A CHARITY working with unemployed young people hopes to add millions to the West Midlands economy.

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme has already helped 740 young people across the West Midlands – including Worcester – since it launched in April 2010.

A report commissioned by the trust and the Citi Foundation estimates the scheme could add up to £3,741,000 to the West Midlands’ economy over a three-year period by helping people off Jobseekers’ Allowance and into work.

And with the scheme hoping to help another 300 young people by April this year, it could even add another £1.5 million to the economy.

Paul Beesley, West Midlands’ head of the enterprise programme for the Prince’s Trust, said: “The growing success of our enterprise programme shows that young people here in the West Midlands are very entrepreneurial.

“Now we need further funds to support more young people across the region, helping them escape long-term unemployment and poverty for good.

“Many of these young people will become the employers of tomorrow, providing services that the West Midlands needs.

"By helping today’s young people, we are investing in tomorrow’s economy.”

Claire Powell, of Fernhill Heath, near Worcester, is among those to have been helped by the trust.

Ms Powell, aged 28, has already battled depression, unemployment and ovarian cancer at the age of 22, but with the help of a £1,000 grant from the scheme she has got back on her feet and started her own painting and decorating business.

What’s more, she now hopes to be able to employ an apprentice by the end of the year – not only to expand the business, but also give something back to the community.

She said: “I know what it feels like to think that there are no options out there.

“I want to give another young person the opportunity to follow their dream.

“The Prince’s Trust gave me my life back. Without them I really don’t know where I’d be.”

For more information about the Prince’s Trust, visit princes-trust.org.uk