Jerry Hall, Prince's Trust Ambassador, speaks to Hello! magazine about the importance of equipping school leavers with the confidence that anything is possible.
There are currently hundreds of thousands of young people in the UK sitting, or gearing up to, their exams. Many of them will be feeling anxious about the coming weeks, worried about their future and in some cases the stress will be too much to bear.
Most of these young people will have a loving support network around them in the form of family, friends and teachers.
But many of them will face these struggles alone.
Growing up in Texas, I had four sisters, so there was never a shortage of someone to talk to or confide in. My childhood wasn’t perfect – far from it, in fact. My father fought in the war, which affected his personality, and times were tough.
I left home at 16 for Paris and was lucky enough to be able to carve out a successful career doing something I love.
Fifteen years ago I became a Prince’s Trust Ambassador. I have seen first-hand how the youth charity helps the most disengaged young people to get their life back on track.
This is why I was thrilled to attend the RHS Chelsea Flower Show as an Ambassador for The Prince’s Trust. I visited the Burncoose Nurseries garden, sponsored by Terra Firma Capital Partners, which was supporting the work of The Prince’s Trust.
It reminded me that it’s so important to equip the next generation with the vital skills and confidence to support their own families which The Trust does every day.
Take Kevin. From an early age, he suffered from speech and language difficulties and struggled to keep up in school. He found reading and writing a challenge and was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Dyslexia which led to behavioural problems in school. He was also diagnosed as being on the autistic spectrum. His disabilities made him a vulnerable target for bullying and he was at risk of giving up on his ambitions. He developed depression and isolated himself from people.
Kevin turned to gardening which remained a passion of his and volunteered to maintain the gardens around his church. Kevin’s skills were recognised by local parishioners and he soon began to think of his passion as a potential career opportunity. Kevin signed up to The Trust’s Enterprise programme which helps unemployed young people to start-up in business.
As part of the course, Kevin was awarded £500 by The Prince’s Trust which enabled him to buy the equipment he needed to start his company – Kevin Lawrence Garden Services.
To date, Kevin has 50 loyal customers and maintains the grounds of two churches. He provides a valuable service to his community and has achieved the independence that he has always strived for.
It is stories such as Kevin’s that show that no matter what your background, you can go on to achieve your dreams, and be whoever you want to be.