Troubled Rusholme youth now a role model for other young people
Published by Becki Ord for City South Manchester in Housing and also in Communities
The Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador, Mo Abby, in his role as Stage Manager in City South’s Youth Network production, ‘Playtime’.
A YOUNG Rusholme man turned his back on a life of bullying and petty crime to become a Young Ambassador for youth charity The Prince’s Trust and an inspiration to other young people.
Mo Abby gained the confidence to make the life-changing steps with the help of City South Manchester Housing Trust, where his father is a tenant, and The Prince’s Trust.
The 20-year-old suffered problems when growing up and was subjected to the torment of school bullies, which caused him to hit back and become a bully himself. Mo found himself lashing out at those who were closest to him and getting in trouble with the police.
Mo said: “As the bullying got worse I couldn’t see any other way out other than to fight back. I just became one of the bullies. I did this to try and take away the pain, but it didn’t work it just made things worse.
“When I left school the bullying continued. I felt a sickening depression inside of me that just wouldn’t go away.” This led the teenager to become physically ill, with the stress leading to alopecia, which was devastating for Mo.
However, one morning Mo saw The Prince’s Trust Celebrate Success Awards, which honour young people who have changed their lives, on television. He realised that he was not alone in his struggles and signed up for The Trust’s Team programme in Fallowfield.
Team is a 12-week course, which gives unemployed young people the skills and confidence to turn their lives around. It has provided many new opportunities for Mo, including taking part in an action packed residential week, working as a part of a team and getting involved in his community.
It was while working on a project to create an allotment in Fallowfield for local people that he first came into contact with City South regeneration officer Michelle Wright.
Mo said: “It was my job to secure all of the materials we needed for the community allotment. I telephoned a number of places and eventually spoke to Michelle from City South who agreed to fund all of the equipment we needed for the project.
“It was the first time I felt that I had achieved something for the good of the local community. Once the project was completed we all stood back and felt very proud of what we’d accomplished.”
City South has been working closely with The Prince’s Trust for a number of years and is pioneering the way the young people’s charity works with housing associations – giving young people the best opportunities in life. The Team programme is run from one of the social landlord’s properties in Fallowfield.
Michelle, who continues to work closely with Mo, said: “For City South, working with The Prince’s Trust is a real priority because these young people are our future residents.
“We want to be able to pave the way for them and give them the confidence to make the right choices in life, whether it is learning employability skills, taking steps into further training and education or getting involved in arts and cultural activities.”
Mo has been named as a Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust, helping to inspire other young people by speaking at public events about the difference the charity has made to his life.
Mo has also joined City South’s Youth Network – which tackles issues that matter to young people through innovative and creative projects. He is currently stage manager in a Youth Network production called ‘Playtime’.
Gareth Williams, from The Prince’s Trust in the North West, said: “Mo is a very accomplished young man. To turn around his life in the way that he has is very impressive.
“His ability to inspire others is helping to change a number of other young lives. Mo is an excellent ambassador for The Trust and is an absolute pleasure to work with.
“Organisations like City South Manchester Housing Trust do incredible work in supporting The Prince’s Trust, giving young people the best possible chance to find a job.”
Mo is now hoping to fulfil his dream of being a radio or TV presenter after completing a production course at Unity Radio and work experience at Peace FM. He also has potential apprenticeships lined up through City South.
Mo’s advice to other young people who may be in a similar situation as he was is: “Never give up on your dreams and don’t be afraid to dream big. This whole experience has given me my life back and made me much more positive.
“Working with The Prince’s Trust and City South has given me confidence and taught me to be assertive in the right way. It’s also providing me with opportunities that would not have been available to me.”
The Prince’s Trust will help 55,000 young people this year. Three in four young people on Prince’s Trust schemes move into work, education or training.
The next Prince’s Trust Team programme takes place at Fallowfield in September. For more information, please contact Glen Hobbs by calling 07590734137.