Cheryl Cole Saved By 'Love Of Music'
Singer spoke from the heart about her tough upbringing...
The Call My Name singer was in the North East catching up with her charity, The Cheryl Cole Foundation, which she set up in February 2011 in association with the Prince's Trust.
In a letter published by The Mirror, Cheryl has now written about the aims of her charity and how she wants to help kids in a similar situation to her own.
"I had a tough upbringing and didn’t have many privileges as a child. I classed that as normal because it was all I’d ever known. I know what disadvantaged young people go through. I understand it. I get it.
"Growing up in an underprivileged environment can sometimes mean you’re surrounded by the wrong people and you make the wrong decisions. Being educated about the different paths you can take in life is vital – especially during your school years.
"A lot of young people don’t have focus and they don’t know what they are going to do with their lives. If I hadn’t had a dream, I could have gone off the rails and I could have had a very, very different life.
"I had a horrible time as a teenager and wasn’t very confident. Between the ages of 16 and 18, I was also in a horrible relationship.
"If I hadn’t had a love for music, I could have gone down a different path and become lost.
"I get a lot of letters from fans saying that I’ve inspired them to go for their dreams because of my background.
"Before I set up The Cheryl Cole Foundation, it had been niggling at me for quite a while to find a way to give back. I had an overwhelming sense of wanting to do something, so I set up the foundation.
"I decided that the foundation should help the work of The Prince’s Trust because it of its incredible work with young people.
"When I was a teenager, I knew The Prince’s Trust was the place to go if you wanted to change your life. I have always admired the Prince of Wales for his charity work. He really cares about our youth and wants to make a difference to young people’s lives.
"Money raised through my foundation will support The Trust’s work in schools in the North East.
"Initially the funds will help to run three Prince’s Trust xl clubs for the next two years. These clubs support pupils who are at risk of exclusion or underachievement at school. They give young people a reason to stay in school and achieve qualifications.
"The North East feels like a good place to start because it’s my home and I want to show young people that just because you come from a disadvantaged area, it doesn’t make you less of a person.
"The other week, I visited young people who have benefited from xl clubs in the North East. I wanted to hear their stories to see where they have come from and what they are achieving.
"I met Dean who decided to leave school after being bullied and losing his grandad. I heard how he had lost all his confidence and how he had struggled with school.
"But because Dean’s new school had a Prince’s Trust xl club, he was able to get help. I’m really pleased to say he settled back into school and finished his GCSEs.
"I also met Jade, whose father tragically passed away eight years ago. After this happened, and at a time when she needed support from friends, she was bullied – it’s no surprise that she dreaded school.
"Jade was given one-to-one support, again thanks to The Trust’s xl club. Her confidence grew and she started to find herself again. She now has GCSEs, is working part time as a care assistant, and is studying for an NVQ in the hope of going to university. Another inspirational story.
"These young people and their amazing accounts made my latest visit to the North East unforgettable. They are important stories that have made me more determined than ever to drive my foundation forward and help other youngsters.
"To take just one young person who has started off in an underprivileged home and then to come back in a couple of years to find that their life has changed and they are a confident young adult would be incredible."