A rising star nationally recognised

A rising star in the region has been recognised for her continued hard work helping young people get their lives back on track.

Meg Baines works for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) delivering their Prince’s Trust Team programme out of Washington Community Fire Station.

The 23-year-old had previously left school when she was just 13 and had come to a crossroads in her life, unsure what to do next.

That’s when last year, she enrolled on the Prince’s Trust course herself to focus on her own personal development.

Meg excelled on the course and impressed instructors so much she was invited to come back and volunteer to help with the next course in September 2022.

Her enthusiasm was infectious and she spent 12 weeks helping others improve their maths and English skills throughout the course.

But that wasn’t the end of Meg’s journey and in January she was offered a permanent job as an assistant team leader delivering future courses.

Since then, Meg has been helping develop the young people of Washington through the Prince’s Trust programme making them think about their futures and what they want to do with their lives.

This inspired her colleagues at TWFRS, Zoe Smart and John Anderson, to nominate Meg for the Prince’s Trust Rising Star award.

The Rising Star Award recognises young people who have overcome barriers and are in sustainable employment.

As an alumni of the course who is now making an impact on the youth of the North East, Zoe and John felt compelled to nominate Meg for the award.

And today (Monday) Meg is using her platform to encourage more people to get involved with the Prince’s Trust to change their lives.

She said “Doing the Prince’s Trust programme was the best decision I’ve ever made – it totally changed my life.

“The programme and the amazing staff helped me get out of the dark and hopeless place I found myself stuck in for most of my life. It gave me new skills, renewed confidence and self-belief.

“Now I hope I can make the same difference to other young people’s lives who I’ve been given the opportunity to work with.”

When asked about how it felt to be nominated for a national award for how much she has developed over the last 18 months, Meg spoke of her “pride”.

She continued: “Being nominated for the award made me feel really proud of myself; I need to believe in myself and my skills more.

“It’s nice to know that my colleagues clearly see something in me that they want to nurture and push to develop.”

John Anderson, Divisionary Activities Manager, said: “Since joining us, Meg has lived up to her early promise and has proven herself a fantastic addition to our team.

“She exudes enthusiasm with the young people on TEAM, and is assured in how she manages challenging behaviour or safeguarding issues.

“Meg’s challenge is not yet over. She is truly developing in her role and every day is working to overcome the worries and insecurities that she dealt with earlier in her life.

“Meg has great potential for the future and is an exemplary ambassador for both the Prince’s Trust and TWFRS.”

Meg did not win the Prince’s Trust Rising Star Award for 2023 but did receive a certificate recognising her achievements.

The Prince’s Trust Team programme is a 12 week scheme ran by TWFRS in Community Fire Stations across the region.

The next course begins on January 15th in Farringdon, South Shields, and Washington; if you are interested you can visit the TWFRS website to fill out the online form.