County Councillor for Gartree – Dec 2022

The Princes Trust Presentations

Reflecting over this past 12 months and the large number of engagements that I have been privileged, in my civic role as chairman of the county council, to take part in, The Prince’s Trust presentations have been memorable.

The Prince’s Trust began in 1976 when King Charles III, while still the Prince of Wales, became dedicated to improving the lives of disadvantaged young people in the UK. He founded The Trust to fulfil that commitment. To date more than one million young people have been helped. You can learn more about their work at

The Trust believes that every young person should have the chance to embrace exciting opportunities. So, they help 11 to 30 year-olds to find the tools and confidence to try free courses and start careers.

The highly successful 12-week Team programmes began in 1990. They are aimed at unemployed young people, some with hidden disabilities, aged 16 to 25 in a geographical area where they can meet new people, learn new skills and receive some training.

At the end of their 12-week Team programme, the young people work together to produce a presentation for their relatives and friends and receive a course completion certificate awarded by the King’s representative for the area – the Lord Lieutenant or one of his deputies.

Over the past 12 months I have attended seven such Team presentations across the county and the city. They have all been uplifting and inspiring for all of the Teams ranging from 8 to 12 members.

Each presentation consists of slides and starts with one or two of the team describing the initial awkward first group meetings, the ideas from the volunteers who help guide the 12-week programme, and the team building exercises including a residential week.  On the day of the presentations, they share their activities during the previous 12 weeks, and each presents their own individual story and how they intend to move on, find a job and expand their horizons.

Although a few of the participants have difficulty reading their parts of the script there is always another Team member standing by to help them out.

The Teams are mostly completely unknown to each other at the start of each 12-week programme, and slides of their initial get togethers show their natural shy awkwardness but working together to build towers made of marshmallows and spaghetti works wonders!  The transformation that I, along with parents, and the Lord Lieutenant or one of his deputies, have been so pleased to witness, can be emotional but always very inspirational.

Tree Giveaways

A record 34,000 trees have been given away to landowners and farmers in a bid to encourage more tree planting across Leicestershire.

More than 100 community groups, parish councils, schools, landowners and farmers went along to Beaumanor Hall near Loughborough on 1 December to pick up their tree packs, in what was the biggest tree giveaway ever undertaken by Leicestershire County Council, in partnership with the Woodland Trust.

The free tree packs included 45 native trees designed to help renew and restore existing woodland and vegetation, as well as replacing trees which have been affected by diseases such as ash dieback.

The free hedgerow packs are made up of 250 hedgerow shrubs, including a mix of hawthorn, hazel, blackthorn, field maple, dog rose as well as oaks.

Wishing all readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!