Idris Elba, David Oyelowo & Naughty Boy reveal how Prince's Trust changed their lives when they desperately needed help

THEY are some of the world's most well-known faces, but a stream of A-list stars have now revealed they owe their epic rise to fame to an inspirational British charity.

Everyone from Idris Elba to David Oyelowo and Naughty Boy have opened up about how The Prince's Trust gave them the boost they desperately needed to get their careers off the ground, following difficult starts in life.

They're speaking out as the charity, which was founded by Prince Charles in 1976, celebrates a major milestone – having helped one million young people, many of whom have seen their lives transformed.

While Luther star Idris, 48, says the charity gave him his "start and his career", Selma actor David, 44, has thanked The Prince's Trust for cementing his future as an actor following his family's financial struggles when he was a teen – which saw them live in a hostel at one point.

And the milestone comes amid a major jobs crisis in the UK for young people.

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, young people experienced the biggest fall in employment in the three months to July – meaning there are now enough unemployed young people to fill Twickenham stadium more than six times.

Here the stars and young people helped by the charity share their moving memories…

'It gave me my start and my career'

Idris says in the video that it was help from The Prince’s Trust “that gave me my start and my career”.

“When I was about 18 years old, I had the wonderful experience of auditioning for The Prince’s Trust," he says.

“I was awarded £1,500 by The Prince’s Trust that gave me my start and my career.” 

He recorded a short video with the charity in 2010, which showed him meeting youth worker Dante Lauder-Hawkins.

In it, the actor visits an estate in London and describes how he grew up in a similar one himself in Hackney.

At one point, Dante admits: "Round here, if you weren't involved in crime then you were getting bullied on the way home from school."

And he has opened up about his childhood in the past, while speaking about his Sky comedy In the Long Run.

The series is inspired by Idris' real life, with the actor striving to find the humour in all situations, even when there were "dark times".


He told The Sun's TV Mag: "I’m so proud to come from Hackney on a council estate and the mad diversity of who inspired me as a kid. It wasn’t designed to poke fun at, it was definitely designed to be like: ‘Look at life, this is what life can offer you and look at the funny side of it.’

"There are some really dark memories of that time as well but again, the show’s designed to look at the lighter side of it, tell stories that look at the lighter side of it."

'Without them I wouldn't have taken it this far'

Producer and DJ, Naughty Boy, 35, reveals in the video how he approached The Trust at 20 years old in the hope of starting his own business.

He says: “I didn’t expect them to help me or think that I could start my own business. 

“Without the Prince’s Trust, I don’t think I would have taken it as far as I did."

Shortly after receiving the grant, the musician went on to win £44,000 on Deal Or No Deal, further enabling him to purchase equipment and begin recording.


Sure enough, the DJ has gone on to collaborate with the likes of Emeli Sandé, as well as working on songs for Leona Lewis, JLS, Cheryl, Jennifer Hudson, Alesha Dixon and Tinie Tempah, and many more.

'Myself and my parents couldn’t afford it [without Prince's Trust]'

Selma star David Oyelowo says he received a grant from the Trust and credits it with cementing his “desire to become an actor" – with the money allowing him to enrol at National Youth Music Theatre.

“I was about 17 and really wanted to be part of the National Youth Music Theatre but myself and my parents couldn’t afford it," he explains.

“I got the grant and I got to be part of the National Youth Music Theatre and it’s really where my desire to become an actor became cemented. 

“And it’s also where I met my future wife, Jessica, so I have the Prince’s Trust to thank for a lot.”

David, who has played hugely varying roles in his career, from the King of England to a Nigerian asylum-seeker, now lives in LA with his actress wife, with whom he shares four children.

However, it's a major contrast to his childhood.

He has previously revealed how his grandfather was king of a state in western Nigeria, meaning he lived in the country from the age of six to 13.

When the family returned to the UK, he told The Independent that they spent some time living in a hostel in the Holloway Road area in north London – with four of them living in one room at one point.

He admitted he suffered horrific racial abuse at school at the time, and told the news outlet: "They called me 'coconut' – white on the inside and black on the outside – simply because I had lots of white friends and wanted to work hard and get on."

"To be crass," the actor added, "my upbringing has given me great raw material."

'We owe our lives to the Prince's Trust'

Guy Garvey, lead singer for Elbow, says in the video that “the five original members of Elbow owe their lives to The Prince’s Trust”.

He explains how the support the band received “was a tangible sign of respect” for what they did – something they “didn’t have elsewhere".

Guy is one of seven siblings born into a working class family in Bury, Manchester.

He's previously revealed how he was bullied while at school for having ears that stuck out. Even after having them surgically pinned back, schoolmates would chant “holding back the ears” at him.

His parents divorced when he was just 13, and he sadly went on to fall into a deep depression in his early 20s, often contemplating suicide.

“I hadn’t gone to university, I’d stayed with the band, I didn’t have any money,” he told The Guardian. “Where I was living in Bolton was poverty-stricken, and the kid across the street was being neglected to the point of abuse. I tried to get involved and could do nothing.

“It was just a hard time.”

'It kickstarted our career'

British rock band The Stereophonics also remember how a grant from The Trust was the key to enabling them “to play in the pubs and the clubs” before being signed soon after in 1996.

They explain in the video: "We needed some speakers, and then that allowed us to go play in the pubs and clubs and play our songs and stuff."


The band first formed in an ex mining village in Wales, practicing together in private before receiving the all-important grant.

But it's not just celebrities that have been helped by the charity…

'It turns dreams into reality'

Several young people that have been helped by the Trust also appear in the video.

Jess Royle, from London, says having The Prince’s Trust behind her “changes everything” and has re-instilled in her “that there’s a lot of good people out there".

Meanwhile others like Emmanuel Olaojo, who founded a business after completing The Trust’s Enterprise programme, recall how the charity has given them the confidence in themselves “to push through” and “gain valuable life experiences”.

They say that has ultimately helped to turn their “dreams into reality".

The Trust helped more than 70,000 young people last year, offering guidance and the chance build confidence and skills through several courses.

As part of its response to the coronavirus crisis, The Trust has launched a ‘Get Hired Jobs Board’ to match employers with young people who are ready to work now.

It has also established a ‘Coronavirus Support Hub’ to provide guidance and resources for young people in the challenging times ahead.

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