The X Factor judge Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has opened up about supporting the next generation, no matter what background they're from

It’s a big, BIG day for students across the UK as they pick up their GCSE results and make plans for the future. It can be nerve wracking, exciting, heartbreaking and emotionally exhausting all at once – something Cheryl Fernandez-Versini knows all too well.

As part of her charity Cheryl’s Trust the X Factor judge has spoken out about how she’s more determined than ever to help the next generation be a happy one.

Writing a heartfelt and honest blog on the Huffington Post UK Cheryl, 32, reached out and said:

‘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.

It’s easy to see why so many people I knew didn’t do well at school and ended up mixing with the wrong crowd and heading down the wrong path to a life of unemployment and sometimes even drugs. It’s scary to see that this is still happening.

I was lucky – I had role models around me who I could talk to in when times were hard. That said, growing up wasn’t easy. 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 remember really wanting a Barbie doll, but because they were so expensive, I ended up having an old one from a girl up the road. I was also used to wearing cast-offs from my big sister and another girl up the street.

However, my family supported my ambitions of singing and dancing. Me mam and dad worked extremely hard so I could attend local dance classes from the age of four. Without them realizing it they’d opened up a whole new world to me and for that, I am so, so grateful. They’ve made it possible for me to create an amazing life for myself, doing something I love every day.

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.’

We couldn’t agree more, Chez!

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