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Ryan triumphs over tragedy

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Ryan triumphs over tragedy thumbnailPictured are, from left, local actor Patrick Buchanan, Ryan Lennon from Portstewart, winner of the Rising Star Award, and Donal McAteer of award sponsors, Devenish.

AN inspirational Portstewart man, who turned his life around after seeking solace in drugs and self-harm, has been honoured by the Prince's Trust.
Ryan Lennon, who ended up behind bars, now gives talks to inmates and helps others battling addictions and homelessness.
The 22-year-old won the Devenish Rising Star Award during a ceremony held in Titanic Belfast last week recognising the achievements of disadvantaged young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community.
In his early years Ryan was plagued by anger issues. He spent much of his childhood in care and, following his best friend's death, constantly got into fights.
He left school before sitting his GCSEs, seeking escape in drugs and self-harm and was later diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder.
He said: "I didn't deal with my mate's death at all well. It messed with my head. I spent the next few years in and out of prison, got fostered by my partner's parents, became homeless and actually went to prison one time, just so I had somewhere safe to sleep."
Encouraged by his local church, Ryan joined Team, a 12-week programme from The Prince's Trust which improves the employability prospects of unemployed young people.
Enthusiastic and eager to engage, he bonded well with the group and was offered a job following a successful work placement in a hotel. But it was the community aspects of Team that struck him the most.

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