Ex-con Danny Smith picks up Prince's Trust award for turning back on crime
A MAN who was imprisoned for an arson attack could be about to meet the Prince Of Wales at a ceremony to recognise the transformation in young people's lives.
Danny Smith, 25, received The Prince's Trust "Breakthrough Award" at a ceremony in Leeds.
Danny, who was sentenced to two years in prison for an arson attack in Immingham, in December, 2010, was one of three young adults from the Yorkshire and Humber region who were shortlisted for the award.
And, as the Yorkshire and Humber winner of the Breakthrough Award, Danny is now waiting to hear if he has been shortlisted to attend the National Prince's Trust Celebrate Success Awards, which will be held in London, in March, 2013.
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He joined the Prince's Trust Programme in February, 2012, after making a decision to turn his life around and move on from the breakdown of his relationship with his partner.
Two years ago he turned to alcohol and substance misuse at the prospect of not seeing his daughter and his addictions spiralled out of control.
He lost his bricklaying job, began to accumulate debts and became increasingly depressed and, at times, suicidal.
Events came to a devastating peak when, at his lowest ebb, he set fire to his flat, in Washdyke Lane, Immingham, resulting in extensive damage to the block, while residents fled for their lives.
The cost of the damage was estimated at £90,000.
Danny surrendered himself to the police and received a two-year custodial sentence at Grimsby Crown Court in March last year.
With time to reflect, Danny made the decision to turn his life around and on his release from prison he enrolled on The Prince's Trust Team programme.
The scheme is aimed at providing young people with the confidence and skills to improve their employment prospects and, over the 12-week course, Danny's self-esteem and confidence increased.
Danny said: "The Prince's Trust is the best thing that could have happened to me. I have no doubt my struggle with drugs and alcohol would have continued without their intervention."
He said he has rebuilt relationships with his family and is seeking employment.
Danny's success on the scheme has also led to an invitation to return as a mentor on the next programme.
Taking the opportunity to further enhance his leadership ability, Danny jumped at the chance to help others and is now a team mentor.
Jamie Morris, Prince's Trust team leader for Humberside Fire and Rescue, said: "Danny is a highly valued team member and a role model for others on the scheme. Danny has dealt with some difficult times in his life, I am really proud his achievements and the commitment he has shown."
Keep checking your Grimsby Telegraph for updates.