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How the Prince’s Trust let me take control of my life
A YOUNG woman who was out of work and left battling cancer and depression has managed to turn her life around after a charity helped her set up her own business.
Claire Powell, aged 29, of Fernhill Heath, near Worcester, has set up a business called Claire’s Painting and Decorating thanks to a grant from the Prince’s Trust.
Miss Powell left school at 16 and did various jobs until the age of 22 when her world turned upside down after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
She spent the following few years in and out of hospital undergoing various tests and operations.
Ultimately, she was left devastated when she was told she would never have children.
Miss Powell said: “In that split second that I was told I had cancer, my world just fell apart.
“That year is just a blur now. I really don’t know how I got through it.”
She was eventually given the all-clear and decided to follow her dream and train to become a painter and decorator.
After training as an apprentice, Miss Powell secured her first job in a local firm and not long after she discovered she was pregnant – which she had never expected to happen.
She gave birth to her son in August 2007 but just as things were looking up, her partner was made redundant and she sank back into depression.
She said: “Things just kept on getting worse. I had no control over my life and felt utterly helpless. I was shocked at the lack of jobs there were available at the height of the recession.”
Miss Powell heard about the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme and she nervously approached them. In August 2010 she was awarded a £1,000 grant to set up Claire’s Painting and Decorating which has since gone from strength to strength.
She used the money to get herself a van and to pay for her public liability insurance.
Six months after setting up her business she no longer needed to take her anti-depressants or see her counsellor. She said: “I probably wouldn’t be where I am now if the recession hadn’t happened as it really inspired me to set up my business.
"It’s always going to be a risk setting up on your own but I felt it was my only choice.
“With hard work and determination my decision has really paid off.”
Figures from the Trust, published today, show that two-thirds of people in the West Midlands now claim life is harder than ever for unemployed young people.
More than half (52 per cent) of young people in the region think finding a job is harder than this time last year while about half (51 per cent) feel disposable in their job.
The research is based on interviews with 2,000 16 to 30 year olds across the UK.