The Prince's Trust at Armourgeddon
The Prince’s Trust believes that every young person should have the chance to embrace exciting opportunities. Helping 11 to 30-year-olds who are unemployed or struggling at school to transform their lives was, is and will continue to be The Trust’s mission. Through existing programmes, over 75% of all young people who engage with The Trust achieve greatness; moving into jobs, education or training.
Many of the young people who turn to The Prince’s Trust for support are in, or leaving, care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health issues, or have been in trouble with the law.
Over the past decade, The Trust has returned £1.4billion in value to society through helping disadvantaged young people. Their recent report; ‘40 Life Changing Years’ highlights how the work of The Trust is as vital as ever where the lack of ‘inherited opportunity’ is leaving the poorest young people behind. This is where The Trust step in, offering opportunities to develop key skills while boosting confidence and motivation empowering young people to continue to dream big.
The Prince’s Trust began in 1976, when HRH The Prince of Wales, having completed his duty in the Royal Navy, became dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged young people in the UK. The UK was struggling with record levels of unemployment and spiraling inflation; young people were being left behind.
Twenty-one pilot projects were set up around the country. Grants were given to a 19-year old woman to run a social centre for the Haggerston Housing Estate in East London and for two ex-offenders to run a fishing club. Funds hired swimming baths in Cornwall to train young life guards and for a self-help bicycle repair scheme. In the 1980s, unemployment rose above three million. Brixton, Leeds, Birmingham and Liverpool were torn by riots. Too many young people felt they had no stake in society. The Enterprise programme was launched in 1983 and within three years 1,000 young people were supported to start a business.
During the 1990s, various programmes were launched; awards created to celebrate the success of young people, the Team Programme began, xl clubs opened to motivate 15 and 16-year-olds and keep them in school. By 2001, The Trust was supporting 25,000 young people each year and mass unemployment of the young seemed a thing of the past. The Trust turned its attention to the long-term jobless, those in greatest need of support.
In 2007, The Trust launched a landmark report, in partnership with RBS, which calculated the Cost of Exclusion. This report concluded that the cost of unemployment, youth crime and educational underachievement ran into the billions. By 2010, the economic crisis had a devastating impact on young people with unemployment rising once again, to the level that one in five 16 to 25-year-olds was out of work. The Trust responded by tightening its belt and helping more young people each year, despite the challenge of raising more than a million pounds each week.
Even as the economy recovered, long-term youth unemployment remained stubbornly high. The Trust joined forces with Marks & Spencer, HSBC and other major employers to tackle youth unemployment through the Movement to Work programme where young people were offered work experience and the opportunity of full-time contacts if training standards were achieved.
In 2016, The Trust launched its new education programme - Achieve, offered to 13 to 19-year-olds. Recognising that not all young people thrive in a traditional education setting, such as a school, the Achieve programme offers a flexible approach to learning and can be delivered in a variety of settings such as Pupil Referral Units, Young Offender Institutions, colleges and in some locations, in a Prince's Trust Centre.
Most recently, the mentoring platform Mosaic was added to The Trust’s portfolio. Mosaic offers accredited mentoring programmes in schools; creating opportunities for 9 to 30-year-olds who are growing up in our most deprived communities. To date, The Trust has reached more than 825,000 young people.
Two of the team at Armourgeddon act as Mentors for the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, supporting young people who have been through a training programme and business planning process with during their first two years in business. Joseph Burton is supported by Armourgeddon Director, Tracy Garner and is in his first year of support. Joseph’s business, Robertson Cheney Bespoke Furniture turns locally sourced, reclaimed wood or antique pieces that are found and restored, to make into beautiful furniture. Joseph’s products include tea trays, side tables, wall art, coat hooks and full dining tables. He sells through the online shopping platform Etsy, via social media and via uniquely commissioned projects.
Tracy mentors with the Prince’s Trust to help young people starting out in business. ‘As a business owner, I have fallen down every pothole going. Armourgeddon is now a sizable, family owned business, so I am fortunate to have the support and backing of my husband and the team to help share the load and to make key decisions, but it wasn’t like that at the start. Making those first steps, taking calculated risks and trying to be the bookkeeper, marketer, stock manager, HR manager, office manager and cleaner all on top of doing the day job is certainly a challenge. I want to be able to do all I can to help those starting out get the best possible footing. Building foundations during those first two years are vital and fundamental to future success. I have a background in due diligence and finance as well as having run our business for the past 15 years, so I wanted to support as many young people as I could get started. The work of The Prince’s Trust is simply fantastic, and I am delighted to be able to offer my support to them, and through them to Joseph and other small business owners.’
Julia Trapp has been looking after the marketing of Armourgeddon for the past 4 years and has been a mentor with The Prince’s Trust for the last 5 years. Julia is a business director having grown from a sole trading business to now running a full marketing agency, employing a team at Fabulous Marketing and supports two Prince’s Trust businesses as a mentor. ‘I began working with The Prince’s Trust after a previous line manager was a mentor within the Team Programme during mid-2000s, helping underprivileged young people gain life skills and work experience, moving into a positive outcome- education, training or employment. Running training sessions and webinars focused on marketing and social media, I am able to support young people to start the journey of getting their business found and turning their ideas into a business to provide financial independence. Working as a Mentor for The Trust, I have met truly inspirational, extremely capable young people who have faced serious adversity but are determined to be self-sufficient.’
Charley’s Garden Retreat is owned by Charley Allsopp and is a fabulously unique beauty and wellbeing business, run out of a shed in the garden. Charley is soon celebrating two years in business and is flourishing. The business offers a variety of beauty and wellbeing treatments with an ethos of providing accessible beauty treatments in a tranquil environment from a beautiful green shed! Charley's Garden Retreat
Michael Wright of Millennial Creative offers traditional graphic design and web design services, with a focus on the ethical community. Focused on providing branding, social media marketing, graphic design and web design for businesses wanting to stand out in their brand space, Millennial Creative has been in business for over a year. During this time, Michael has developed his business and also gained a contract at the University of Northampton as a member of the Graphic Design support staff and lecturer.
To find out more about our mentees and their businesses, follow these links:
If you are interested in finding out more about The Prince’s Trust, are looking to donate time or funds, or think you know someone who would benefit from one of The Trust’s programmes, visit their website: The Prince’s Trust. #YouthCanDoIt