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June 25, 2009

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Company News

Countdown to Queen Elizabeth – 440 days

I know many of you will have been on board when we have been raising money for leading charities to support their incredible work. Since December 2007 Cunard has had a proud association with The Prince’s Trust so I thought you may be interested to find out more about how this works. Firstly though, as usual, here’s “This week in Cunard’s History” for the week, 26th June to the 2nd July:

June 26 1970

QE2 offers medical assistance to a sick seaman transferred in the mid-Atlantic from the “Zosmarr”

June 27 1919

The Mauretania returns to Cunard’s North Atlantic service for the first time after the first world war

June 28 2009

Queen Victoria makes maiden call inside the Arctic Circle and Norway’s North Cape

Anyone who has been on board over the last 18 months will have been aware of the “Navigational Chart Auction”, where the ship’s nautical chart for that voyage, goes under the hammer, and proceeds go to The Prince’s Trust. Not only does it make a unique souvenir, but the money raised, can help change young lives. This is an example of a transatlantic chart from a recent crossing on Queen Mary 2.

My job along with my fellow Entertainment Directors is to auction the chart at the end of every voyage and the amount raised can be over $10,000, though the average is normally between $300 & $600. It certainly is a special memento which details the ships position throughout the voyage and is signed by all the Bridge team including the ship’s Master. Here is yours truly recently on Queen Mary 2.

In addition to the auctions there have also been other events held on board as well as guest donations and wehave been pleased to be able to display a letter by the Purser’s desk, from HRH The Prince of Wales, expressing his gratitude for the continued support from Cunard guests and crew.

I thought it would be interesting to find out Cunard’s association with The Prince’s Trust, and Amie Hoyland, Head of Corporate Partnerships, was kind enough to answer some of my questions.

Could you tell us a bit about the amazing work The Prince’s Trust does?

Since The Prince’s Trust began, it has had one sole aim: to help change young lives. This is an ambitious goal. Too many young people in the UK have fallen through the net, through underachievement at school, or through experience of the criminal justice system, an unstable home life, or long-term unemployment. These are the young people who feel they have no future.

We address this by giving practical and financial support to the young people who need it most. We help develop key skills, confidence and motivation, enabling young people to move into work, education or training.

Are there any particularly special projects you are involved in at the moment?

Yes, at The Prince’s Trust we are very proud of the achievements our young people have made and recently held our annual Oscar-style event called Celebrate Success, where we recognised the exceptional progress and transformations made by those we supported. Louise Firinne won the Capgemini Enterprise Award for her successful business that she set up with the support of The Prince’s Trust. Louise was born in Australia and suffered abuse growing up, which led to her fleeing to the UK. However life for Louise was still incredibly tough, she was homeless and had mental and physical ill health. Click here to see a video of how she overcame this and turned her life around.

It was an honour to meet his Royal Highness when the Duchess of Cornwall named Queen Victoria in December 2007. We are aware of how passionately he feels about the work his Trust does, could you tell us a little more about his personal involvement and his wishes for the future in the Trust?

HRH The Prince of Wales is still very involved with the work of his Prince’s Trust, as he has been since he first set it up in 1976.  This involvement takes many forms – from attending many events each year on behalf of The Prince’s Trust (from visits to Trust programmes being run on council estates to gala dinners and awards ceremonies) – to day-to-day contact with the Chief Executive about the running of The Trust.  His Royal Highness particularly enjoys meeting the young people helped by his Trust, and often receives letters from the young people telling him how their lives have been changed thanks to The Prince’s Trust.  The Prince of Wales always replies personally to such letters.

Turning to the future, His Royal Highness has said in various speeches that he is still humbled and inspired in equal measure by the type of exceptional achievements that many young people who have been helped by The Trust have managed to fulfill, especially given the extremely difficult backgrounds which many of the young people have had.  HRH The Prince of Wales has also mentioned in his speeches that many people have said to him how the mission of The Trust is more pertinent than ever in the current economic climate.  Last year alone, The Trust helped to change more than 40,000 young lives.  More than three in four of those young people moved into work, education and training following their time with The Prince’s Trust; achievements which are vital in the face of the economic downturn.

Please could you tell us about how the Trust’s association with Cunard started?

As you will have read above, Their Royal Highnesses, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, attended the naming ceremony for the Queen Victoria in December 2007. Cunard generously approached The Prince’s Trust to benefit from fundraising linked to the launch of this new ship and the partnership started from there. We have not looked back since as Cunard, its guests and crew have raised over an incredible £360,000! Paul Brown, Director of Marketing at The Prince’s Trust says: “I am absolutely thrilled that Cunard is helping huge numbers of young people to believe in themselves and get into employment or training”.

Do you know how much has been raised by guests on board Cunard ships for The Prince’s Trust, and could you give us some idea of what that will mean to The Trust, and the work this fundraising will enable it to do?

Yes, so far a phenomenal £173,000 has been raised on board, for which The Trust would like to thank Cunard’s guests for their generosity. A large proportion of these funds have been raised from the ships’ navigational map auction that takes place on each voyage. These funds will enable The Trust to help more young people on their journey towards a more successful future. Young people like Ben Armstrong, who was helped by The Trust through our in school programme and recently won our educational achiever of the year award – click here to watch a video of his moving story.

Have you had an opportunity to sail on one of our ships yet?

Not yet! But Prince’s Trust staff have been lucky enough to have lunch on board. In October 2008, Cunard held a farewell lunch on board QE2 which raised over £20,000 for the charity. It was such a pleasure to have the opportunity to go on board such an historic ship for the last time.  Amongst the guests were Nicholas Witchell, BBC’s Royal Correspondent, and Tor Stimpson, one of The Trust’s valued young ambassadors whose life has been changed thanks to the support of organisations like Cunard. Here she is with Cunard’s President and Managing Director, Carol Marlow, Captain Ian McNaught and The Prince’s Trust’s Director of Marketing Paul Brown.

“I have confidence in myself and my future looks bright for the first time, thanks to the support I received from The Prince’s Trust,” said Tor. “Cunard’s fantastic fundraising efforts will help even more young people change their lives for the better.”

Finally, do you have a message for our readers and guests?

On behalf of the young people The Prince’s Trust helps, thank you to all of Cunard’s guests and staff for your tremendous support. One day, we hope that all young people will have the chance to succeed. Sadly this won’t happen overnight as there are more than one million young people in the UK who are not in employment, education or training. However thanks to your support we can keep making a positive difference.

Thank you very much Amie for a great interview. It’s always inspiring to hear how much great work the Prince’s Trust does and if you would like more information you can visit www.princes-trust.org.uk. She has kindly invited me to a special event at the end of July which will celebrate the completion of a 3 month “Team Programme” for 15 youngsters so I’ll post some pictures of the event at the end of next month.

Meanwhile I’ll be back on Monday with a special Blog reviewing Queen Mary 2’s Transatlantic Crossing with James Taylor; cheers for now. Alastair

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  1. Moira Dickson says:

    Great to see the fantastic partnership with the Prince’s Trust. I was fortunate enough to be the winner in one of the auctions, some heavy bidding paid off and its a great talking point amongst my family and friends and also a wonderful reminder or a great voyage. I actively encourage all passengers to participate and get to understand the valuable work of both companies in assisting many young people in the community. Many congratulations to all auction winners but more importantly here’s to many years of success to those who benefit from The Prince’s Trust.

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