AFTER leaving school budding artist Scott Heffernan became mute.

Suffering from mental health problems, the teenager couldn't talk to anyone and refused to leave the house.

And things only got worse when funding cuts stopped the help he was getting.

But today, 12 years on, sat in his own tattoo parlour in Burnley, the 32-year-old is a world away from his former self.

Lancashire Telegraph:

Now his story is being used to inspire other young people to go it alone and channel their skills into launching their own business.

Scott, who features in a new Prince's Trust film promoting the organisation's Enterprise programme, said: "My mental health was so bad, I was literally mute. I couldn’t talk to anyone and refused to leave the house."

After cuts put paid to the mental health support he had been receiving, Scott was given a life-changing recommendation by a specialist charity he contacted.

He added: “They said I should consider the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme for support starting my own tattoo business. People were always complimentary about my drawings and I'd done a bit of tattooing at a friend’s salon before.

"But setting up my own business was a whole new ball game. And that's where The Prince's Trust were so good."

Scott has now been running his own business – Timeless Tattoos – for three years.

He said: “They gave me all the basics to get started, kept in touch after the programme and gave me a long-term business mentor for extra support.

"There were teething problems, but I stuck at it. Having The Prince's Trust believe that I could make it as a tattoo artist was a turning point for me.

"I’ve now got a healthy business and client base, I’m expanding into permanent make-up tattoos, and I’ve even started mentoring a young tattooist.

"I still suffer with mental health issues but the difference is that I can manage them now, and I feel infinitely better about my future and providing for my family.”

Supported by NatWest, the #YouAreTheNext campaign features Scott alongside four other successful Prince’s Trust supported businesses in a film, spreading the message that young people already have the ideas needed to carve out their own success.

Since 1983, The Prince’s Trust has helped more than 85,000 young people into business.

The Enterprise programme supports potential entrepreneurs with training and mentoring to help them learn business basics, write a business plan and test their idea, and even offers them access to funding.

Clare Crabb, North Regional Director at The Prince’s Trust, said: “The vision and commitment of businesses like NatWest, who are prepared to give financial support to help young entrepreneurs, means we are able to support more and more young people into business.

"No young person should ever feel like there isn’t a place for them to work on their ideas and be supported into launching their own business."