MORE ABOUT OMAR SHARIF
MEET OMAR SHARIF
Prince's Trust Ambassador and Young Achiever of the year - Omar Sharif, change consultant and coach has now officially won The Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Award! This Award honours the nation’s unsung heroes and recognises the amazing achievements of ordinary people. It is the biggest awards show of its kind on British TV.
Growing up in an area of London where gun and knife crime were a way of life, Omar became involved in a gang when he was 16 years old.
But when three of his friends died as a result of knife crime, it was a horrifying wake-up call and Omar knew things needed to change.
And now, with help from The Prince’s Trust, he has turned his life around to help deter other youngsters from following the same destructive path.
Omar, 27, says rebuilding his life after leaving the gang was a challenge. He defied pressure from fellow gang members and moved to a different part of London for a fresh start. He set up his own business but struggled to keep it afloat and found himself on the streets.
He says: “I was selling health products door to door, but it didn’t work out and I ended up homeless.”
Omar moved to Coventry, where he applied unsuccessfully for 50 jobs and plunged into depression. At his lowest ebb, Omar heard about Team – a Prince’s Trust programme to help 16 to 25-year-olds develop skills that will help them find work.
He was sceptical about joining up, but soon started to feel empowered. Recalling his first days on the programme, he says: “I was unsure about committing to it. But The Prince’s Trust treated me like an equal and believed in me. I also think the team element, like belonging to a family, is important. I started to feel that, ‘actually, this is making me more confident and positive’.”
Omar demonstrated strong leadership skills and, after the 12-week programme finished, started working with young teenagers who needed help getting back on the right track.
“I wanted to show these young people there were more positive choices out there,” says Omar.
“Young people can often feel lost and unsure of what to do, and The Prince’s Trust can help to guide those people.”
Omar’s new-found confidence and sense of purpose had a ripple effect on other areas of his life.
Inspired by his positive attitude and energy, people started asking him for advice on how to lead a happier, healthier life. Omar decided to become a personal trainer so he could help and motivate others. He says: “I decided to qualify as a fitness coach so I could share my passion for getting fit and what it can do for your mental state.”
Omar decided to close down his personal training business and now runs his Coaching and Consulting business 'Omar Inspires' full time. Omar has had bookings for TV appearances, to go into schools, colleges, prisons and corporate organisations to inspire people with his experiences but to also consult on bringing about long lasting positive change.
Through sharing his own struggles Omar highlights that, with help, a route can be found to a more fulfilling and happier reality.
I would never have thought in a million years I’d be up for an award like this! The Pride of Britain Awards is huge! Through peer pressure I became involved in dangerous situations, friends have died. It’s at that point I knew I had to make a change - one that would ultimately save my life. It was hard at first but with support from The Prince’s Trust I found inner strength and the ability to help and inspire others in the same situation. It really is possible to change your life if you have the support of others and the determination to succeed. I think I’m proof of that.