Inspiring Barking teenager named Achiever of the Year
- Credit: Archant
A teenager who was kicked out of school following a traumatic upbringing before turning his life around through a Barking employment charity has had his achievements recognised with a national award.
Douglas Muller, 19, from Barking, was named Young Achiever of the Year by national employment charity Tomorrow’s People on Thursday November 27, at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in Knightsbridge.
Born into a difficult family environment, at the age of five his father hung himself, just doors from where Douglas was sitting in the front room.
His alcoholic mother suffers mental health issues and was the victim of severe domestic violence at the hands of Douglas’ step-father, but gave birth to a boy and a girl during the tumultuous period.
Despite taking care of his younger siblings for a number of years, when he was 15 they were taken into care through intervention, leaving him alone in a hostel.
Now living at The Foyer, in Wakering Road, Barking, he has two jobs after completing the ‘Working It Out Programme’ with Tomorrow’s People – a 16-week scheme helping prepare young people for the world of work.
“They’ve done a lot for me and really helped me out,” said Douglas, who now works behind the bar at Fiction nightclub, Romford, in addition to stewarding at huge outdoor concerts.
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“I’ve become a much less angry person and I think much more about the consequences of things before I act now.
“The mentors here are really different to teachers – they speak to me and treat me like a person and I see them as friends.”
Currently funded by Barclays bank, Tomorrow’s People have helped over 470,000 people on their journey into work over the past 30 years.
As well as receiving help with CVs and careers guidance, Douglas also gained a CM Sounds Arts Award in Music Production and Technology, and an NVQ Level two Stewarding Qualification while on the programme.
Task force coordinator Stacey Wright, 26, from Becontree, has worked with Douglas since he was first referred to Tomorrow’s People by The Vineries hostel, Dagenham.
“He was quite a character when we first met him – very angry, especially towards women, due to his traumatic upbringing,” she said.
“But after a few weeks when he realised we weren’t going to discipline him or kick him out her began to open up, and you could see just how of a weight that lifted.
“Despite his harrowing past, Douglas’s story is full off success and transformations, and he is a real inspiration – we’re all so proud of him.”
For more information visit tomorrows-people.org.uk/regions/view/19/barking-and-dagenham