"Meeting the King… well, it’s not something you do every day!”

Four years ago Tom was homeless and heading down the wrong path when The Prince’s Trust turned his life around. He was presented with the Prince’s Trust Young Achiever of the Year Award in 2021 at Buckingham Palace by King Charles III.

He said:

When I was at school, I was a bit of a class clown. I was constantly excluded and constantly in detentions and I didn’t have much going for myself. I started drinking and taking drugs and my parents didn’t want me at home which left me as homeless.  

I got help from a local homeless charity called Nightsafe, who told me about The Prince’s Trust four-week programme, run in partnership with East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. 

I knew I had nothing to lose so gave it a shot. I worked within different departments around Royal Blackburn Teaching Hospital and when they took me through the laundry, I thought it looked like something I could really get into because it was all hands-on so got my head down and got stuck in.

Tom PembertonAfter the placement I was offered a job by ELHT. I enjoyed being part of a team and it gave me a feeling of self-worth – which was all thanks to The Prince’s Trust.

I became a mentor for other young people joining The Prince’s Trust programme and spoke at the Movement to Work Youth Summit at the Houses of Parliament in 2019. I was even commended by The High Sheriff of Lancashire for my achievement.

Then in 2021 I won The Prince’s Trust Young Achiever of the Year award and invited to Buckingham Palace - to meet the future king.

I was nervous at first because it was obviously meeting royalty and the fact that the King himself presented the award is something I still can’t get over! 

It was a once in a lifetime experience and the framed picture I got from that day will be treasured forever. 

I don’t think I would be anywhere without The Prince’s Trust. I’m massively proud of myself for what I have achieved and grateful for what they did for me – and of course, getting to meet the King!