Written by Editorial Team, DonateToday
Published: Tuesday, 20th March 2018

How Asher Bourke went from full-time carer to her childhood sweetheart to a signed musician with help from Talent Match and The Prince's Trust

After Asher Bourke’s boyfriend was assaulted, he suffered swelling on his brain and ended up on life support in intensive care. When he was finally discharged from hospital, Asher became his full-time carer for almost two years – with help from the Talent Match programme, run by The Prince's Trust in Leicestershire, she was able to make up for lost time; turning poetry she’d written during her boyfriend’s recuperation period into music.

Assault

Having been together for many years, the future looked bright for Asher and her boyfriend – he was a budding photographer, while she held a deep love of reading and writing poetry. They’d both been accepted onto university courses in London and were looking forward to starting their studies.

However, their lives were shattered when Asher’s boyfriend returned home to Leicester in October 2015 to mark the first anniversary of his mother’s passing. While out in his home city, Asher’s boyfriend was assaulted and left with life-threatening head injuries.

Rushed to hospital, he required immediate surgery to reduce the swelling on his brain, before being transferred to intensive care where he was placed on life support.

Meanwhile, back in London, Asher received a message from the police, asking her to contact them immediately. Returning to Leicester, the young woman raced to her boyfriend’s bedside.

Support

Naturally, Asher needed support to get her through that difficult time. A charity called Headway – who work with patients and their families to improve their lives after a brain injury – sent a worker to support the student as she waited for news in the hospital, and to answer her questions.

Whiling away the long hours in the hospital and attempting to cope with everything that was going on, Asher turned to her love of poetry, noting down words and phrases inspired by her boyfriend’s favourite things which she was later able to turn into a fully-formed poem.

Finally, after two months in hospital, Asher’s boyfriend was discharged from hospital, though he had developed epilepsy, struggled with basic tasks and had to wear a protective helmet. The couple had to move into a council flat to cope with his condition and Asher became his full-time carer.

"I was suffering a lot with anxiety and was really paranoid, always thinking the worst would happen."

Asher Bourke

Talent Match

It took almost two years to get to the point where her boyfriend was independent enough that the young woman could consider getting her own life back on track. Recommended to the HQ Recording Studio, Asher was then enrolled onto the Talent Match programme; a Big Lottery Fund initiative designed to support 18 to 24-year-olds who have been out of work or training for over 12 months (led by The Prince's Trust in Leicestershire).

Asher turned to poetry to help her cope while her boyfriend was in hospital

Through the Talent Match programme, Asher received one-to-one support from a mentor, Yasin, and was encouraged to address her feelings.

‘When I started with Talent Match,’ Asher recalls, ‘I was suffering a lot with anxiety and was really paranoid, always thinking the worst would happen. I was worried about my own health too.

‘Talent Match helped me slowly start building up confidence and my social skills again and made me realise my interests and passions.’

Having spoken with Asher about her poetry, Yasin encouraged her to try turning it into a song. After some early jitters, Asher built up the confidence to try her hand at recording and was delighted with the results.

It appears she wasn’t the only one, as Yasin then offered to sign her to his new record label, under the moniker Asher X.

"I want my words to shine."

Asher Bourke

True Romance

Happily, the future is now looking bright again for both Asher and her boyfriend. The couple have moved back to their old flat in London, and both have returned to university to finish their studies.

Asher’s debut record True Romance is now available on iTunes and Bandcamp, with proceeds from the sale of the song going to Headway, the charity that helped her and her boyfriend deal with his injuries. In addition to buying her track, you can also donate directly to Headway.

The Talent Match programme has helped Asher to explore her creative passions and renew her confidence – she’s now brimming with enthusiasm for the future.

‘Although I’m a music artist, deep-down, I’m really a poet,’ she maintains. ‘My hopes for the future now are that I want my words to shine, whether that is with music in the background or just on their own in a poem format.’