'Every day was just a chance to prove myself' - Joshua Williams' amazing story of perseverance


I was often looked down on and I was seen as someone who might not make something of myself. So every day was just a chance to prove myself.

Joshua Williams

People never expected Joshua Williams to achieve very much.

He told Sameena Ali-Khan about the time a teacher at college heard he wanted to apply for the University of Birmingham. She told him to have a rethink, and lower his ambitions.

But he went ahead anyway. And got in.

The 22-year-old from Kingshurst didn't have the easiest start.

His mum was a single parent, and the pressures got too much, leading to a mental health breakdown. Joshua was homeless, and went into the care system. But he was still determined to achieve in life, and never wanted to be seen as a 'problem child.'

Joshua told Sameena Ali-Khan what 'Britain' is to him Credit: ITV News Central

A few years later he'd hear about the 'Mr Birmingham' competition. When he realised it was a chance to get involved with charities, and to make his mark in the city, he entered, and to his total surprise, won.

It changed his life. It was a platform to build his confidence, and a network, among people and businesses he'd always thought were out of reach.

And to apply to university.

Do I deserve to be here, should I be here?

Although still doubting his abilities, he thrived at university, setting up societies to help others with their mental health or to support care leavers.

One of his proudest moments was being presented with a scholarship, with his proud mum at his side.

He's now one of the most prominent activists for social change in the city.

Watch more in our 'My Britain' series