Teen turns life around to take home top award

Lucy McCarthy with her award.
Lucy McCarthy with her award.

A teenager who was on the verge of being excluded from her north Northumberland high school has won a top award in the North East.

Lucy McCarthy, 16, from Lynemouth, was named winner of the Teesside University Educational Achiever Award at The Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards.

Formerly a student at James Calvert Spence College – Acklington Road, Lucy often took her frustrations out on others and was on the verge ofbeing excluded. Difficulties at home meant she had lost contact with her father.

Blaming her mother for his absence, Lucy never listened or took instruction.

She was referred to the Prince’s Trust XL Club in Year 10, where she immediately benefited from a series of one-to-one sessions. They enabled her to work on strategies to counter her negative behaviour.

As the course progressed, Lucy often provided support to other students who were struggling.

The less formal setting of ATAC in Widdrington enabled her to gain more control over her emotions and as a result she attained four Level 1 qualifications, five Level 2 qualifications and a First Aid Certificate during the two-year programme.

XL adviser Lisa Waugh nominated Lucy for the award in July.

A panel of independent judges looked at hundreds of applications from across the North East and nominated Lucy as one of the three finalists.

She described the whole experience of being involved in the XL Programme as ‘amazing’ and thanked Lisa Waugh and Angela Manktelow for their help and support.

With support from from the Prince’s Trust, Coquet Youth Team, ATAC and James Calvert Spence College, the XL Programme helped Lucy recognise the importance of staying in mainstream education, her behaviour improved dramatically and she worked hard to get some GCSEs.

She is now studying towards a Level 2 qualification in childcare at Northumberland College.