The Prince’s Trust Weston Centre in Birmingham officially opened on Friday 6th July. The new centre will provide a skills and enterprise hub for the region’s young people and will help the youth charity achieve its goal of supporting a further one million young people over the next decade.
Located a short walk from the Bullring Market, on Digbeth High Street, the Centre will provide employability and enterprise programmes designed to help build young people’s confidence and skills, enabling them to re-engage with education, training or employment.
The centre, named in honour of The Garfield Weston Foundation who donated generously to its creation, was opened by John Crabtree, OBE Lord-Lieutenant of West Midlands and comedian Griff Rhys Jones. The event was also attended by Bradley Simpson, lead singer of band, The Vamps.
The Prince’s Trust Weston Centre aims to help more young people like Alexander Rhys who set up his business with help from The Trust’s Enterprise programme.
Alexander, from Birmingham, had been feeling lost and was lacking direction after graduating with a degree in fine art. He didn’t know where he fitted into society – it felt like all his friends were on set career paths and he felt left behind and alone.
“I suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety issues which means I can find it difficult to cope with everyday life.
After finishing school, I took some courses at a local college for people with mental health issues. Because of my OCD, I see things in a very linear, structured way which helped me to create really strong visual images. I found an outlet where my OCD could actually be turned into a positive. Interestingly, my painting is very organic – the process makes me go into a trance and I’m barely aware of what I’m creating.”
Alexander knew he wanted to make a living through his art but didn’t know how to start a business.
“I knew I had a talent but I wasn’t very good at organising things or managing finances – to think I have my own business now is really quite incredible. The Enterprise programme also taught me general life skills like money management and time scheduling.”
He has been running his own business selling art worldwide since June 2016, has 12.5k followers on Instagram and has forthcoming exhibitions in the UK and Lisbon.
“It’s quite scary to think about where I’d be without The Prince’s Trust. Before I found them, I was very depressed and had no direction. I tell everyone I meet that my success is down to The Prince’s Trust – they saw the spark, they gave me hope and they believed in me.
I’ve got a great family but The Prince’s Trust makes you feel like you’re part of a bigger family and part of society.”
Director of The Garfield Weston Foundation, Philippa Charles, said:
Michele Farmer, Director of Central England at The Prince’s Trust, said:
The Prince’s Trust moved to its new premises, which also received funding from the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP, in March 2018.
Tim Pile, Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP, added:
This year, The Prince’s Trust will support around 60,000 young people to develop the confidence and skills they need to succeed in life. To find out how The Prince’s Trust can support you or someone you know, visit princes-trust.org.uk or call 0800 842 842.