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Mentoring the future

456. Mary Goodchild

A retired businesswoman from Worthing has volunteered at The Prince’s Trust for over 35 years and runs free four day enterprise courses for unemployed young people interested in entrepreneurship.

Working with The Prince’s Trust, Mary helped to design the courses and kickstart the initiative which helps young people get involved in business. Budding entrepreneurs are given one-to-one support to develop a business plan before pitching it to a panel of experts whose job it is to ensure the business is viable and sustainable. If approved, they are given an experienced business mentor for two years and the option of applying for a low-interest loan of up to £7,500.

The young people are then mentored for a further two years as they build their start up business. The long term investment in their development means 80% of the start-ups are still running after two years. Examples of successful businesses from the initiative include Dynamo, one of Britain’s most famous magicians, and Duane Jackson who created the company KashFlow which was sold for a multi million sum.

After a long and successful career as a businesswoman, Mary became passionate about passing on the skills she learnt from her business experiences to help young people succeed. Mary herself has been a volunteer mentor for the Prince’s Trust for 35 years, in which time she has given over 3300 hours to mentor at least 500 young people. She meets with each young person once or twice a month, and has also inspired 25 of her own mentees to come back and volunteer as mentors themselves.

As well as mentoring, Mary is also Chair of Trustees at The Bridge, a Brighton-based charity which fundraises £250,000 a year. Mary has deployed her business skills to lead the charity for 8 years through many changes including moving premises. The Bridge trains young people in the skills they need to move into work, and helps 1000 young people every year.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Mary has shown a remarkable passion for passing on the skills and knowledge she built up during her own career. By working with The Prince’s Trust to design and deliver a skills and mentoring scheme, she has given many young people the opportunity to change their lives. I am delighted to recognise Mary as the UK’s 456th Point of Light.”

Mary said:

“I have probably benefited more from volunteering as those I have tried to help. I enjoy every minute of the work and I am still constantly amazed at the challenges people overcome.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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