A HOLMFIRTH man who came up with a business idea while recovering from an illness is up for a top award.
Tom Kitchen-Dunn has been nominated for RBS Enterprise Award at The Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards, held in Leeds tonight.
Over two years ago the 21-year-old was battling ill health and turned his life around with help from The Prince’s Trust charity.
And he says he is thrilled to be nominated for the awards, which recognise young people who have overcome barriers and achieved success in creating a sustainable business or social enterprise.
He said: “I only set up my business in September 2011 when I was suffering from ill health and I wasn’t sure what I wanted from my career.
“I had help from The Prince’s Trust and would recommend anyone needing business, education or self-employment advice goes to the Trust.
“I can’t believe I was nominated for the award and then short-listed, it’s great.”
Tom’s journey started two years ago when he started to feel unwell. His weight plummeted and he found lumps in various places. Despite extensive tests nothing could be found and as Tom’s condition deteriorated he was forced to quit his job and wound up in hospital.
Fearing for his life, Tom suffered with depression, but a routine test at his local GP revealed his illness was caused by a treatable thyroid solution.
Shortly after leaving hospital, Tom, who lives and has worked on a farm specialising in poultry, was asked to give a talk to children about hatching chicks.
And it hatched a business idea, the Chickadee Education plan, which, with the help of The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, has blossomed.
Chickadee Education involves placing an incubator with three fertilised eggs in classrooms so that young pupils can learn about the embryonic development from egg to chicken.
Observation, conservation and lesson plans are also provided to teachers as part of the service.
He now works throughout the Yorkshire area, helping to educate children about chickens.
Tom said: “The Prince’s Trust nurtured my entrepreneurial spirit and helped me make significant progress. I feel they completely turned my life around and I am excited for the future.”
Tom recently spoke to children at Farnley Tyas School, where one of his chicken projects is under way.
He said: “Having animals in school brings out the caring side of children. It gives them some responsibility which some children don’t have elsewhere and it teaches them to care for and learn more about animals.”