Prince Charles will attend a star-studded awards ceremony next week to celebrate young people who have turned their lives around with support from his charity, The Prince’s Trust. Hosted by Ant and Dec, celebrities including Thierry Henry, Gemma Arterton, Claudia Winkleman, Phillip Schofield and Tamsin Egerton are expected to attend. The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx and HomeSense Celebrate Success Awards, which takes place at the London Palladium on March 15, recognises the achievements of young people who have overcome issues like abuse, drug addiction, homelessness and depression to make a success of their lives. We are delighted to be backing the awards and here we take a look at the three inspirational teams in the final for the Dell EMC Community Impact Award in association with HELLO! magazine.
A battalion of young soldiers who died a century ago inspired a group of young people from Leith to achieve more than they ever believed possible. Brought together by The Prince’s Trust xl (Achieve) programme, which helps motivate young people who are struggling at school, they were all underachieving and lacking in self-belief, while some also needed help with mental health problems, offending behaviour and poor school attendance. They decided to commemorate 216 young soldiers from the area who died in a 1915 rail crash en route to Gallipoli during World War One. The project involved them creating a stained-glass poppy wreath, designing glass dog tags to hang on a Tree of Life at a local arts centre and stencilling 216 personalised poppies along one of the city’s busiest streets to mark the trail for a public parade and commemoration service. The group designed posters to raise awareness of the tragedy, delivering one to every address that those lost in the disaster had departed from and helped to plant 215 trees as part of the World War I Centenary Wood in the Pentlands, with the final tree being planted by Princess Anne. The young people found a sense of purpose at school and in their community, gaining confidence, motivation and a sense of achievement as well as learning new skills. They are now taking positive steps towards their futures. Group member Maria Leslie, 17, says: “It was really scary at first but it turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done. I feel really proud of our project.”
Bridgewater Team 42
Nine unemployed young people from Bridgewater wanted to bring a positive change to their community and decided to give a sensory makeover to a rundown garden for adults with learning disabilities. Aged 16 to 22, they transformed the space at West Huntspill Day Centre during their time on Team – a 12-week Prince’s Trust programme to build confidence and job prospects. Team member Zoe Mills, says: “Most of us hadn't been around people with learning disabilities before, so we didn't know what to expect. But they were so nice and friendly, we knew we wanted to do something special for them.” With more than half of the team suffering from anxiety and communication problems, the first hurdle they faced was fundraising for the project with a bag pack at ASDA. But by working together, they raised £224.24 in just four hours and secured donations of paint and tyres from Dulux and Somerset Auto & Tyres. By working consistently hard, carefully managing their budget, and putting themselves in the place of the centre’s users, the team brought the sensory garden to life. The end result was a work of art and the garden is now one of the most popular spaces at the Centre. Proud of their achievements, the young people enthusiastically completed the rest of the programme and are now all volunteering, in education, traineeships or in work. Team member Ricky Dean says: “Meeting the service users at the Centre was really good - it helped me and the others put our own problems into perspective.”
Ilkeston Team 175
None of the members of Ilkeston Team 175 had experienced the feeling of self-confidence before their journey with the Prince’s Trust. Aged between 16 and 25, they each faced barriers to success and had not found career paths or a direction in life. All of them needed help to develop their social skills, motivation and self-belief when they signed up for The Prince’s Trust’s Team course – a 12-week personal development programme giving young people the skills and confidence to find employment. The group chose to work at SV2, a charity supporting victims of sexual violence, and took on a project to decorate two therapy rooms and an office. Working together, they shared responsibilities to ensure everybody could try out different skills such as painting mural boards or walls. They planned carefully and collaborated closely with each other and the staff at SV2 to learn about the charity’s work and understand the need to be respectful and considerate of service users. They realised that making the environment friendly and welcoming helped them feel safe when talking about a difficult time in their lives. The team developed outstanding partnerships while working on the project and learned the importance of communicating effectively, dealing with difficulties and persevering. Team member Amber Burton, 19, says, “Since being on the course I have built up motivation for work and am determined to go for what I want to do in life.”
The Prince’s Trust helps disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track. Founded by The Prince of Wales in 1976, the charity has supported 13 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed or struggling at school and at risk of exclusion for more than 40 years. Many of them have been in care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or in trouble with the law. The Trust’s programmes give vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilise their lives, helping develop self-esteem and skills for work. Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training. For more information visit: www.princes-trust.org.uk.