A day in the life of a Prince's Trust Awards finalist
Faye Savory, founder of BearHugs Gifts, blogs about how her experience of The Prince's Trust Awards.
BearHugs, started with the wonderful support of The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, sells a range of "hug in a box" gift boxes designed to deliver all the warmth and comfort of a hug direct to a loved one’s door.
Hello, my name is Faye Savory and I’m very happy to call myself Chief Sender of Hugs at BearHugs.
The idea for BearHugs came after I fell seriously ill with Lyme Disease. On a particularly poorly day, I received a care package from a friend, filled with all sorts of lovely treats chosen especially for me. It felt like a great big hug had arrived in the post and it totally turned my day around. It really cemented for me the big impact small acts of kindness can have.
After finding out about The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, I decided to sign up and see if my little idea could find a place in the world. The programme and my Prince’s Trust mentor offered great support in helping me develop my idea and sell my first twenty-five prototype boxes.
Once BearHugs was up and running, I always felt grateful to The Prince’s Trust. It was such a huge surprise to find out I’d been shortlisted for the National Prince's Trust Awards in January 2017.
My day at the National Prince’s Trust Awards was truly incredible from start to finish and one that I will never forget.
The day before, I headed down to London on the train from Sheffield. I remember feeling an overwhelming rush of excitement and nerves as I stepped off the train at St Pancras. After I’d settled in to my hotel, my friend Hannah and I went for dinner with the other finalists. This was when I first got to chat with fellow Enterprise Award finalists Katie Lyth, founder of House of Oliver, and Gracie Wright, Author of Silly Eric. It was amazing to hear their inspiring stories and I felt proud to be alongside them as finalists.
On the day of the event, the ‘pinch me’ moments started pretty much from the second I arrived.
I was a bit nervous about being filmed with them on camera, but they couldn’t have done more to try and make me feel at ease. To share this experience with Alec, finalist for the Breakthrough Award, was amazing.
Next I was whisked off for a lovely lunch with my excited, emotional Mum, the other finalists and their guests. L’Oreal were then on standby to top up our makeup before our (very surreal!) walk down the red carpet outside the iconic London Palladium.
Once inside the Palladium, I got to meet even more Prince’s Trust Celebrity Ambassadors and came away with my phone full of photos with Claudia Winkleman, Thierry Henry, Philip Schofield, Gemma Arterton and Nick Grimshaw.
Then it was time for the Awards Ceremony itself presented by Ant and Dec.
We were ushered to our seats in the beautiful Palladium theatre and Prince Charles himself arrived. It was only at that moment that it hit me how amazing the experience was and I remember reminding myself to soak up every second.
Hearing the stories of the finalists from other categories and watching them go up on stage to collect their awards was incredibly emotional.
When I talk about the day, I phrase I always find myself using is ‘I have never felt so special or looked after’. The Prince’s Trust staff were so kind, warm, supportive and encouraging throughout the day and I cannot thank them enough for helping to make the memories of the day so special.
On a personal level, attending The Prince’s Trust's Celebrate Success Awards was a really important moment for me. It really made me reflect on how far BearHugs has come since it started. It also kickstarted an amazing period of growth. It has helped me turn my dreams for BearHugs into realities.
We’ve recently moved into our new bigger offices (The BearHub!), we’ve been recognised with several other national awards and we’ve also got a whole range of new, lovely products on offer! In fact, Giovanna Fletcher’s own book Happy Mum, Happy Baby has been a real customer favourite since we’ve had it in stock.
The future for BearHugs involves creating lots more flexible working opportunities, advocating for accessible employment, developing more lovely products, and helping a lot more people send a lot more hugs!
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