THE growing importance of the charity sector to the economy as a whole is exemplified by the work being done in the Midlands by the Prince’s Trust.

The charity, set up by the Prince of Wales to help young people set up their own businesses, is worth up to £3.7 million to the West Midlands economy over the next three years.

The figure is based on the trust continuing to help young people into work at its current rate.

Via its enterprise programme the charity has helped 740 young people across the region since last April.

The people being helped by the Prince’s Trust all have entrepreneurial tendencies but do not have the money or background needed to take their first steps on the business ladder.

The charity gives them that helping hand.

And it does not have to cost a fortune.

Today we highlight the case of Claire Powell, from Worcester, who has started her own painting and decorating business with the help of £1,000 from the trust.

As the banks become more and more risk averse when it comes to helping the smallest of small businesses, there will be even more demand for organisations such as the Prince’s Trust to step into the breach.

One might argue that this is the Prime Minister’s Big Society in action.

Alternatively, it could be said that organisations such as the Prince’s Trust have been operating like this for decades – often in spite rather than because of local and central government.

Either way, what is not in doubt is the fantastic work done by the Prince’s Trust and similar charities.