Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has always been very candid about her early years in Newcastle.
The public, us included, fell for the star’s ability to wear her heart on her sleeve. From her detailed accounts in her autobiography My Story, and her emotional attachment to her X Factor contestants, she fast became the nation’s sweetheart.
Today, the Geordie beauty has contributed a special blog to the Huffington Post UK, which details her own account of growing up with very little money, and what she belives to be the biggest setback for today’s younger generation.
This is especially relevant today, as millions of school children across the country will be collecting their GCSE results.
Cheryl points out: “This week marks an incredible turning point for hundreds of thousands of young people who are waking up this week about to embark on a new chapter of their lives.”
The Only Human songstress has a positive message, saying “For those who did well with their GCSEs, or even managed to just scrape by, their world is about to change… It is a time for celebration. Not just for them but for those who supported them through the hard work and tears to get to where they are today.”
But Cheryl understands the importance of highlighting the fact that many may be struggling with disappointment over their grades: “In the middle of all the headlines announcing ‘record results’, we mustn’t forget those who are waking up today, who didn’t get the results they so desperately wanted.”
She goes on to explain: “These young people are also about to start a new chapter of their lives, but sadly, with it will come anxiety, uncertainty and in some cases even depression.”
The Northern lass wants to take the opportunity to point out that grades aren’t the only pressure that young people facing. She highlights: “It’s so sad that one in 10 young people here in the UK describe their childhood as ‘traumatic’. That’s a million kids which is absolutely heartbreaking.”
We completely agree, Chezza. The chart-topper wants to use her unique position to make a positive change. She is very invested in this issue, having founded her own charity, named Cheryl’s Trust, to work to improve the lives of young people.
Speaking of her work, the star says: “I have chosen to partner with youth charity, The Prince’s Trust, and have committed to raise £2million to help the most vulnerable young people move into jobs, training or education. The Prince’s Trust works with those who are unemployed, have no qualifications and sometimes even suffer with mental health issues and drug and alcohol addiction. All too often, they already feel like they have failed at life.”
Looking back at her own background and experiences, she recalls: “I grew up in a tough area in Newcastle. I saw drug and alcohol abuse, crime and poverty. I also saw how the lack of role models meant that many of my friends felt they had nowhere to turn.
“We didn’t have much money and there were times when me and my brothers and sister would have to go without so we had food on the table… I was also used to wearing cast-offs from my big sister and another girl up the street.”
Cheryl reveals that she believes the missing component for many is the lack of a good role model: “You don’t have to be from a large family to have a happy childhood, but you do need to have that one role model. Someone you can look up to or ask for advice every now and then.
“Too many young people are growing up without this vital support. With no-one to turn to, many of these young people are battling issues such as long-term unemployment, addiction, homelessness and depression, alone. Life can seem harsh for these young people, and we need to help them before it is too late.”
You can read the full blog post here.
Just one more reason to love Cheryl, then…
By Laura Jane Turner