The Prince’s Trust was founded by Charles the Prince of Wales in 1976. It offers support such as training and money to people aged 14 to 30. The goal is to help people get over the difficulties they have had in their lives and realise they can become successful. Since it was founded, more than half a million young people in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been helped, including Kevin.
The Trust focuses particularly on young people who have low marks in school, are out of work or have been in trouble with the law. It supports them in a number of ways. Firstly, they may borrow up to £5,000 to start their own business. They also get a ‘mentor’, a person who has opened their own business and can offer some good advice and help when needed. Secondly, The Trust runs twelve-week personal development courses called Team. The participants, aged 16 to 25, gain new skills, qualifications and work experience through teamwork in the community. Next there is Sound Live, a six-month programme that develops young people’s musical talents and confidence. Professionals train participants and help them find work in the music business or other careers.
These programmes and others offer encouragement to many disadvantaged young people. Says Kevin: ‘When I got out of prison, I felt alone and to get so much trust from an organisation was just what I needed.’
Of course all these programmes need funding, and this is achieved in many ways. People who want to help can either make donations on the Internet using their credit card or organise their own fund-raiser. However, the most famous fund-raising event is Party in the Park which has taken place in Hyde Park, London every summer since 1998. In fact, it has become Europe’s biggest one-day pop event, where audiences enjoy musical performances by well-known pop stars and bands such as Meat Loaf, Sugababes and Shakira. Over £1 million is raised and audiences can see amazing stunts such as pop groups flying across the stage on a rope.
Today, Kevin is beginning a career as a youth worker, helping others like himself get off the street. He knows the difference The Prince’s Trust can make. ‘I learnt to believe in myself and was given the opportunity to work with other people. I can’t thank them enough. ’