Former business manager and teacher Natasha Black, from Lisburn in Northern Ireland, wears many hats.
She runs her own business development and education consultancy, freelances as a sales and marketing expert and is mother to a three-year old son. She also spends a day a month volunteering for The Prince’s Trust; and the effect that’s had is huge.
In fact, over the course of the last two years, that one day a month has seen Natasha help more than 200 young people.
Natasha started thinking about volunteering after the birth of her son. She took to the internet and, after reading about The Trust on website Volunteer Now, felt “really inspired and passionate” about getting involved.
Natasha reveals why:
“How The Trust delivers its programmes struck a chord with me. I’ve seen young people go through the education system and become disengaged because they feel what they’re learning is irrelevant. What The Prince’s Trust does for young people is amazing. It structures courses so that they’re very relevant to what a young person is doing – that’s the kind of learning experience I believe in.”
After writing a letter of application, Natasha was invited to attend an induction training day for a group of prospective volunteers where she found out more about what volunteering would entail. She then went on The Trust’s Enterprise programme and delivered a session based on her expertise in sales and marketing. Two years on, she’s delivered 15 sessions to more than 200 young people and still gets a buzz from them.
"Recently someone wrote on their feedback form they could use the information I had talked about in my session to incorporate into their business plan. It was enormously rewarding to know that what I was delivering was accessible and useful."
Delivering sales and marketing sessions isn’t the only thing Natasha does for The Prince’s Trust. She also sets aside a couple of hours to mentor a young start-up business and, more recently, has been recruited as a Language, Literacy and Numeracy Champion for a new Trust initiative. This sees her develop resources and deliver workshops to staff and volunteers focused on helping create solution-led strategies for the young people they support; as a result the impact Natasha has on young people extends far wider than her Enterprise groups.
“The more involved I get with The Prince’s Trust, the more passionate about it I become. This new role is very interesting and has made me feel really valued as a volunteer, especially because a lot of my ideas have been taken on board. Initially you volunteer to help someone else, but actually it’s helping you on your own journey too – I’ve developed a level of confidence I didn’t even realise I had.”
Natasha has been with The Trust for two years now and is keen to extend what she does as a volunteer.