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Inspiring teenager Milly Rawley wins Prince’s Trust award after enduring ‘darkest times of my life’

PUBLISHED: 16:49 16 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:03 16 November 2017

Milly Rawley pictured with her Mappin and Webb Young Ambassador Award together with Aaron Jeewood from the jewellery company

Milly Rawley pictured with her Mappin and Webb Young Ambassador Award together with Aaron Jeewood from the jewellery company

Archant

Milly Rawley was forced to sleep rough and spent time in a psychiatric hospital

An inspiring Dartford teenager who survived abuse and sleeping rough has received an award from The Prince’s Trust for her work.

Milly Rawley, 19, was handed a young ambassador award at a glittering ceremony in London on Wednesday night for her work with the charity.

Speaking at the event, Miss Rawley said: “It’s amazing to be honoured like this. The trust has changed my life, so it’s weird that I’m the one getting the award.”

The teenager’s problems first started when her mother died at the age of 12, before suffering abuse in her teens.

The Prince’s Trust young ambassador said: “After that, life just clouded over.

“It affected my school work and I was told to leave despite gaining two A*s, six As and two Bs in my GCSEs. Then I became homeless.

“I sofa-surfed and spent some terrifying nights sleeping rough; and then I found the YMCA.”

By the age of 17, Miss Rawley was admitted to a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide.

But when she arrived at the YMCA, she gained support from a keyworker.

The Dartford resident said: “Terry has helped me through some of the darkest times of my life and he introduced me to The Prince’s Trust Team programme.”

Running for 12 weeks, the programme aims to build confidence and employability skills for young people.

“At first, I thought I wouldn’t have anything in common with the other people on Team, but I found that for the first time ever I could be myself,” said Miss Rawley.

She continued: “The best part of the programme was our community project; we made care packages for the homeless and a documentary about homelessness, where they filmed me talking about my experiences.”

Soon after the programme ended, the teenager enrolled at Sixth form to study her A-levels and began encouraging other young people to go on Prince’s Trust programmes. She then applied to become a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador, a role that saw her share her story and represent the trust at high profile fundraising events on BBC Breakfast, Radio One and at the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards.

Miss Rawley added: “The Prince’s Trust made me want to strive to do well and to help others; it’s why I went back to school, it’s why I volunteered to be a Young Ambassador and it’s why I now work for the Trust. The Trust saved my life, and I’m now in a place where I can feel proud and build a future helping others! What an amazing place to be.”

Following the award, Elizabeth Galton, creative director of award sponsors Mappin and Webb, said: “Milly is a very talented and inspiring young woman, and we are delighted to be able to congratulate her on winning the London and South East Young Ambassador Award.

“She has put in a huge amount of effort and work volunteering for The Prince’s Trust as a Young Ambassador, and has played a key part in helping The Trust reach more young people. We wish her all the best with her next steps.”

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