programme that gives disadvantaged young people the skills and confidence to change their lives for the better and decided to refer himself. Sceptical at first, he decided to give it a go. With the help of the staff at The Trust’s Centre in Southampton, Nat completed his exams against all the odds.
The programme helped Nat move forward with his life and he went on to Barton Peveril Sixth Form College in Eastleigh to study A Levels in Film Studies, Graphic Design and Moving Image.
Nathaniel was taught by Film Studies teacher Laura Barbey when he studied A Levels at Barton Peveril. She said: “Nathan was a passionate, dedicated and hardworking student. He made the most of our learning support department to help him create A grade projects. I often hear from him and am glad that he has never lost sight of his dream.”
He also achieved an A grade in A Level Graphic Design at the college. His teacher Sarah Talling said: “Nat was eager to achieve. It was clear that despite his personal circumstances, he had the motivation and determination to do well. He showed a huge amount of enthusiasm for learning new skills. It is fantastic to hear that he has been shortlisted for a Pride of Britain Award, and his is most deserving of this.”
His success at A Level led him to study Television Production at Bournemouth University. In his final year he successfully applied to become a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador.
He says: “I was incredibly nervous the first time I stood up to tell my story, It was the first time I had done any real public speaking – the response I got was fantastic, It really helped me see how my experience in life could be used to help other people, It almost made everything I’ve been through worth it.”
That speech was the first of many. Nat’s way of communicating was so emotive that he was asked to speak at Trust events all over the country in front of staff, supporters and young people.
Nat now uses his experience and passion for positive change in local communities in London, he has also worked and volunteered abroad in Tanzania, Ghana, the United Sates and Nicaragua. He is now a Trustee for youth charity vInspired and works full time as a ‘Project Coordinator’ for the Media Trust, delivering media and confidences skills training to thousands of other young people.
Nat is also running his own social action project around the subject of mental health and disability empowerment, which he delivers around the UK and online.
When asked how he felt about being shortlisted for the award, Nathaniel said: “It is really fantastic to see how far my family and I have come. Being nominated means the world to me, I am more motivated and determined than ever to improve the lives of young people as a result.”
Nathaniel is one of five finalists nominated for the award who visited the Prince’s Trust House last month, where he met Prince’s Trust Ambassadors Fearne Cotton and Jenni Falconer.
The winner will be invited to receive their award at a star-studded event recorded in London on 31st October 2016 and broadcast the next day on ITV.