Pair have ‘turned their lives around’

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Two local teenagers who have overcome significant personal barriers to develop new skills have been nominated for a Prince’s Trust Award.

Matthew Simpson (17) and Blake Morgan (16) have both been nominated for the ShredBank Educational Achiever Award at The Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards, which is taking place at Titanic Belfast on 2nd December 2014.

Victimised and constantly bullied at school, Matthew Simpson would often lash out. He has special educational needs, and struggled to keep up with his classes. He was deeply unhappy, frequently tearful, and was so lacking in confidence he struggled to make eye contact. Matthew took part in the xl programme, and he has changed beyond all recognition.

Isolated and struggling to make friends, the only thing that seemed to interest Blake was his XBox. His volatile temper often led him to overreact and he was suspended from school for fighting. Blake completed the xl programme, he tells: “The Prince’s Trust showed me what else life had to offer. Because of that, I’ve found a sport I love, I’m more responsible, I’ve got a job and earn money, I can afford to go out with my mates. It gave me the freedom to do something good with my life.”