Farm in Sheldon Country Park spruced up by The Prince’s Trust community project

The Prince’s Trust Birmingham East team, with PC Vicky Jones (right), fundraising at PwC’s Birmingham office for their community project 

The Prince’s Trust Birmingham East team, with PC Vicky Jones (right), fundraising at PwC’s Birmingham office for their community project

A group of 16–25-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training undertook a two-week community project to spruce up The Old Rectory Farm in Sheldon Country Park for visitors.

The team, approximately two thirds of whom are ex-offenders, are currently taking part in The Prince’s Trust Team Programme, supported by PwC in the Midlands.

The 12-week initiative, run by West Midlands Police in conjunction with Solihull College, offers young people opportunities for qualifications and personal development, alongside work experience, practical skills, a community project and a residential week.

The Old Rectory Farm in Sheldon Country Park is a community farm where the team created large raised planting beds and a wild flower bank, laying paving stones, painting railings and fences and completing a general tidy up to make it more attractive for visitors.

Harriet Wileman, senior associate in corporate finance at PwC and leading PwC’s involvement, said: “PwC in the Midlands is involved in many projects intended to make a difference to young people’s lives.

“We are proud to sponsor the Birmingham East team on the Prince’s Trust Team Programme, which aims to help young people take responsibility for themselves – helping them build the life they choose rather than the one they’ve ended up with.

“Throughout the programme, staff from our PwC Birmingham office are actively volunteering in all the activities, as well as using their expertise and experience to run soft-skills sessions on presentation skills, professional behaviour and interview techniques.

“It’s great to see how the community project really brings the group together. The team does everything from fundraising, buying materials and project planning and management – to the physical task itself.”

John O’Reilly, director for the Prince’s Trust in Central England said: “Currently more than one in seven young people in the UK are not in work, education or training.

“At the Prince’s Trust we know most young people are motivated to get into work and contribute to society but often lack the confidence and opportunities to do so.

“Team is such an important programme, which provides jobless young people with skills, experience and most importantly self-belief, while benefitting the wider community as well.”

PC Vicky Jones, PC Gareth Sankey and PCSO Kim Hill led the project from Acocks Green police station.

PC Jones said: “We’ve been running this programme since 2011, with a total of 13 groups, and 176 disadvantaged young people taking part.

“Last year we saw some fantastic results from the programme, with 80 per cent of participants securing work or training afterwards.
“These are young people who have found themselves in difficult situations – unemployed, or homeless for a number of different reasons, and who need a helping hand to get back on track.

“It’s great to have the support of volunteers from PwC in the Midlands, who bring their professional expertise, get to know the young people, talk to them and offer advice.”