TWO years ago Lewis Cassidy’s life was spiralling out of control.
Addicted to drugs and booze, he’d spent months living on the streets and could see no way to transform his fortunes.
Today the 22-year-old is drink and drug free and is working as an apprentice engineer - and his dramatic transformation is being hailed as an example to others youngsters battling to over difficult starts in life.
Lewis was named winner of the British Land Flying Start Award at The Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards held at FACT in Liverpool.
The prize recognises those who’ve overcome significant barriers to achieve success.
The ex-Rainford High pupil said: “I’m thrilled to have won this award and I’m so grateful to The Prince’s Trust for giving me this second chance at creating a future for myself.”
Lewis, who lives in Eccleston, says at his worse his life was rapidly become out of control. Hooked on a variety of drugs, he was unable to attend college or find a job.
When his family moved to Spain, Lewis briefly went out to live with them but returned to the UK where his problems deepened.
He spent six months either dossing on friends’ sofas or living on the streets before hitting rock bottom. That’s when a local youth worker was able to help, referring Lewis to the Prince’s Trust Team programme, a scheme helping young people gain key workplace skills and confidence.
Once enrolled, Lewis began the slow process of rebuilding his life, kicking drugs and finding work.
He said: “At one time I could not see a future beyond my addictions. The Prince’s Trust have done so much more than just change my lifestyle, they have changed me as a person.”
Now employed as an apprentice electro-mechanical engineer, Lewis is also a regular volunteer with a youth organisation,
Colin Gilligan, of British Land, said: “A huge well done to Lewis on winning this award. He has achieved so much and we wish him all the best in the future.”