Barry youngster meets singer Emile Sandé at The Prince's Trust youth forum
3:02pm Tuesday 20th August 2013 in News
A BARRY youngster who turned his life around with help from a youth charity was given the chance to meet the singer Emile Sandé at a star studded youth forum last week.
Curtis Matthews, 17, was chosen to represent Wales at The Prince’s Trust’s star studded youth forum in London last Friday, August 16.
Curtis was one of 23 Prince’s Trust young people chosen to ask questions at the forum, which saw singer Emeli Sandé, Jameela Jamil, Laura Whitmore, rapper Wretch 32, Game of Thrones actor Ed Skrein, and actor and director Adam Deacon offer advice and inspiration to young people.
Curtis was tasked with quizzing the celebrity ambassadors on behalf of young people who are worried about this week’s GCSE results, struggling to find work or feeling hopeless about the future. The celebrities shared their stories of how they have overcome the odds to achieve success in their careers.
Curtis said of attending the youth forum: “I had such a brilliant day. It was great to be given the chance to ask the celebrity ambassadors questions about how they coped when they faced difficult situations. I felt privileged to be asked to attend. I feel excited about my future now, and the opportunities that may lay ahead for me. I hope the day inspires others.”
The Youth Forum, supported by HSBC, was live streamed through The Prince’s Trust Facebook page, and comes at a time when thousands of young people are waiting for exam results and making tough decisions about their next steps in life. Around one in five young people, 22 per cent, in Wales are currently unemployed and almost one in four, 24 per cent, feels hopeless about the future.
Curtis was asked to become an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust after being supported by the youth charity. At school, Curtis struggled to fit in with his peers, often finding it difficult to communicate with others.
This feeling of isolation, coupled with family problems, meant Curtis became depressed, lacking confidence and self-esteem. After dropping out of college, he decided to join The Prince’s Trust Fairbridge Programme.
Curtis grew in confidence, developing his skills and enrolling himself back into college to study ICT. He also got a job, working part-time in a local restaurant. As a Prince’s Trust ambassador, he takes part in many events, inspiring and encouraging other young people to seek support.
Curtis said: “The Prince’s Trust helped me through a bad time in my life. Its Fairbridge Programme has given me more confidence in myself. I’m not afraid of what people think of me now and I speak up for myself to get my opinions across. I can approach new people these days.”
The Prince’s Trust supports disadvantaged young people, more than half of whom have left school with few qualifications.The youth charity runs intensive training schemes for struggling school leavers, giving them the skills and confidence to find work. Three in four young people on Prince’s Trust schemes move into work, education or training.