This year the Prince's Trust is celebrating it's 40th Anniversary. Having accessed their Enterprise Programme and received support to launch my business BearHugs, I was very excited to take part in the celebrations. I got involved by joining the #partofPT tour when it stopped in Leeds city centre on 20th April.
I felt very proud to represent the Prince's Trust and loved talking about my entirely positive experience with their programme. I took along lots of BearHugs freebies and it was a pleasure to hand them out to people dropping by the #partofPT airstream. I set up alongside fellow Enterprise Programme user, Natalia who runs Pura Panela. I counted myself very lucky to have access to plenty of samples of her delicious drinks Cafe Campesino, Gurapo and Canelazo throughout the day.
We were also very lucky with the weather and there was a lovely atmosphere around the #partofPT tour bus. This was added to by performances from Ruby Macintosh, Terri Ann and Darren Mac. It was great to not only chat with others who had accessed the Enterprise Programme like photographer Kate Love but also people involved in other programmes the Prince's Trust runs to support young people.
On a personal level, the whole day meant a lot to me. Several years earlier my life had been turned on its head by poor health and I had been made predominantly housebound. It was a huge milestone for me to be able to spend the whole day getting involved. My mobility is still not great and it was quite exhausting to be chatting to people all day but I did manage. I never would have dreamed that I'd be able to take part in such an event a year earlier. As a result, I found myself feeling overwhelmed with gratitude. I felt incredibly thankful for my improved health, for my business, for the Prince's Trust and the support they have given me.
A stand-out moment during the day that will stay with me for a long time was when Sally (pictured here) dropped by to see me. When I first fell ill, I started writing a blog about my experiences of chronic illness. At a very bleak time, this provided me with a much needed space of positivity. I was incredibly lucky in that it bought me an amazing support network of other young people in similar situations. Suddenly becoming sick in your early twenties can be very isolating and I came to really value the friendships I was able to make online when I couldn't leave the house.
Sally was one of the lovely people I had come across in this way but had never been able to meet in person. I had posted on social media the day before explaining that I would be in Leeds and Sally saw this. Despite being very poorly, she went out of her way to come and chat to me. I know this was incredibly difficult for her so I was truly touched. It was really special to get spend some time with her.
All in all, I had an amazing day and feel very fortunate to be involved with such a fantastic charity.