Recognition for turning lives around

Sam Stopforth's girlfriend Hollie Dann and his friends drink a toast in his memory after releasing the balloons
Sam Stopforth's girlfriend Hollie Dann and his friends drink a toast in his memory after releasing the balloons

Two young people from Ilkeston, who have turned their life around, have been nominated for prestigious awards at youth charity The Prince’s Trust annual ceremony.

Hollie Dann and Nathan Little, 27, are two of just three people shortlisted in the East Midlands for the Creative Minds Flying Start award which recognises the achievements of young people.

Hollie, 21, tried to take her own life after her fiancé Sam Stopforth died. She experienced severe panic attacks and a nervous eating disorder.

But determined to get her life back on track, Hollie joined The Prince’s Trust Team programme at Derby College

“It sounded like the perfect opportunity to focus on something good for me for a change,” she said.

“I was always really bad at giving constructive criticism as I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings but this course has taught me how to communicate in an effective and beneficial manner.”

Hollie’s confidence improved so quickly that she managed to secure a job at a law firm halfway through the course.

Steve Warren, managing director at Creative Minds said: “We are proud to support this award and commend Hollie, who against all the odds, has excelled in turning her life around and secured employment.

“Being shortlisted for the Creative Minds Flying Start Award in the East Midlands is a great way to celebrate all she has achieved so far – well done.”

Nathan, 27, looked after his mother and two siblings after she became disabled following a car accident. He was bullied at school, forcing him to leave early to finish his education at home, and at work, which shattered his confidence and he resigned.

With mounting debts Nathan enrolled on The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, which helps unemployed young people start up in business. With the help of a grant he launched Nathan’s Little Shop, an online antiques business.

“The Prince’s Trust programme opened my eyes to what it would be like to run a business and my business mentor’s been amazing in helping me believe in myself and supporting my business,” he said.

The ceremony at Derby’s Roundhouse was held as the Advertiser went to press. See next week’s paper to find out if Hollie or Nathan won.