Ladies and Gentlemen, before I go I just want to say how pleased I am to have this opportunity to be with you this afternoon. Starting first with what we heard next door with the Business in the Community team (I didn’t stand up and say anything because I didn’t want to repeat myself or subject you to too much unnecessary verbiage) but I just really wanted to say more than anything else how grateful I am to Business in the Community, which I have been President of now for nearly 26 years, which rather frightens me - they haven't got rid of me yet!
The team within Business and the Community does a fantastic job and I have to say that it's slightly my fault, well it is my fault - the whole of the “Seeing is Believing” programme is something that I felt we needed to get going over 20 years ago, because it seemed to me it was so important to try to encourage business leaders to get up from behind their desks or their headquarters and come and see for themselves where the particularly challenging parts of the country were and meet all of those who were trying to deal with the many difficult problems of deprived areas and so on. This particular programme has, I think, been a huge success because as a result of people going to see what is on the ground, they have believed and very often been able to initiate all sorts of worthwhile projects. So, as we heard this afternoon many of those who have been on these "Seeing is Believing" visits have done remarkable things ever since, and more than anything else it's an exercise in networking and linking people together for all sorts of positive benefit. I am enormously grateful to all those business leaders and executives who have given up their precious time to go on one of these visits and to do something really effective about it.
I'm also thrilled to see three of my organisations working here in Newport, Gwent, and as Rick Libbey says from The Prince's Trust, it's the first time for far too long really that we have been able at last to re-establish a team programme here in this area, and for all sorts of various reasons it didn’t prove possible, but now, again I'm thrilled to see that it's all come together, and as we have heard from so many of the young people present here today, whether it's with Young Dragons or The Prince's Trust Team Programme of whatever, it's much better to hear what they have to say than what I have to say. They are the ones who are actually the best advertisement for what all these programmes are actually trying to do. As Sabrina pointed out I thought, so effectively, it is all to do with self-esteem and self-confidence, and that is one of the main efforts that my Trust has made for the last 36 years - trying to build the foundations of self-confidence and self-esteem, on which you can build a whole lot of other possibilities and opportunities, whether it's skills of one kind or another, further opportunities, starting off in their own business, going to work here, there or anywhere, or particularly joining the military.
So, creating opportunities through the acquiring of self-esteem is absolutely crucial, and as we have heard, in many ways it works. I am thrilled if I may say so that my Trust is able to provide programmes of various kinds and also is working in partnership with dynamic organisations like the Motivational Preparation College - such a good name - and I'm hugely grateful to them for this, and now as a result my Trust is able to work with another 45 young people in Newport each year, together with another 90 in Cardiff and Wrexham.
I am also really encouraged by the launch of the Gwent Young Dragons Steering Group, so kindly and ably chaired by the Lord Lieutenant Simon Boyle, to whom I could not be more grateful for giving up his precious time. The Young Dragons is something I've been particularly keen to develop - again is an exercise in networking amongst all different kinds of youth organisations and uniformed groups, and Wales, I think, is leading the way for this in quite a remarkable manner. I'm very pleased to hear that so far the network has delivered many more new groups, two new police cadet groups in Caerphilly and Torfaen, a new Boys' Brigade in Newport and a revived Girl Guiding Group in Tredegar to name just a few, and this means that in total over 150 more young people will now have the choice to join a uniformed youth group in Gwent alone by April next year. It may not seem an awful lot of people but actually it is beginning to make, I hope, a huge difference because as we know – and I think many of the young here can attest this - at school people are not always cut out for the academic existence but when you have a programme or scheme that actually shows people where the relevance lies in terms of what you're learning in a practical way, then all sorts of opportunities emerge.
So many young people I've come across in the last 36 years of The Prince's Trust I feel are very often frustrated because they have immense talent in other areas, in technical areas and in other forms, and so often we waste I think, their potential abilities. These schemes here, I think, are making an enormous difference in helping people along the path towards development of practical skills, and it's those skills at the end of the day which make an enormous difference, it seems to me, in meeting so many of the challenges that we face at the moment.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am hugely grateful to all those remarkably hardworking volunteers and the people who work for my organisations and so many others for all the efforts they make to help and enable young people to have a better opportunity in the future.