When I first sat down with the Prince’s Trust and learnt about the Cumbrae House project in Glasgow, Scotland I was most struck by some of the statistics about why developing a new centre for vulnerable young people was so important. 36,000 young unemployed people in the city of Glasgow region. The lowest life expectancy in the UK and considerable social issues such as drug use, chronic poor health and long term unemployment. The vision the Prince’s Trust had for Cumbrae House to provide a new hub designed around and for young people to provide them with the skills, advice, training and mentoring they need was really inspirational. When I was in my 20’s, during University, and after I graduated, I volunteered with a youth charity and got to meet [and hopefully help] many young people who had had difficult starts in life. It had always been something I was most proud of. I thought the project was exactly the sort of thing the Saint-Gobain Foundation could help with. The focus of the project, as well as the refurbishment of the hub – which was able to use many products from Saint-Gobain to create a more comfortable environment – was around results. And showing that giving young people that basic help and guidance gives them have a much much greater chance of getting employment or going on to further education. Believing in the importance of providing them with training, and skills – not just job skills but also basic life skills – and watching how they flourish. Being a part of helping that was such a privilege. Although the project is completed and the centre has been up and running for a few years – it’s helping more than 1,000 young people a year. I’m now looking at other ways to help the Prince’s Trust and more importantly the young people they’re there to support.
The most rewarding thing about being involved has been returning to the centre and talking to young people who have benefitted from the centre. Hearing how they’ve been given new opportunities or found support and encouragement they never had before. I have four children myself and I know how much time it takes to help them, encourage and support them. If you don’t have that, for whatever reason, it must be so hard. So being involved in a charity, and making a project happen that has at its heart providing that support and encouragement has been a real privilege.”