You can change young lives

by The Princes Trust
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You can change young lives
You can change young lives
You can change young lives
You can change young lives
You can change young lives

With your support we can help many more young people like Laura build their confidence to start something.

Laura, 22, from Stockport, fell ill with chronic fatigue syndrome at the age of 19, and was unable to take up her place at the Royal Veterinary College in London. Then, a golden retriever puppy called Summer came into the picture. Laura had the bright idea of using her prior animal experience with horses and online research to train her new puppy Summer to be an assistance dog and support her with chronic fatigue syndrome and autism.

“When Summer was about 18 months old, I’d finished training her and had nothing more to teach her for assistance dog work. I realised I had all this knowledge now about training assistance dogs that isn’t easily accessible to other people with disabilities, and if it is there it usually costs a fortune for personal tailored support. I wanted to help other people with conditions who were finding it hard to access trained assistance dogs.”

Laura became a qualified and insured dog trainer and approached The Prince’s Trust to help set up her business, Wild Spirit Dog Training. She took part in The Prince’s Trust’s Enterprise course in January 2020, a free course that offers training, funding and resources to future entrepreneurs. Laura has also been matched with a business mentor for 1:1 support.

“The Prince’s Trust helped me with the organisation elements of setting up a business and taught me about finance, like the right way to do invoices. My mentor supports me with regular meetings too. Recently, they asked me how I judge the success of your business, and for me, it’s always how many assistance dogs I’m helping to train.”

“Lots of people who could benefit from assistance dogs are left out of standard services, and that’s the gap in the market my business is trying to close. I work mainly with psychiatric and autism assistance dogs, for example."

Laura is balancing running her business with a BSc Biology degree and MSc in Animal Behaviour at Manchester Metropolitan University.

“Because I work for myself, I can decide when and how much to work. That comes in handy with having a health condition, because I’m not pressured to do things when I feel ill.”

“Long term, I want to run Wild Spirit full time with it totally focussed on assistance dogs. I get so much job satisfaction from the business.”

“If you’re a young person with a disability, it can be daunting to open a business. But it can provide you with so much freedom, and the enjoyment it can bring you is worth 100 times more than the money you make.”

In these challenging times for everyone, thank you so much for thinking of what young people are going through, and supporting them as they try to navigate their lives and begin their careers amidst this crisis.

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With your support we can help many more young people like Lauren build their confidence to start something.

Lauren’s business Farrow Friends, which she opened in 2017 with help from the Prince’s Trust, enables elderly people to live independent lives within their home and local community, while also helping to minimise isolation. Services include shopping, travel to appointments, cleaning, and befriending.

The idea to open the support services business was prompted by Lauren’s personal experience of looking after two relatives with dementia. Following the birth of her son and overcoming an eating disorder, Lauren decided to formulate her plan to open her own business with support from The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme.

Lauren said: ‘I initially contacted The Prince’s Trust when I was 18 and remembered they were non-judgemental, kind and willing to help. I came back a few years later when I felt ready to start my business.'

‘The Trust gave me so much confidence, I was poorly before I came to The Trust due to an eating disorder and so approaching an organisation was scary, however they made me feel welcome and took me under their wing.’

‘The Enterprise programme taught me the foundations of starting a business, which was relaxed and easy to understand. My mentor was very knowledgeable. I also became a Young Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust, which enable me to share my story with others. A highlight as an ambassador included attendance at a Buckingham Palace garden party to celebrate The Trust’s 40th anniversary.’

‘To be honest, I felt completely lost before I found The Prince’s Trust, but now I’ve found my purpose in life – raising my son and running my own business. They put me on the right track, helped me to believe in myself and my business and gave me a helpful nudge in the right direction.’

‘I’d love to increase my team of four while also increasing the support I offer to the elderly across Lincolnshire and beyond. I’m keen to grow my business and move it onto the next level. It’s such a fantastic opportunity. The Prince’s Trust has played an important role in my life – I’m really grateful.’

In these challenging times for everyone, thank you so much for thinking of what young people are going through, and supporting them as they try to navigate their lives and begin their careers amidst this crisis.

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Your support couldn’t be more needed right now, as our phone and online teams continue to hear from young people who have lost their jobs, who see no prospect of getting a job, and whose plans for the future have collapsed.

Olivia experienced significant mental and physical health challenges while she was at school which meant that she often missed classes as she was too unwell to attend. She struggled with juggling medical appointments, exams and awaiting surgery.

With her confidence low and not getting the support she needed from her school, Olivia decided to leave education early to focus on her health and ended up having Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to help with her anxiety and depression. Although it took her a while to get better, she began to look at things in a more positive way.

She said: “School was quite a difficult time for me, I had health conditions that weren’t under control and awaiting major surgery on my jaw. I decided to leave school early to focus on my health and I then realised I may never be able to go to university or college due to my grades and although I was upset, I accepted it. But with the support from my family and friends I started to look at life in a more positive light. I don’t struggle as bad as I did before, but I do know if I do, I have my family, friends and my work family, who since the beginning have shown me nothing but unconditional support.”

Olivia worked part-time in a children’s activity/play centre and continued to support and help in the family home due to her mum’s illness.

After seeing an advert for a Prince’s Trust course run in partnership with NHS Scotland and Dundee & Angus College to support young people to gain the skills and experience needed to work in the NHS, Olivia decided to apply. She was successful in gaining a plan and completed the six-week programme of training.

Olivia quickly flourished, especially during her placement on a Gastroenterology ward. After completing the programme, she secured a job as a Healthcare Support Worker in the same Haematology Ward that her mum had previously been admitted to.

Olivia has now been in the role for almost a year and was recently given approval by her Senior Charge Nurse to progress onto the Nursing programme which will Olivia to become a Nurse through a vocational route, rather than an academic one. After successfully applying, she is now about to start an HNC Care and Administrative Practice Programme which will allow her to enter 2nd year of university afterwards.

She added: “My mum had been ill for a while and received her diagnosis just over a year ago. That had an impact on me and my family as we had already lost our dad to cancer. It was a shock to all of us, but we were able to support one another.

"The Prince’s Trust and NHS have had a massive impact on my life - as soon as I started the course, I already saw a positive future for myself. A future that I didn’t see before, having a career I would be proud of, and one I love. As soon as I saw a post for haematology, I knew it was where I wanted to work, it is such a specialised unit, an amazing team and I learn something every day.

“I’m really excited to start my Nursing studies, I never thought I would have so many options or a future with my dream career. I have so many forms of support around me, and I would not be where I am if it weren’t for The Trust, Dundee and Angus College or the NHS.”

In these challenging times for everyone, thank you so much for thinking of what young people are going through, and supporting them as they try to navigate their lives and begin their careers amidst this crisis.

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Your support couldn’t be more needed right now, as our phone and online teams continue to hear from young people who have lost their jobs, who see no prospect of getting a job, and whose plans for the future have collapsed.

For 24-year-old Shannon, emigrating from South Africa to England in February 2020 should have been the start of an exciting new chapter. Now living in Eastleigh, Shannon finished studying at the end of 2019, and emigrated in February this year. Her original plan was to try and start her own business dog-walking, but the pandemic meant she had to prioritise finding work.

“I was looking for a job, applying to lots of places but having no luck whatsoever. I was getting the interviews but never getting the job. A friend’s dad sent me the link to The Prince’s Trust Get Started with Health and Social Care course. I thought, I’ve got nothing to lose, I’ll see what they can offer on the 3 day programme and take it from there.”

“I was just looking for anything. I studied Psychology, and I wanted to use that in some way. It wasn’t a fun time, as I didn’t know a lot of people in the UK except my partner who I came over with, and family who I’m staying with at the moment. I was quite disappointed that my original plan didn’t work out, but now I’ve got a job it feels a little bit more stable. I feel like I have a purpose now, it feels really meaningful.”

Right now, Shannon is focussed on working as hard as she can and is loving what she is doing. She is so happy that she took part in the course as she is now in a job she loves.

Shannon says, “I found it really helpful on the course to look at how I could use something really small as an example to show my skills and experience. There was also not a focus on over-selling myself. I liked that we just went straight to an interview so they could see me and not just a piece of paper. I really appreciated that we were connected to an actual person!”

“I didn’t go into the course with a lot of expectations as I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but I really enjoyed it. I got to see that I’m not alone in this, and there were lots of people around my age going through the same thing, getting the same feedback that they don’t have enough experience.”

At the end of the course, Shannon was invited to three interviews, and all three requested second interviews. Impressing all the employers, Shannon then got offers of employment from all three jobs, and she was able to choose which role felt best suited to her. It boosted her confidence hugely, to have not just one, but three employers, recognise her skills and want to employ her.

Shannon is now working as a support worker for Leonard Cheshire Fryers House, working with adults with physical disabilities. She helps with personal care and their day-to-day activities, as well as giving them companionship, as the pandemic has left them very isolated. In the future, she would love to use her Psychology degree to help with mental health support in some way.

Reflecting on the Get Started with Health and Social Care course, Shannon said, “I definitely think that The Prince’s Trust helped build my confidence. I was really starting to lose hope that I was going to get a job, and that confidence helped me in my interviews to be more positive. I would tell other young people just to give it your all – you don’t have anything to lose. The Prince’s Trust are there to help you, and if you just take their advice it really does work out for you.”

In these challenging times for everyone, thank you so much for thinking of what young people are going through, and supporting them as they try to navigate their lives and begin their careers amidst this crisis.

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With your support we can help many more young people. Like Shirley who was unemployed for three years after losing confidence in her abilities.

Although she always wanted to get back into work, Shirley knew it wouldn’t be easy finding childcare for her three children and she didn’t know where to start.

The Get into Healthcare programme with The Prince's Trust helped Shirley to realise her potential and she is now keen to pursue a career with the NHS.

Shirley said: “Before the programme with The Prince’s Trust, I was a full-time mum with three children. I had lost my confidence and so I found it difficult to even consider applying for jobs."

“I felt that there were many barriers preventing me from getting back into work including the cost of childcare.”

“I have always wanted to get back into work, but I just didn’t feel I was able to and kept thinking it was just too much for me, both financially and emotionally.”

“I have experience working in nursery and primary schools and have always been interested in a role in healthcare. When I realised that The Prince’s Trust could help me with childcare, one of my main obstacles when trying to find work, I knew that this could be my chance.”

“I attended a few engagement days in October before my course began in January 2020. Although I was a bit nervous on the first day, I found the experience really positive and was looking forward to starting my course full-time.”

After completing the programme, Shirley was offered and accepted a full-time six-month contract after existing NHS staff were moved into other positions, which meant more roles opened up for the young people at the end of the course.

“The programme has changed my life completely. I’ve regained my confidence with all the help and guidance that I’ve received from The Prince’s Trust. My plan now is to apply for a permanent job within the NHS.”

So thank you for helping our young people, it makes the world of difference!

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The Princes Trust

Location: London - United Kingdom
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Project Leader:
Kimberley Wilson
London, London United Kingdom
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