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A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales at The Prince's Trust Invest in Futures Pre-Dinner Reception

Published on 9th February 2018

I'm sorry I haven't made it round to all of you, but I haven't done too badly I don't think this evening and I apologise if you've all had to wait around for an awfully long time because I know you are going to catch a train, which I hope will deliver you back to where you started and not dump you somewhere miles away where you don't want to be. But I also know that you had a chance this evening before I arrived to hear what I hope you feel are the most marvellously inspiring stories of some of the young people who have been through The Trust's programmes and come out the other end with their confidence restored and their self-esteem restored.

And this, as you may realise is really what The Trust has been trying to specialise in for the last 42 years because there are so many young people out there who have no self-confidence and self-esteem but when we can help to provide that for them through, particularly these team programmes when everybody has to depend on somebody else, it is remarkable what a difference it can make to their lives and suddenly they discover they have interest they can pursue, go to college or become an apprentice. So it is much better, I promise you, to hear their stories than to hear me wittering on about how important the trust is, but if I may say so, what makes it so special is people like Martina Milburn who has devoted so many years of her life to ensuring that the Trust is becoming more and more of a success, we have to raise a lot of money every year and as a result Ladies and Gentlemen your support is hugely appreciated. But the willingness of these young people you heard to talk about their experiences does I think help us to generate greater awareness and of course the support we do need to help the next generation. Many of the young people we come across, including those here this evening, have faced the most extraordinary hurdles, challenges and obstacles in their lives, as you may have heard.

And whether they face the mental health issues that are so prevalent, homelessness, abuse, bullying of various kinds or indeed imprisonment, they have all shown, without fail, courage and determination to overcome those differences and ultimately take more control of their lives through joining The Trust's programmes. And, as you can imagine, I am equally indebted to all those marvellous staff, volunteers, mentors, all the people who put so much into the whole process of trying to bring people back to their true path in life.

So over the last 42 years we have helped more than 870,000 young people and I can never understand why it isn't over a million yet, but you can't count people twice because they come back on different programmes! But obviously a lot has changed over the years, in particularly the impact of technology and changes in the labour market which can be seen everywhere. Much of these changes have been positives of course, but at The Prince's Trust we have become increasingly concerned about young people's confidence and sense of self-worth and my Trust released its 9th youth index report just two weeks ago and it shows that young people's happiness and confidence are at the lowest levels since the study began, which is rather alarming.

In the worst cases a fundamental lack of confidence can hold young people back from even starting or progressing in our programmes, so it was vital that we could respond in some way to this. L'Oréal Paris's sponsorship of Invest in Futures marks now the one year anniversary of a three year collaborative partnership and the delivery of the new All Worth It programmes to help 10,000 young people across the united kingdom to turn their self-doubt into self-worth and I must say I am hugely grateful to L'Oréal Paris for becoming involved in all this, because the All Worth It confidence training programme will run across all 18 of The Prince's Trust centres and will also be available digitally via The Trust's online learning platform. Yes we have one! Very exciting! And I would like to thank particularly Adrien Koskas and L'Oréal Paris for making all of this possible in their wonderful and enthusiastic way and of course for supporting Invest in Futures tonight. Having started Invest in Futures in 2005 I was so thrilled to hear in that time up to now it has raised over 21 million pounds, thanks, Ladies and Gentlemen, for all of your fantastic and continuing support.

Each year I think it's got to the last one but somehow you keep coming back despite the rotten speeches from me! But, if I am say so, this is a vital opportunity for the financial sector to support The Trust through the Invest in Futures evening and I really did particularly want to thank the Gala Dinner committee led by Ian Mukherjee, who really does make such a fantastic difference. And your host earlier Dame Helen Mirren who has been a wonderful ambassador for the last 25 years, can you believe it. Also, I'm hugely grateful to the host for the Gala Dinner later, Mr Russel Kane who will be on the train. And the performer for the Gala Dinner Beverly Knight who is also going to be on the train, hopefully she will be able to compete with the noise from the rest of the train but she has assured me she has a very good voice! And Ladies and Gentlemen, I am hugely touched that all of you are here because you support, or in some way or other help raise awareness, for my Trust's work, we support over 50,000 young people every year so you are crucial. And it's only with your continued support that we can keep working with some of our nation's most vulnerable young people and of course give them whatever they need to turn their lives around, in other words, practical skills, confidence, career advice (vital!) and the chance to make a difference in their community and be part of it. And whatever barriers young people face, The Prince's Trust will support them. So, ladies and gentlemen, by working together we can help so many more young people turn their lives around. Thank you all enormously, thank you!