Tom had lost all hope of finding work before receiving support from The Prince’s Trust. After facing unemployment for more than a year, he felt depressed about his future.

Tom had no choice but to live at home with his parents during his struggle to find work. The family pulled together to support him, but he struggled to make ends meet whilst on Job Seekers Allowance. After a long period on benefits, Tom heard about The Prince's Trust and things began to look up.

I grew up in a deprived area and there seemed to be no jobs available. I was stuck in a rut for a long time and felt like giving up. So many young people were in the same boat as me, and spend their time hanging around down at the park. It was soul-destroying.

“I did manage to get one job in a pub when I left college but that closed down shortly afterwards. I handed out CV’s to as many businesses as I could but did not hear anything back. I felt that I was banging my head against a brick wall, as I needed experience to get a job – but no one was willing to give me any experience”.

He had always been a keen skater but had not thought about how he could turn his passion into a business. After going on our Enterprise programme, he felt confident about his future for the first time.

I literally had no business experience before I came to The Prince’s Trust, but the course gave me the confidence straight away. I had the idea of setting up a skate shop in Rotherham town centre and with the support of the trust, I decided to go for it.

“The Trust give me a business mentor and it was so helpful to have someone to talk to and advice me on my business plan – something I would have never imagined myself doing before”.

Tom also managed to secure a loan from with our Enterprise programme, so he could afford premises and buy stock for the new store. He then managed to launch his business – Props Skate Store – in December 2011.

Rotherham has become increasing run down over the past few years, but I love the area and felt passionate about bringing people back into the community again – to help boost the local economy.

The shop is already going from strength to strength – and is now a hub for young people in the local community.

I am very proud of what I have achieved and I could not have done it without the help of The Prince’s Trust. Young people who used to hang out at the park are now taking up skating and coming to my shop to hang out – so I am really pleased that I have given something positive to keep them focussed. 

Tom’s shop is already bringing shoppers to Rotherham from the surrounding towns, helping with the regeneration of the local area. The business is already hitting all of its targets after only six months and within the few months, which is generally the quietest time of the year for skating, he has won a local business award for his outstanding achievements. In the future, he hopes to set up events for local skaters as well as opening a bigger store in Rotherham.

Tom has now been in business for five years and his shop is doing very well.

Tom said: “I am amazed at how my business has evolved and grown. Over the past five years I have managed to move into bigger premises in the centre of town and develop my own brand of clothing. I also organise skating events all over the borough for local skaters on a regular basis which is great fun. Props is not only a skate store but continues to be a community hub where young people meet on a regular basis to get advice and mutual support."

The Prince’s Trust’s support has been completely life-changing. Without them, I would still be unemployed and struggling to get by. Instead, I am my own boss and doing what I love. I am proud that I am bringing people into Rotherham and putting something back into the community. It’s an amazing feeling.