‘Golden ticket’ helps Sunderland youth turn his back on drink and drugs

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A TROUBLED young man turned his life around with help from firefighters – and his grandmother.

David Wood, from Sunderland, felt his life was at a standstill after quitting drink and drugs.

But then his grandmother handed him a leaflet for The Prince’s Trust Team Programme, run by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

The 12-week course gives young people the opportunity to meet new friends, try out new skills, get a taste of the workplace and plan for the future.

David, 20, of Thorney Close, secured a work placement at a computer repair shop in Sunderland and realised he had skills that could be put to good use.

He said: “In the past I hung around with alcoholics and drug users and naturally followed their way of life.

“I ended up making all the wrong decisions and was unable to see a way forward.

“Eventually I decided that I wanted to change my life and better myself. I stopped the drugs and alcohol and I found myself at a standstill, not knowing how to get into the career path that I wanted.

“My nanna received a leaflet for the programme and she asked me if I would like to do it. I assumed it was just another employability course, but if I had known how good the course really was, I would have ran home with the leaflet like it was a golden ticket from Willy Wonka.

“I was apprehensive about joining, but Alan, the team leader put me at ease and I got on with everyone and had a laugh throughout. It was great to meet other young people who were in a similar situation to me.

He added: “I have gained so much from this course and would recommend it to others. It has given me the confidence to get myself into the workplace or university and I feel like I can communicate with others again.”

Princes Trust Team leader, Alan D’Arcy, from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “David has been truly inspirational and he has shown that you really can turn your life around. We wish him all the best for the future.”

Unemployed 16 to 25-year-olds who would like to find out more about the course can contact Alan on 444 1175, or go to www.twfire.gov.uk.