Ladies and Gentlemen,
I can't tell you what a joy it is to join you today here in these new premises of The Prince's Trust, because I had to take it on face value that the place exists! It has been so good to hear from Martina and Sir Charles about this new office, and also about, as you mentioned, Sir Charles, the wonderful generosity of the people who've helped. Whether it's RBS for instance, who've been such remarkable supporters for all these years, as far as my Trust is concerned. I find it hard to know how to thank them for the interest and the continuity of that interest that they have taken over all these years. Also, the City of London Corporation has been terrific as well with its support and encouragement for the location of these offices, so I am hugely grateful to them, as I am of course to JohnBarradell, who's the Chief Executive of the Corporation. Then again, we must just pay tribute I think to British Land, which helped to find these premises, and Triglyph, which then did a lot of pro-bono work to make all this happen, and of course PWC, who let us have some of their furniture, which has made an enormous difference, and just shows what all this pro-bono assistance can do.
An occasion like this, for me, does at least provide an opportunity to thank Sir Charles Dunstone, who is a tireless operator on behalf of the Trust, despite all the other things he's doing. That is what I think is so remarkable - we have people who give up so much of their precious time to come and help with this sort of enterprise. His help in finding these premises and arranging all the complex deal around it has been of such enormous value, and I can't thank you enough, Charles, for all the time you give us. Then there's Martina, who, I don't know what I'd do without either though I suspect she could do without me! And then all of you, Ladies and Gentlemen, because, I know this is just a small number really, in comparison to the huge numbers around the country that the Trust employs, but I'm only as good as all the quality of support from people like yourselves.
I keep saying, I can never get over how everything has grown from such a small base, you know, the one-man-and-the-dog, and I was the dog, sort of routine - as somebody here from The Sun knows, because he was around 37 years ago at the time! But it is extraordinary for me just to see the expansion in the staff numbers, the huge numbers of people we have in different teams, whether it's Health and Safety and goodness knows what else! I do just want to use this opportunity to congratulate you for all the effort you put into all these different programmes, but particularly of course the Enterprise Programme, because that is what the shop is helping to showcase. Some of you may have been around years ago when we tried one of these shops in the past, in London, and it worked for a bit, but I don't think it was nearly as well run as it probably is now! So I do hope that this one becomes a huge success, and provides the opportunity really to showcase the high- quality businesses that we have out there, set up by all these, I think, remarkably determined and actually courageous young people, who take on a real challenge to set up a business. I hope you understand you probably do, all of you the reward it gives me and the pride I feel when they all have success, those who have real success, but particularly when they come back round again and provide support for other young people who are starting, and come back as mentors. That has always been my hope - that we'd end up with a virtuous circle.
Of course, all the marvellous mentors, the volunteers we have, we couldn't do it without all of them. So again, I cannot tell you how proud I am of all you do, the difference you make, and that you will go on making, I hope, to so many young people's lives, all over this country and indeed now hopefully beyond these shores. There's more and more interest in what you all do and achieve, and other people are beginning to realise that perhaps they might like to find out a little bit more about how it's done. So I just wanted to use this occasion again to congratulate you all, and I look forward to seeing all the quality of work, the added value you can create, from these new premises well done everybody.