Prince’s Trust has turned around 825,000 young lives in 40 years
PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 February 2016 | UPDATED: 08:07 16 February 2016
Young people poured into the newest Prince’s Trust centre for its open day in east London to mark the organisation’s 40th anniversary where they could find out about starting a career—or even try their hand at boxing.
The centre, which was opened by Prince Charles last year at St Paul’s Way in Bow Common, pulled back the doors to showcase the courses it offers which give youngsters a chance to make something of themselves.
The Prince’s Trust has helped 825,000 young people during its 40 years to turn their lives around since it was set up in 1976.
Britain was struggling with record levels of unemployment and spiralling inflation, with many disadvantaged teenagers being left behind in deprived areas like London’s East End.
The Prince of Wales used his £7,400 Navy severance pay for community projects around the country. These included grants to a 19-year-old girl to run a social centre for the Haggerston housing estate in Shoreditch and for two ex-offenders to run a fishing club. These were the founding projects of The Prince’s Trust.
Today, the trust, which is still has its ties in east London with its Shoreditch headquarters in Great Eastern Street, has centres throughout the UK offering courses in sport, music and creative arts, as well as vocational courses.
Sidra Ahmed, 21, arrived at the open day to find out about getting a job in administration.
“I volunteered when I was at college to help my headteacher with admin duties and realised it was something I enjoyed,” she explained. “But I’ve been working in retail since and really want to find a more stable job.”
James Panton, also 21, saw a poster at his hostel about the open day and has signed up for a photography course.
He said: “I love taking photos and it has always been something I’m good at, but haven’t really pursued it.”
He recently lost his job and hopes the course is his “new start”.
The open day last Thursday even put on boxing sessions, staged by Fight4Change charity which gives boxing, martial arts and fitness training to help marginalised youngsters and those in deprived communities “at risk of offending”.
There is also a 12-week programme offering work experience and qualifications and an Enterprise programme for those interested in starting their own business.