Business leaders across Scotland are being asked to play a leading role in supporting the country’s young people by each donating £1,000 which will allow them to unlock their potential, develop new skills and ultimately transform their lives. 

Lunch with an Old Bag (LWOB) – the Prince’s Trust’s biggest fundraiser outside London – is looking for 100 Scottish businesses to each make a pledge of £1,000 which will directly support 100 young people in Scotland to get into work, education, enterprise or training. 

The initiative was announced on Thursday 2 May at Prestonfield House Hotel in Edinburgh, by James Thomson OBE, and the Lunch with an Old Bag Committee, chaired by Fiona Donaldson.

The event marked the launch of this year’s Lunch with an Old Bag, a sparkling annual ladies’ lunch which last year raised over £1m for The Prince’s Trust Scotland in just one afternoon. Since 2009, LWOB has raised more than £4.77m, which translates directly as help for over 4,700 young Scots.

LWOB chair, Fiona Donaldson said:

In a society obsessed with staying youthful, women over 40 are often inappropriately perceived as ‘Old Bags’, as ‘over the hill’ or ‘past it’, in much the same way as disadvantaged young people are often wrongly labelled as ‘time-wasters’ or ‘no-hopers’. That’s why James Thomson founded Lunch with an Old Bag in 2009, to challenge negative stereotypes, shine a light on the issues faced by young people in Scotland, and help The Prince’s Trust Scotland to transform young lives.

Donaldson continued: “We hope that 100 generous Scottish Businesses will donate at least £1,000, transform a young life, and at the same time support new businesses and the wider Scottish economy. As a youth charity, The Prince’s Trust has a duty to help young people, and we believe we can make the most difference by working in partnership with businesses and government. Together, we can assist young people back into education and, from there, onto the job market. We can nurture skills which are vital to the economic future of the country, and our programmes can equip all Prince’s Trust young people with the skills needed for a variety of trades and employment sectors.”

Generally accepted as one of the most glamorous events in the Scottish social calendar, each September LWOB brings together over 400 of Scotland’s most influential, glamorous, stylish, and high profile ladies from Scottish business, sport, entertainment, philanthropy and the arts, known affectionately as ‘Old Bags’.

One of the most successful fundraising events in Scotland, the event is invitation only (you can’t buy a table), with first class food, and entertainment provided by the likes of Lulu, The Three Degrees, Bryan Ferry and Sister Sledge.

The inaugural LWOB, in 2009, raised £78,000, with the 2010 and 2011 events raising £157,000 and £178,000 respectively. The 2012 event raised an amazing £269,000, jumping to £450,000 in 2013. In 2014 and 2015, the event raised over £500,000 each year, and over £750,000 in 2016 and 2017 (£725,000 and £759,000 respectively).

James Thomson OBE, who is also a member of The Prince’s Trust Scotland Council, and has sponsored the event since 2009, commented:

The Prince’s Trust Scotland believes that every young person should have the chance to succeed, and is committed to empowering young people, by developing the skills and coping mechanisms they need to thrive in work, education and training. With the right support and understanding, this generation of young people, who face challenges which simply couldn’t have been imagined when LWOB was launched in 2009, will fulfil their potential.

Support for young people is needed now, more than ever. The tenth Prince’s Trust eBay Youth Index, released in January, reveals that 70% of 16 to 25 year olds in the UK feel anxious about their future due to the current economic climate and more than half (54%) fear that they will never be financially stable and able to plan ahead.

To pledge your donation, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lwob and share your support on Twitter @oldbagchair ‏and Facebook @LunchWithAnOldBag using the hashtag #BagsOfChange.