Prince Is Still Making Dreams Come True

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), August 31, 2001 | Go to article overview

Prince Is Still Making Dreams Come True


Byline: MICHAEL BOON

IF YOU are a prince, so the stories of childhood go, you can make a dream come true. If you are the Prince of Wales, you can bring the dream to life.

The Prince's Trust Cymru is booming as never before.

The Prince will not thank me for saying so - he is far happier talking about his team of administrators in Cardiff with Kate Thomas as chairman, director Tom Davies at the helm and a vast army of voluntary advisers - but his own leadership is crucial.

He never misses a visit without inspecting a project undertaken by the thousands of disadvantaged and disabled young people who, over the years, have been steered towards skills, self-confidence and a future that had seemed beyond their grasp.

The Prince's Trust, now UK wide, is brilliantly marketed these days, far from its sketchy beginnings after the Prince's investiture at Caernarfon Castle in 1969.

Its motto for the new millennium is Yes You Can, but let's be honest about it - nothing works better than the direct involvement of the Prince.

A face-to-face conversation, his participation in forums of business leaders, his enthusiasm and first-hand knowledge are the inner wheels that can drive the machinery and create the publicity for events like Party in the Park in London and the recent royal film premiere in Cardiff.

Aberystwyth graduate Richard Newton is the marketing and fundraising manager of the Welsh arm of the trust.

He said, "This year the income target is just under pounds 5m, an increase of pounds 1m. We are raising this from businesses and organisations in Wales, European funding, the National Lottery and individuals.

"What comes out at the other end? It brings back into mainstream learning and career development those who saw nothing ahead but a brick wall. We are constantly introducing new programmes to expand choice and opportunity.

"In round figures, we have stepped up those participating in the Prince's Trust Cymru by 1,000 to 4,000-a-year.

"They are mainly in the under-25 group and include unemployed, disabled, young offenders, those who lacked achievement at school and others who have found themselves outside the system.

"There is a myriad of causes that prevents young people from realising their potential - and that is where we come in.'' Carol Gilbert runs the Leaving Care initiative run by the trust.

It was developed in England and has been introduced into Wales where it was much needed after events like the North Wales child abuse inquiries.

There has been private backing from the Lattice Foundation - the charity arm of gas giant Transco - and agreements have been reached with local authorities from Cardiff to Anglesey.

Talks are in progress with other local authorities and within a year it is hoped that 50pc of Wales will have signed up.

Young people leaving the programme are helped to find their feet in society.

The perils of homelessness, drug and solvent abuse, crime and long-term unemployment are well known so mentors take their place alongside often confused young people to direct them along the right roads towards social normality.

Mentors are fully trained by the Prince's Trust Cymru and the relationship continues as the young person bridges the gap between the Care system and life in the world beyond. Assistance is given in finding accommodation, preparing for job interviews, considering college course options and repairing family relationships. …

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