North Tyneside’s man outstanding efforts to turn life around win award

Duncan Nicholson, head of funding North East and Cumbria, Big Lottery Fund, with Outstanding Achievement winner Alex Leigh (right).
Duncan Nicholson, head of funding North East and Cumbria, Big Lottery Fund, with Outstanding Achievement winner Alex Leigh (right).

A young man has won a regional award after turning his life around.

Alex Leigh picked up the Talent Match North East’s (TMNE) Outstanding Achievement Award in recognition for overcoming difficult personal circumstances.

The 25-year-old, from North Tyneside, was homeless and dealing with anxiety and depression, but thanks to TMNE partner the Newcastle United Foundation, he now works as a kitchen assistant at Slaley Hall Hotel and is in training for his dream role as a chef.

He was joined by Newcastle Eagles coach Fab Flournoy and Heart Radio breakfast presenter Justin Lockwood at Talent Match North East’s Awards.

TMNE takes an innovative approach to tackling long-term youth unemployment, helping hundreds of 18 to 24-year-olds each year to transform their lives.

Sean Duffy, chief executive of the Wise Group, said: “Services like Talent Match are crucial to addressing youth unemployment across the region.

“It’s the young people themselves though who do the really hard work, often overcoming tremendous odds to do so, and it’s important to take time to recognise and celebrate their incredible achievements.”

Alex got his life back on track with one-to-one support from his youth coach. While in temporary accommodation at De Paul in Whitley Bay, Alex secured a job at Blue Reef Aquarium and volunteered at Crisis Café, before landing his current role at Slaley Hall.

To find out more about Talent Match North East call 0191 242 4898 or email talentmatch@thewisegroup.co.uk