Tuesday, December 9, 2008



Last Thursday I presented Certificates to The Prince's Trust Team 8 - six young people who have completed a tough 12-week course to develop new skills and help them into education, training and employment. The young people, photographed above, were all unemployed and have found a new direction in their lives. Two want to join the Fire Service, one wants to work in retail, one with animals and 2 are going to college. The 12-week course includes a residential, personal action planning, a community project, job search and work experience and raises self esteem.

The Prince's Trust is a successful charity started by the Prince of Wales 40 years ago to help disadvantaged young people aged 14-30 who are unemployed or in trouble with the law to find work and start businesses . In 2007 The Prince's Trust supported 40,000 young people, eg 9,300 through the Business Start up Programme, 11,500 through clubs, 5,500 with grants and 8,000 through Prince's Trust Team Development Programmes like the Bedford one.

The Team 8 Leader was Caroline Barkham of Bedford YMCA, a leading provider of supported housing for young people in Bedford, and the local delivery partner for the Prince's Trust Team. The next Programme starts in January 2009 and any unemployed young person who wants to join the 12 week course is invited to an Open Day at 7 Ashburnham Road, Bedford, or can contact Caroline Barkham on 01234 307040/307804. The website is www.ymca.org.uk

A few years ago I was a Member of the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire Area Board of the Prince's Youth Business Trust, helping disadvantaged young people start their own businesses. Most had difficult home backgrounds, had taken drugs or been in prison and could not get bank loans to start their businesses. The PYBT not only gave them grants but provided free business mentoring. Many of these businesses are now very successful, some with turnovers of £20 million pa or more.

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