Inspirational youngsters were saluted in Hitchin yesterday as they completed The Prince’s Trust self-development courses that have helped them prepare for whatever life throws at them.

The Comet: Prince's Trust Stevenage team leader Daniel Arnold, North Herts assistant team leader Rachel Mutch and North Herts team leader Jack Todd. Picture: JP AsherPrince's Trust Stevenage team leader Daniel Arnold, North Herts assistant team leader Rachel Mutch and North Herts team leader Jack Todd. Picture: JP Asher (Image: Archant)

Members of the Baldock-based North Herts Team programme and the equivalent Stevenage Team received their graduation certificates in an emotional ceremony at Hitchin Priory – following 12 weeks of community projects, work placements and more.

The North Herts team of youngsters – operating out of Baldock & Letchworth Fire Station – created a memorial garden at Weston Way Nursery School in honour of much-missed secretary Elaine LaRoche, who died from cancer in April.

Their counterparts in Stevenage did community work at the Truro Court care home in St Nicholas, among other things building a fence and a bench for the residents.

North Herts team leader Jack Todd – who himself completed the programme in 2011 – told a room packed with proud family members how he and Stevenage leader Dan Arnold had promoted Team to unemployed people aged 18 to 25 in person at Jobcentres and through social media.

Each of the graduates then made a short speech, describing their experiences and naming their favourite parts of the 12 weeks – such as rock-climbing, sailing and the residential period they spent living together away from home.

Letchworth’s Natasha Major, 19, said: “I’d like to say a huge thank you to Jack for approaching me in the Jobcentre, and everyone else for all their help.

“The team has improved me as a person, and I’d like to thank The Prince’s Trust because without it this course wouldn’t be about to help people like me.”

Hitchin 18-year-old Jacob Bryder told how the Team programme had helped him to turn his life around after a period when depression left him in a very dark place.

He said: “I felt like I was worthless and couldn’t get anything right. I got referred to this programme.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but the activities brought us together as a team. With support from them, I grew in confidence and social skills – and also had an amazing opportunity to show my other abilities.

“I’d like to say a massive thank you to my team leaders – and to my parents for sticking by me.”

Benjamin Basak, 24, added: “The more I got involved, the more I got out of it. I’ve not just learned a lot, I’ve enjoyed it too.

“I’d like to thank everyone for the irreplacable advice and support.”

Herts police assistant chief constable Bill Jephson, who presented the certicates, told the graduates: “You are role models for The Prince’s Trust. Be very proud of that.

“Have the courage to succeed. Go out there with that confidence, that motivation, and walk your different road to your beautiful destination.”

The next Team programme in North Herts starts on September 25, with the Stevenage and North Herts groups now merged into one.

To find out more, give Dan a call on 07824 837506 or email him at