Phoenix’s story

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My name is Phoenix*. I’m 18 and live my adopted parents, sister and two guinea pigs.

I was removed from my parents’ care shortly after my second birthday and placed into foster care, which became permanent because I suffered severe neglect and abuse. I was adopted at the age of four.

I have attachment disorder, developmental trauma, autism and mental health issues.

This past year (2021) has been tough. I’ve lost two people who were close to me. I’ve also suffered mental and physical trauma and been hospitalised.

I was questioning what I was still doing in life.

I was then offered a Tall Ships Youth Trust voyage by my youth worker and I immediately jumped at the opportunity.

However, I had to be assessed first to check I was mentally stable and able to do the trip.

Luckily, I was because the voyage has changed me for the better.

The experience has really boosted my confidence and self-esteem and I’ve been comfortable doing things I wasn’t before, like socialising for more than 10 minutes.

Despite my background Tall Ships Youth Trust accepted me and helped me get a sailing achievement to go on my CV.

I’m proud of our Challenger 4 team because they really supported me and helped me get out of my comfort bubble. I feel like a totally different person and I have positive memories that will last forever.

No one judges you. It is inclusive not exclusive. I’ve asked to go back and help because I want other young people to get the same experience I did.

This highlights the life-changing work Tall Ships Youth Trust does. Please, help change more lives like mine.

*This young person’s name has been changed to protect their identity