Ladies and Gentlemen, I just wanted today, if I may say so, to use this occasion above all else to express my warmest appreciation for everything that my Trust does and for all the people who work so hard. There are some seven or eight hundred of them all around this country working away every day of the week all led by Martina Millburn, who I’m incredibly lucky to have as the Chief Executive – she really does make a fantastic difference.
And we would not be able to do anything for all these young people around the country, certainly not over the last 32 years, had it not been for all the dedication of the marvellous staff we have – and we have a lot of volunteers as well. In fact for the business programme we have roughly 7000 volunteers that make the whole difference to young people’s future possibilities when they set up in business. And we have a lot of other volunteers who help in all sorts of other ways as mentors.
Because you can’t, I don’t think, at the end of the day, contribute very much to your community unless you have some kind of motivation and some kind of inspiration. So many of us need self-confidence and self-esteem in order to be able to provide that assistance to your community or to other people.
And that is what the Trust, through all these remarkable people who work so hard, has been able to do for the last 32 years - provide motivation. We all need a framework for our lives and I know that talking to quite a lot of the young who have been through these courses and programmes we run, that a lot of their experiences with The Trust have helped them in looking at life in a different way. Just that extra bit of self confidence can suddenly open up huge opportunities that you never thought were there before, and what’s more, bring out those talents and skills that many people have but don’t realise they have.
So all I can tell you is that nothing could give me greater reward or satisfaction than to see people’s lives transformed and turned around, particularly young offenders and others who having been through a programme that we’re able to provide for them, can go on to be team leaders and inspire others. Very often we’ve found that the people who are the most difficult actually become the best leaders.
And its leadership and inspiration that we need and are looking for - what makes the whole difference at the end of the day. So I just wanted to congratulate all those young people who are making a fantastic difference through leading, motivating and inspiring others, partly as a result, I hope, of having been through some of our programmes. A lot of the future is going to depend on all of you. So all I have been doing over all of these years, believe it or not, is investing in the future. So I hope you can provide the kind of return I've been expecting in terms of what you can do for your own communities and other people, and for this country. Well done all of you, thank you very much.