Thomas Pemberton, aged 22, from Blackburn, was homeless at the age of 18 and realised that he was heading down the wrong path, and mixing with people who had a negative influence.
"My teenage years were hard for me and I was often in trouble. I was misunderstood and never felt that I got the support I needed for my mental health and learning difficulties. I wasn’t in education and things were tough, so I would find myself having arguments with my parents and being out on the streets.
“I knew I had to make a change in myself for the positive, so I got help from a local homeless charity called Nightsafe, who told me about The Prince’s Trust. Little did I know that with all this effort and hard work I would be in the position that I am today.”
Thomas took part in The Trust’s four-week Get into NHS Hospital Services programme, run in partnership with the East Lancashire Hospital Trust, and worked within different departments around the Royal Blackburn Hospital. This allowed him to gain experience in the healthcare industry, alongside building his confidence and learning skills for interviews.
Thomas said: “It was a whole new world entering the work environment and I soon discovered that I enjoyed being part of a team, especially in the laundry department where it was a physical job.”
Thomas took part in employability days as part of the programme, where he learned more about communication, teamwork, reliability, and resilience skills.
He added: “I worked really hard during my placement and I was over the moon when I was offered work only two weeks into the programme. It meant so much and I’ve now progressed from part-time, and I’m now in full-time employment. I have even managed to move into a property with my girlfriend.”
Since then Thomas has been mentoring other young people who have come through the programme and has even spoken at the Movement to Work Youth Summit at the Houses of Parliament in 2019.
More Positive Together (MPT) is a Lancashire wide project that aims to help residents of some of the County’s most deprived areas improve their skills and employment prospects. The project is part of the 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) growth programme in England and brings together a range of partners such as housing associations, local authorities and third sector organisations to provide practical help and mentoring support to project participants. You can find out more about the project here.
The Princes Trust is one of 15 local delivery partners on the More Positive Together project, which is funded by the European Social Fund. The project seeks to support people to improve their wellbeing and employment prospects.