Fringe Box



Celebrating Young People’s Success in Style

Published on: 18 May, 2012
Updated on: 18 May, 2012

Another Guildford YMCA Prince’s Trust Team came to a successful conclusion and the final celebration venue added an extra-special flavour to the proceedings.

Thanks to a new partnership between the Prince’s Trust and the Harlequins rugby team, the Guildford Prince’s Trust Team held its final presentation at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Guildford.

Prince’s Trust Team members and their leaders flanked by some of the Harlequins players.

Eight members of the rugby team along with their manager Graeme Bowerbank have spent time with the young people through the last 12 weeks. In their own time they have joined in with whatever the team had planned for the day and it has given them a valuable insight into the lives of those who haven’t yet found their path in life.

They also treated the young people to a day at their base, the Surrey Sports Park. It challenged the young people about how much self discipline is required to reach the higher levels of sporting achievement.

At the evening presentation Graeme Bowerbank said: “I met these young people on their first day and I’ve seen changes taking place as they’ve grown in confidence. Harlequins is the first Premiership rugby club to engage with the Prince’s Trust in this way. We can operate in something of a bubble and some of us have had our eyes opened to understand life better.”

The 16- to 24-year-olds who take part in a Prince’s Trust Team begin a journey of self discovery. They learn to work closely with people they hardly know to accomplish demanding tasks. They are given opportunities to take a leadership role within the team and discover firs thand the challenges of managing others.

And they develop their CVs through gaining fresh qualifications and work experience. All this serves to prepare them well for employment or further training and several members of the current team secured full time work even before the course ended.

Team leaders Zoe Hetherington-Wilkes and Jules Velati are justifiably proud of the young people’s achievements and have seen them make tremendous progress.

Jules Velati was seconded from her full time post with Surrey Police. She said: “Running this team has been a fantastic experience. It’s been really intense and hard work, but I’ve loved coming to work every day.

“The only down side is I’m now very tired! We’re really pleased that Alfie has secured a supervisor’s post in a supermarket, Lauren will be an assistant nursery nurse and Kim will work in a charity shop and study for an NVQ in Customer Services.

“And Ben, who has taught himself web design since leaving school, had such a successful work placement he has been offered a full-time job there.”

Other team members are currently applying for college courses with a clearer sense of purpose than they had before, and youth workers from Plantation (part of Guildford YMCA) will continue to offer support for as long as it’s needed.

A the final presentation – in the presence of family, friends and supporters – each member of the team spoke of their experiences from the past 12 weeks and the positive impact the course has had on them.

They were then presented with their certificates of achievement by Harlequins Luke Wallace and Ross Chisholm.

Graeme Bowerbank addressed the audience and Rosemary Watt-Wyness, Director of Southern England for the Prince’s Trust, congratulated the young people on all that they’ve achieved.

A new Prince’s Trust Team will run from Plantation, Guildford YMCA’s youth venue in Market Street, Guildford, in the autumn. If you are, or know a young person who could benefit from it please call 01483 888122 for more information or visit

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