Student wins royal award

14th March 2014

An inspirational social work student who has rebuilt her life after battling depression has been named the Prince's Trust Young Achiever of the Year.

Carly Williams, 21, who is a first-year student at Sheffield Hallam University, was given the royal award after overcoming a difficult childhood that led her to depression and sought comfort in alcohol. Carly had spent 13 years in care since the age of five with many of her placements breaking down, but when she was 13, she finally got the support and stability she needed. Five years later, Carly decided to live on her own but soon found herself shut away from the world and she sank into depression, turned to drink and quit work and the educational opportunities she had. "I loved my foster parents," said Carly, who hails from Weston-Super-Mare. "But after 13 years in the system, I was encouraged to live on my own, only it wasn't how I'd imagined. I was lonely and everything got on top of me. It was like lots of the stuff that had happened to me when I was younger had come back to haunt me. After seeking support from Team, a Prince's Trust programme that gives unemployed young people the skills and confidence to find work, Carly is now studying for a BA honours degree in Social Work at Sheffield Hallam - one of the biggest health and social care training providers in the country. Carly said: "Studying social work has opened my eyes to the challenges that social workers face, and it's made me even more determined to succeed in the profession." Carly was pronounced the winner of her four-strong category at the Prince's Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards held at London's Leicester Square Odeon yesterday. Professor Karen Bryan, pro-vice chancellor and dean of the Faculty of Health and Wellbeing at Sheffield Hallam, said: "On behalf of the University, many congratulations to Carly on this prestigious and well-deserved award. Carly is an inspiration to all young people who find themselves out of work or who may have lost their way in life. "I would like to wish her all the best in her studies as I am sure she can draw upon her personal experiences to become an exceptional social worker and help those who are in less fortunate positions in society." The royal event was hosted by entertainment duo, Ant and Dec and Carly and her fellow finalists will be appearing on ITV's This Morning tomorrow. For press information: contact Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email pressoffice@shu.ac.uk

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