BU student wins Prince's Trust Award after overcoming adversity to gain place at university
11 January 2013
A Television Production student who overcame adversity to gain a place at Bournemouth University has been given a prestigious Prince's Trust Award.
Nat Hawley won Educational Achiever of the Year for the South of England and London at the Prince's Trust Celebrate Success Awards.
The award recognises young people who have overcome barriers and developed new skills to improve their prospects through education.
Nat, 21, who is now in his second year of a BA (Hons) Television Production degree at BU, said: "It felt pretty fantastic as I wasn't expecting to win.
"I felt quite honoured really, as there were a lot of other people in the running for the award who had really inspirational stories, so it was brilliant to win.
"I was the only person who had made it to university. At one point when I was going through trouble, I didn't think I would be able to get through the next day - let alone end up studying something that I have always loved."
Nat, who is autistic and dyslexic, became a full-time carer for his mother when he was 16 and studying for his GCSEs.
"It was a full-time job and it meant that I couldn't really leave the house or do things that other kids my age do," he said.
But after Nat began to struggle while at college, a teacher referred him to the Prince's Trust Fairbridge Programme, a personal development scheme which offers one-to-one support and group activities.
"They helped me to live independently and build confidence, and I also learned about first aid - which has helped me to save my mum's life a few times," said Nat, who is from Eastleigh and now lives in Talbot Woods.
"As well as learning skills like food hygiene, I did lots of other things like climbing and sailing that I wouldn't get to do before.
"I also met other young people who had been through the same difficulties as me - it helped me to gain some perspective and hang out with similar people."
Nat was presented with the award at St Mary's Stadium, in Southampton, in December.
As well as receiving a trophy, Nat may now have the opportunity to meet the Prince of Wales himself, as well as attending a further event in London.
Winning the award has also helped Nat to make contacts who have helped him secure work placements in the industry.
"I am going to be moving to London, which is another great step. There are amazing possibilities and opportunities that I wouldn't have had if it wasn't for the Prince's Trust."
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