A YOUNG woman told her remarkable story of succeeding against the odds to help others when she was presented with an achievement award.

Lois Muir, 22, from Ellesmere Port, has won the BAE Systems Young Ambassador of the Year award at the North West Prince’s Trust Awards.

She was presented with the award at a ceremony at Chetham’s School of Music in Manchester.

The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards recognise the achievements of young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life, and had a positive impact on their local community, as well as those who have played a part in supporting the work of The Trust.

Lois was nine years old when she was assaulted. She didn’t speak much about the assault until much later in her life, but it destroyed her emotionally and left her struggling with inner demons and unable to move forwards.

Lois said: “I played up at school because I felt like an outsider after missing so many lessons due to hospital appointments. I got bullied and focused on the negative and would play every bad thing anyone had ever said about me on repeat in my head.

“As I got older, I just couldn’t move on. I drank until I was unconscious, I’d smash glass and cut myself with it, or I’d sit alone shaking with a knife to my wrist. I had flashbacks and overdosed three times on my prescribed medication as part of my suicide attempts.”

Lois’s turbulent and aggressive behaviour saw her expelled from college and referred to Team, a 12-week programme from The Prince’s Trust that gives unemployed young people the skills and confidence they need to find work.

“Team helped me understand myself and gave me the chance I needed to do something well and feel proud about it.

Lois with Peter Caney of BAE Systems.

“When it finished, I became a Young Ambassador because I wanted to raise awareness of how important The Trust is for young people.

"I don't want sympathy for what's happened to me, I want other young people to get the help they need, and being a Young Ambassador and a youth worker has given me the opportunity to help them do that and to promote the youth voice.”

Lois has volunteered for various organisations and has been working in youth work for the last four and a half years, alongside studying for her degree in Youth and Community work.

“I'm also about to become a mentor for The Trust and I cannot wait to start! I’m hoping it will allow me to support more young people to get back on the right path, like The Trust has helped me get back on mine.”

Speaking at the awards, Lois said: “Every time I go to an event as a Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust, I feel proud knowing that I’m helping to support other young people facing difficult circumstances like me. To now receive this award feels amazing.”

Peter Caney, Head of Early Careers and Skills at BAE Systems, said: “Lois’s story, overcoming her extremely difficult and turbulent childhood and now drawing on these experiences to support others, is such an inspiration. Her desire to share her story to raise awareness of The Prince’s Trust is now helping to change many more young lives.”

TK Maxx is a Platinum partner of The Prince’s Trust and has been working with them since 2013, becoming one of the Trust’s largest delivery partners of the Get into Retail programme. This two to six week course develops young people’s skills in the retail sector and supports them into positive outcomes in retail.

In 2016 Homesense, part of the TK Maxx family, appointed The Prince’s Trust as their national charity partner. Homesense are supporting The Prince’s Trust Achieve programme which helps vulnerable young people achieve in their local communities. Store associates and customers from across Homesense’s 55 stores are raising funds for the Trust through a number of in-store campaigns.

TK Maxx and Homesense are proud to have helped over 900 young people through the Get into Retail programme with 70% going on to get jobs with them.