We were extremely honoured to become Prince’s Trust Young Ambassadors last year and Laura and I were lucky enough to be invited to the Prince’s Trust Awards on Wednesday 11th March 2020. We were invited by the wonderful Deborah Clarke (Head of Public Sector Partnerships- Yorkshire and Humber and the North East) who we met at our first ever event as Young Ambassadors at Deborah’s induction to the Trust- her support has meant the world and it really meant a lot to be able to celebrate the awards with her.
The annual event celebrates the achievements of the amazing young people the The Trust has supported through their incredible programmes. It also celebrates the achievements of the Young Ambassadors and also the volunteers that support The Trust in a variety of roles.
The Prince’s Trust was set up by HRH The Prince of Wales in 1976. He used his Navy severance pay of £7,400 to fund a number of community initiatives. The Trust has now helped over 900,000 young people across the UK and this number is continually rising.
The Prince’s Trust Awards were hosted by Ant and Dec. They have been supporters of The Trust for many years. It was lovely to see how passionate and dedicated they are to The Trust.
The awards began with a song by Aisa Ali, the winner of Young Ambassador of the Year 2020. Aisa is incredibly talented and it was amazing to hear her life story. Aisa joined the Team programme, gained confidence, got a job and went on to become a Young Ambassador. She now has her own YouTube channel where she shares her past experiences and hopes that it will help other young people.
Next was the NatWest Enterprise Award won by Vicki Frost. Vicki was on the Enterprise Programme and she developed a business called ‘Sign Connect’ in which “by clicking on a QR code, a pre-recorded video would open and show a translation of the information into sign language, audio description and accessible subtitles.". Vicki's dedication to an accessible world for all was demonstrated by her bringing her own sign language interpreter on stage with her. It was amazing to see Vicki using her platform to champion an accessible and equal world, which is a topic very close to Laura and I’s hearts.
Charleigh Morritt won the Delta Air Lines Rising Star Award. Charleigh had severe anxiety and was unable to do day-to-day tasks. She took part in the Fairbridge Programme and this helped her grow in confidence. She got a job and her confidence grew even more. Charleigh is now a full-time law student at university. It was brilliant to see her journey, how proud her mum was of her and the difference The Trust has made to her.
Heathfield Community School won the Dell Technologies Community Impact Award. The year 10 students joined the Achieve Programme and made a huge impact and real difference within their community. They sold vegetables, ran bingo nights, raised money to entertain residents of the local care home and at Christmas they bought each of the residents Christmas presents. It was a lovely and heartwarming story of the young people of Heathfield making a difference.
Akeme Cox won the Global Aga Khan Foundation award. Akeme lives in Barbados and was introduced to The Trust by a friend. He used to skip school but he then joined the Team Programme as “he saw it as an opportunity to better himself and get involved in something new on the island” He said the Team gave him the confidence to believe in himself. Following a work placement, Akeme was offered a full-time job and he wants to own his own food truck. It was brilliant to hear about the work that the Trust does around the world and to hear the stories of those, like Akeme, that The Trust has helped.
Phidizz won the HSBC UK Breakthrough Award and walked onto the stage to his own amazing song he produced with his mentor. He was excluded from school at 15 and was homeless at 17. He found The Trust and took part in the Talent Match in which he was matched with Yasin who is in the music industry and now Phidizz is now setting up a music business through the Enterprise Programme. Phidiz was determined to turn his life around to give himself a positive future in the music industry. He now volunteers for the Trust and is also training to be a peer mentor.
Alan Davies won the Ascential Educational Achiever award. Alan was severely lacking confidence and found it difficult to interact with others. He took part in the Achieve Programme. Alan now works in care but has found a love of singing and has spent time in the recording studio. Alan has said “Things are much better for me now. I am more confident, I’m happier and feel that I fit in. I now have a fabulous apprenticeship at a local day centre where I care for people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other physical and mental health conditions. I feel that I really fit in here and enjoy looking after people with different needs." Alan’s version of the song ‘Hallejuah’ was played to close the awards, it was a beautiful rendition and made even more special by Alan’s dedication to supporting others.
The Homesense Young Achiever of the Year was won by Kayanne Bond. Kayanne took part in the Get Into Customer Service Programme. Before this she had been homeless, in hospital and had to move to a different part of the country following a relationship breakdown. From doing the programme, Kayanne’s confidence grew and she started to believe in herself. She is now working for a hotel chain and wants to do a degree in Counselling and in the future she wants to have her own hotel chain. It was clear to see how determined and hopeful Kayanne was for the future- we cannot wait to stay in one of her hotels in the future.
The Good Morning Britain’s Volunteer of the Year award went to Pat who works at the Cardiff centre and has volunteered for The Trust for four years. Pat helps young people with mock interviews and CV writing, supported cooking sessions to prepare meals for seniors in the local community and she also visits young people through the Development Award Programme. It was amazing to see Pat’s passion for the young people and The Trust. She is truly instrumental within The Trust and everyone could see how much she loved what she does - “Seeing young people get opportunities to learn in a safe environment without being judged is so inspiring to me; and it gives me great fulfilment that I have played a part in changing young lives.”
The awards ended with a speech from HRH The Prince of Wales. He spoke about The Trust and his admiration of not only the winners of the awards but the nominees and young people who have been supported. He thanked the ambassadors, volunteers and everyone involved in The Trust and spoke about the future of The Trust as it moves into new parts of the world including America.. His speech was a perfect nod to everything that The Trust does and how it supports young people and how just having one person believe in a young person can change their lives forever. We are extremely grateful to HRH The Prince of Wales for believing in young people and taking a chance on them.
Especially during this crisis we are facing- it was such a reminder of the good in the world and how people can come together to make real change. This has been shown further by the launch of the incredible Young People’s Relief Fund and action plan, which we are launching a fundraiser for in the next couple of weeks.
The awards were absolutely brilliant, uplifting and inspiring. It was incredible to see and celebrate the young people that have been supported through The Trust and it makes us even prouder to be Young Ambassadors and we hope that we can help as many young people as we can through our role as Ambassadors.
We know ourselves that the Prince’s Trust family provides life changing support, we are truly grateful for everything The Trust has done for us. It was such an honour to be able to hear the amazing stories of young people first hand all across the UK and beyond and celebrate with those who made it possible, those people who have enabled the Trust to do the life-changing work they do.