A young entrepreneur from Burnley, who battled crippling mental health that left him mute, has met with Prince Charles at a special royal reception.
Scott Heffernan (33) got the opportunity to showcase his tattoo business at the reception in London which celebrated the diverse impact that the youth charity, the Prince's Trust, has had on young entrepreneurs during the last 30 years.
Scott, who launched his business, Timeless Tattoos, after completing The Trust’s Enterprise programme, was presented to the Prince of Wales at the Youth Can Do It event, and he also had the opportunity to network with a host of high profile entrepreneurs and alumni of the charity.
Scott said: “It has been really inspiring to meet entrepreneurs who have built up such great and successful businesses, even exceeding their own goals in some cases.
“The help I received from the Trust really boosted my confidence. Through my business, I’ve managed to help myself and others, while also securing a future for my family.
"I’d urge anyone who is at a crossroads in life to get in touch with The Trust because they’ll do all they can to help you find your passion and make the most of it.”
Scott suffered from mental health issues and became mute after leaving secondary school. He couldn’t talk to anyone and refused to leave the house. When funding for his treatment was cut, he felt alone.
Scott decided to take part in The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme in 2014.
He then went on to win the 2018 North West Prince’s Trust Enterprise Award, sponsored by Natwest, which recognises young people who have overcome barriers and achieved success in creating a sustainable business, or a community or social enterprise.
Explaining the extent of how his illness and how he recovered Scott said: “After I left secondary school, my mental health got so bad I was literally mute. I couldn’t talk to anyone and refused to leave the house.
"Although I received professional support, it stopped when funding cuts came in, so I decided to get help from a specialist charity. They helped me get better and said I should ask The Prince's Trust for advice on starting my own tattoo business.
"People were always complimentary about my drawings and I'd done a bit of tattooing at a friend’s salon before, but setting up my own business was a whole new ball game.
"Having The Prince's Trust believe that I could make it as a tattoo artist was a turning point for me. I’ve been running my business, Timeless Tattoos, for more than three years now and have a healthy turnover and customer base.
"I still suffer with mental health issues but the difference is that I can manage them now, and I feel infinitely better about my future and providing for my family.”
The event celebrated the achievements of young people like Scott who have been helped by the Trust’s Enterprise programme.
Prince Charles walked through a marketplace of pop-up stalls meeting young entrepreneurs who have received mentorship, practical guidance and, in some cases, financial support from the charity.
The event was also attended by a number of prominent entrepreneurs who were supported by The Trust, including Rob Law M.B.E., Founder of Trunki, Ozwald Boateng O.B.E., James Somerville, Vice President of Global Design, Coca Cola and Founder of design agency ATTIK, Michael Welch O.B.E., Founder of Blackcircles and Phoebe Gormley, Founder of Saville Row women’s tailor Gormley and Gamble.
The event also marked the 10th anniversary of the Trust’s Enterprise Fellowship, a network of leading entrepreneurs who are committed to supporting and inspiring the next generation of business leaders.
Clare Crabb, North Regional Director at The Prince’s Trust, said: “It’s incredible to think that our enterprise programme has assisted more than 88,000 young people across the UK to realise their dream of starting their own businesses over the last thirty six years. Many of the young people we have helped have overcome significant barriers in their lives to get to where they are now.
“At The Trust we help young people build their self-confidence, develop and support their ideas and access to funding to help launch and grow their businesses. We give young people access to a network like no other, incredible business mentors and dedicated staff - all of whom are committed to never giving up on young people who want to live, learn and earn more.”
If you would like to find out more about the Enterprise programme, or the Enterprise Fellowship and how you can invest in The Trust’s work, or if you are an alumni of The Trust’s Enterprise programme looking to join the Fellowship, please visit princes-trust.org.uk or call 0800 842 842