The young people of our country are its future and that is why I started The Prince's Trust 30 years ago. It is so important that young people, from whatever their background, have an opportunity to fulfil their potential. Everyone has a talent of some kind or another - the trick is to discover it and bring it out.
Having no belief in yourself and an almost overpowering lack of self-worth can be incredibly destructive and yet this is how too many young people feel. What my Trust has been trying to do for the last three decades is to give them hope and a future.
It is extraordinary to think that since the launch of my Trust we have helped to support more than half a million young people – equivalent to the population of the city of Edinburgh. We are now helping one hundred additional young people every day - people facing the most enormous obstacles and who too often have no one to turn to for advice or assistance.
The Trust gives them hope and encouragement, but also practical skills and training. The result is that often our young people are able to make a fresh start in their own lives and, importantly, begin to make a contribution to their families and wider communities.
Our Celebrate Success Awards recognise the exceptional achievements of the more than 40,000 young people who The Prince's Trust has supported over the past year. Their stories are incredibly inspiring and show by believing in young people who don't believe in themselves, we can give them a future.
There is, of course, so much more to do. Many of the issues which prompted me to set up The Trust in 1976 still exist for too many of today's younger generation. Young people need our help today as much as they ever did. We know that more than 30,000 children are leaving school each year with no qualifications.
There are more than 70,000 young people leaving care who are particularly in need of support. There are more than one million people under the age of 25 who are not working or in training. And there are 20,000 in young offenders institutions who, if they are not helped, are far more likely to reoffend.
There is often a temptation to dismiss all of these groups of young people in some collective noun - as nameless and faceless “youths”, “hoodies”, “drug addicts” or “thugs”. Of course we should condemn offensive or illegal behaviour, but we cannot write off every young person who is struggling in life.
We must treat all young people as individuals and give them the skills they need to succeed. This way we can make an investment in the future so that young people can realise their full potential for themselves, for their communities and for the nation. In its 30th anniversary year, this is still what my Trust is all about.
My admiration for the Celebrate Success finalists is boundless. They are role models for everyone and I am so proud of each and every one of them.