London Ambulance Service worker triumphs with top royal award
A medic who overcame personal challenges including homelessness and domestic violence to land her dream job has scooped a prestigious award from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.
Assistant Ambulance Practitioner Tania Makwana, 31, from London, has won The Prince’s Trust’s ‘National Marvel Rising Star Award’ which celebrates young people who overcome barriers and find sustainable employment.
At a star-studded ceremony held at Theatre Royal Drury Lane hosted by Ant and Dec today (Tuesday 24 May), Tania was presented her award by Marvel star Sir Ben Kingsley.
Sir Ben said:
“What inspires me the most about Tania’s story is that, after everything she’s been through, she is driven to support others through her role in the London Ambulance Service. Congratulations Tania.”
On winning her award, Tania said:
“Winning The Prince’s Trust’s Rising Star Award is something I never expected. I’m proud of my achievements in life and I’m overwhelmed by the recognition for everything I’ve overcome. I’m also proud to be able to share my story to raise awareness for issues a lot of people go through.”
The award is an incredible achievement for Tania, who left her family home at 17 before becoming homeless with no support network around her. Tania later entered a relationship, but soon started to notice controlling behaviours. The domestic abuse escalated and culminated with Tania’s partner attacking and throwing bleach at her. With the support of police, victim support and social services, Tania left everything she had built over 12 years behind, fled the area and was placed in a women’s refuge.
“Thankfully, I made my way back to London. I was sitting at home one day in lockdown when my kids were at school, and I saw an advert on Instagram for The Prince’s Trust’s Get Started with the Ambulance Service programme. It felt like a sign because I’ve always wanted to work for the ambulance service.”
Tania thrived on the programme, and following a successful interview was offered her position of Assistant Ambulance Practitioner at London Ambulance Service in January last year. It was a dream come true for Tania, who has wanted to work for an ambulance service since she was a little girl.
“When I was little, I would watch shows and saw how the ambulance service rescued people, and I wished that someone would rescue and save me. But I grew up and became an ambulance worker and I rescued myself. I’m 31 now and this is the only time I’ve ever been happy – my life has only just begun.”
London Ambulance Service’s Chief Executive, Daniel Elkeles, said:
“Tania’s award is so well-deserved. We are very proud of what she has achieved not only in her role in our ‘green family’, but also for the inspiration she provides to others who might be living in similarly challenging circumstances.
“I’m glad she has been able to turn her life around and achieve her dream and work with us. I would urge anyone looking for a fulfilling career to follow her lead and look the variety of rewarding roles we have at London Ambulance Service.
The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards ceremony will be broadcast on ITV at 8.30pm on Thursday 26 May to celebrate the remarkable achievements of young people who have transformed their lives with the support of The Prince’s Trust.