THE BLOG

Although the Economic Climate Is Slowly Recovering, Too Many Young People Are Being Hit by the Aftermath

13/03/2015 17:21 GMT | Updated 13/05/2015 10:59 BST

For us, family is everything. We both grew up in loving and supportive families who wanted the best for us and not once did we feel isolated with nowhere to turn. Our families provided comfort, guidance and love, all of which have helped to shape the people we are today.

That's not to say our formative years were easy. Far from it. There have been occasions where our confidence and self-esteem has taken a knock, and times when we've sat down and thought that things can't get any worse.

I grew up in a working-class family in North London. Post-war, the community and wider borough was struggling and there weren't many opportunities for young people. I left school at 15 with dreams of carving a career in either football or music. The youngest of five, I grew up with a very strong work ethic due to the fact my parents owned and ran the newsagents below our flat on the Archway Road, and it took years of hard work - which included busking on the street and a stint as a grave-digger - and with the surpport of my parents my dreams turned into reality.

Penny was bullied at secondary school and for many years, this left her confidence in tatters. Peers would throw things at her in the classroom and call her names. On one horrific afternoon a group of bullies rode a bike into the back of her legs, on her walk home, leaving her bleeding and afraid to go back to school. It all culminated on her last day of the school term (while protecting a fellow student), when another group of bullies, pelted her with flour and eggs, the final humiliation.

These times were only made better by the fact we had loving families to help us through them. But there are hundreds of thousands of young people out there who feel they have nothing - or no-one - to turn to in times of need.

We have children and would be devastated to witness them face problems alone. Too many young people battle bullying, depression, abuse and unemployment without help. It is always a tragedy to see a young life go to waste and this is why we are long-term Ambassadors for youth charity The Prince's Trust.

Later this month we will be attending The Prince's Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success Awards, which will recognise young people who have overcome unimaginable odds to turn their lives around.

The Prince's Trust has helped 750,000 vulnerable young people over the years, giving them the skills and confidence to get their lives back on track and we've had the pleasure of meeting quite a few of them over the years. Their turn-around stories leave us feeling humbled, yet inspired, at what can be done if we work together to support the next generation.

Young people should not be regarded as useless and unemployable - they are far from it. They can offer a wealth of talent and potential but quite often they simply don't have the support, guidance or know-how to turn this into reality.

In our roles as Ambassadors we've been fortunate enough to meet with some of the young people who have been supported by The Trust and these visits have only confirmed to me the importance of inspiring the next generation.

We met a young person who had been supported by The Prince's Trust 18 months ago, and her story has stuck with us. We were thrilled to realise that she's been nominated for an award at The Prince's Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success Awards.

After suffering from undiagnosed Asperger's Syndrome and bullying at school, Emma Reilly from Newcastle developed a social phobia; she had up to 15 panic attacks a day if she had to interact with anyone. Finding or keeping a job was impossible.

She applied for The Trust's Enterprise programme - which helps unemployed young people start up in business - and clothing line Brave and the Bold was born. Emma has gone on to become a Young Ambassador for The Prince's Trust where she volunteers her time to help and inspire other disadvantaged young people.

It is stories such as Emma's that prove that with a little support and guidance, young people can build the self belief and skills they need to turn their lives around. The Prince's Trust makes sure that young people not only have the skills and confidence to move forward in their life, but they also provide access to digital classrooms, supported by Samsung, to make sure young people are being given the necessary skills to work in the digital sector.

Although the economic climate is slowly recovering, too many young people are being hit by the aftermath. Those who are long-term unemployed are the furthest from the jobs market and are being exposed to low self-esteem and rejection. The stress and anxiety will be too much for some to cope with so it has never been more important to work together to give the younger generation the opportunities they deserve.

The Huffington Post teamed up with youth charity The Prince's Trust to back the Novae Educational Achiever of the Year Award at The Prince's Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success Awards. Taking place on Thursday 12 March in London, the ceremony recognised young people who have overcome issues such as unemployment, drug addiction, homelessness and depression to achieve success.

The Prince's Trust & Samsung Celebrate Success Awards recognise young people who have overcome homelessness, mental health problems and unemployment. In addition to partnering the Celebrate Success Awards, Samsung is working with the Prince's Trust to tackle the digital skills gap in the UK by creating digital classrooms at its centres. More information: samsung.com/uk/citizenship/ #StandTall