Chef from Stamford rewarded for changing his life

Winner Patrick Cloake with Louise Potts who presented the award EMN-141111-150632001
Winner Patrick Cloake with Louise Potts who presented the award EMN-141111-150632001

A young chef who turned his life round after suffering a serious injury, depression and unemployment has won a top award.

At the Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success Awards on Monday Patrick Cloake was named winner of the Rolls-Royce Flying Start, sponsored by the luxury car company.

Patrick, from Stamford, said: “It was amazing and I can’t believe I’ve won this award. I once thought that I had no future but thanks to The Prince’s Trust I now know that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.”

Patrick’s future as a chef looked bright, until he tripped and fell on a knife, severing tendons and nerves in his hand.

An ambitious apprentice chef until then Patrick, whose two fingers were left permanently out of action, was unable to even button up his shirt.

The 24 year old’s self-esteem plummeted, he suffered severe depression and was declared unfit to work but not entitled to disability benefits.

As he lost all hope and hid away from the world a relative who had benefitted from the youth charity told him about The Prince’s Trust.

Patrick asked the Jobcentre to refer him to the Trust’s Team programme - a 12-week personal development course which gives unemployed young people the skills and confidence to find work - run by the Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service.

Patrick said: “Staff at The Prince’s Trust understood me. They give you all the time in the world. Slowly, I started clawing bits of myself back.”

With his confidence up, natural leadership skills began to burst through. Over time, he stopped trying to conceal his injury and began socialising again.

Then a work placement in a charity shop sparked an interest in retail. It led to a job with Poundland where, within six months, he progressed from shop floor assistant to fully trained supervisor and is on course to becoming assistant manager.

Patrick said: “The person I was before and after being involved with The Trust are two entirely different people. I was terrified of everyone and unpleasant to be around. Now that person is gone.”

Paul Broadhead, from Rolls-Royce, said: “Patrick has transformed his life and turned it around. He should be very proud of his success.”

Rolls Royce Flying Start Award recognises young people who, despite having faced substantial personal obstacles, are in sustainable employment as a result of a Prince’s Trust programme.

The East Midlands Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards were held at the Derby Roundhouse.

The Prince’s Trust helps disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track. It supports 13 to 30-year-olds who are unemployed and those struggling at school and at risk of exclusion. The Prince of Wales’s charity has helped 750,000 young people since 1976 and supports over 100 more each day.

For more go to princes-trust.org.uk or call 0800 842 842.