His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Founder and President of The Prince’s Trust, visited Morecambe Fire Station today to mark 21 years of Lancashire Fire and Rescue (LFRS) and The Prince’s Trust jointly delivering the Team programme.
His Royal Highness met with some of Lancashire’s young people who have taken part in Team, a 12-week personal development programme, which helps develop self-confidence, leadership and employability skills.
Morecambe Fire Station is one of the nine sites where LFRS deliver The Prince’s Trust’s Team Programme.
Team helps young people aged 16 to 25 gain new skills, meet new people, and take a qualification to help them move forward into work, further education or training. It includes a residential trip with outdoor activities, work experience and a community project.
Tom Evans, 23, joined the Team programme in 2021 whilst living in supported housing, having recently completed a drug rehabilitation programme.
Now Tom works full-time supporting other people to overcome addiction and homelessness.
“Before Team, I was involved in County Lines and was heavily addicted to Class A drugs and prescription medication. When I began the programme, I didn’t trust other people or even myself.
“On the programme I started to see that I could be a leader and I took a few lads who were going down the same route that I was under my wing. My favourite part of Team was the outdoors week when we went up to stay at the Lake District for a few days.
“I enjoyed outdoor activities before my drug addiction, so getting back into hiking and climbing was really good. Team helped me commit to things and believe in myself a bit more.
“While I was on Team I was living in supported housing; not only am I now no longer living there, but I’m a full-time staff member who helps other people who are homeless and addicted to drugs. A massive part of it is wanting to help others with the same experiences as me achieve what I have.
“I really enjoy the work and it’s great seeing people make changes because of the advice I give. Team 100% helped me to get this job, as before the programme I would never have had the confidence in myself that I needed for work.
“Meeting The Prince today was quite an experience! We spoke about what I’ve been doing since the Team programme and he said he’s proud of me for helping people through the challenges that I used to face. It’s nice to know that he’s invested in what goes on with The Prince’s Trust’s programmes.”
Charlotte Knipe, 21, joined the Team programme in January 2021 in the middle of a lockdown while she was out of work and struggling with her mental health.
Charlotte is now employed as an assistant at The Dukes theatre in Lancaster and is working on a project that raises awareness of young carers in collaboration with the charity, Barnardo’s.
“Before the Team programme I did not really know what I wanted to do, although I knew the university path was not for me and that I was interested in theatre.
“The programme helped my teamworking skills, nurtured my confidence and allowed me to get creative. I flexed my leadership skills when I took on the role of Assistant Project Manager for the community project where my team and I developed a mental health awareness campaign on social media.
“Seeing what my teammates and I accomplished made me proud.
“Team was a great steppingstone to get me where I am now, as my Prince’s Trust mentor helped me with my CV, application, and mock interview for the job at The Dukes theatre. I like putting my skills into practice so love the practical nature of my job.”
All young people who take part in the Prince’s Trust Team Programme with LFRS become registered learners at either Preston College or Nelson and Colne College Group. Both Colleges help fund the courses and act as the education centres for the learners to gain their qualifications.
During the visit, His Royal Highness watched a short display involving Prince’s Trust young people and firefighters.
The Prince of Wales also unveiled a plaque in celebration of the 21st Anniversary of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and The Prince’s Trust’s partnership.
Chris Peake, Director of Delivery at The Prince’s Trust, said:
“We are so proud to have been working in partnership with the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service for over two decades to help local young people change their lives.
“Programmes like Team enable The Prince’s Trust to give unemployed young people the support they need to build their confidence and skills and get ready for work. It has been an honour today to show the impact of the Team programme on young people in Lancashire, and to share this celebration with our Founder and President His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.
“Together with LFRS, we look forward to supporting even more young people in Lancashire to fulfill their potential through Team.”
Chief Fire Officer, Justin Johnston added:
“Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service is delighted to host the Prince’s Trust programmes in Lancashire and it is a privilege to welcome His Royal Highness to Morecambe Fire Station.
“Last year, we were immensely proud to have celebrated 20 years of the partnership with the Prince’s Trust. Being able to support over 6,000 young people, act as role models and see the difference that it makes to people’s lives and our local communities is very humbling.
“The difference we make in those short twelve weeks is huge and rewarding for all our staff involved in the delivery of the courses.”
The Prince’s Trust helps young people all over the UK to build the confidence and skills to find employment.
The youth charity has helped more than a million young people since it was founded in 1976 and three in four of those supported over the last five years have moved into work, education or training.
Young people wishing to find out more about The Prince’s Trust and what courses are running in their local area are encouraged to visit princes-trust.org.uk or make a free call to 0800 842 842.