Ladies and Gentlemen,
I just wanted to say what a real pleasure it’s been to see you all here this afternoon, and I can’t thank you enough for giving up your precious time in coming here and providing me with the opportunity to gain an understanding of what this remarkable initiative, the Powerlist, has achieved and, indeed, continues to achieve. I’ve been so impressed to hear what all of you do, and the success you’ve all been having, and the way you go back, many of you I know, trying to find new talent in all sorts of dark corners around the country and everywhere else. It is remarkable how you manage it. I need hardly say how incredibly sorry I was not to have been able to attend the Powerlist Black Excellence Awards last year in response to your very kind invitation. I am not sure if this has made up at all for my absence, but it has certainly been a great pleasure to see you all here – although I know there’s another - nearly 700 I think! - that I’m going to have to find a way to get around. I think some of you have been helped by my Prince’s Trust at some point in the last 45 years, so meeting one or two of you has been enormously rewarding for me and I can’t tell you how proud it makes me to find so many people who very often don’t always let on that they were helped by the Trust - until finally, when they become unbelievably successful!
Michael tells me he started this Powerlist 16 years ago as a role model guide for young people in Britain’s Black communities. Having had the good fortune to speak, albeit briefly, with most of you here today I can see just how far the Powerlist has grown and the impact it continues to have.
It is abundantly clear the Powerlist has become an immensely valuable resource that discovers and catalogues people from Britain's African and African Caribbean communities. These communities have made and continue to make an incredibly positive difference to society as a whole and, in doing so, have built a real community spirit and cohesion.
It really is particularly pleasing to see the diversity of talent recognised by the list – from the arts to sciences, from business to the environment, from the third sector to technology, and from fashion to sport.
Our country, of course, continues to face challenges right across society. To meet them successfully, we will need to rely upon the expertise and leadership of the people in this room, many of whom would have been a lot harder to find and elevate if the Powerlist did not exist, so I cannot congratulate you more, Michael, for having invented this remarkable initiative.
I am immensely grateful to you, Michael, and your team for all the work that has gone into putting this together over the past decade and a half, and I can only wish you every possible success going forward. I hope I shall meet many more of you in due course.