The Palace of Westminster.

On Halloween, the day of my speech at the House of Lords, was perhaps not the day to be ill with a throat infection. But, with some strong painkillers I made my way to Paddington station where I met two lovely members of staff from the Prince’s Trust. Together we made our way to the House of Parliament discussing the agenda for the day.

We found our way to the entrance as instructed by the guards where we were given access to enter the grounds of the Palace of Westminster. After our photos were taken by the guards, and access badges printed, our bags were scanned and we got through the metal detectors to then be escorted to our venue for the day.

It was a really strange experience to be entering through the side of the building and to be watched carefully by the armed guards. Although we didn’t get to look into the main house, as discussions were already in progress, we were shown to a very grand dining hall that looked out over the Thames. I imagined seeing myself in one of the tiny windows at Parliament from the other side of the river. It felt very peculiar to be there in such a grand venue.

At 12 o’clock all 40 of the guests arrived, including Lord Young and the director of the Prince’s Trust, who were there to start proceedings with their stories about the Prince’s Trust. Lord Young has been involved with the charity from the very beginning. It was interesting to hear the history behind the Trust, but needless to say all the while I was beginning to feel very nervous about addressing the audience in the shadow of a Lord just two seats away.

After a lovely lunch and lots of chatting with some very interesting people it was my time to speak. I had enjoyed speaking to one of the people from the production company that made Channel 4’s ‘Educating Essex’ and BBC 1’s ‘Highstreet Dreams’ and joked about making about a programme about my business start-up. Well, I passed on my business card, so they have my number!

Surprisingly, my speech went well. I covered all aspects of what I was doing before I contacted the Prince’s Trust, how they have helped and supported me over the past two and a half years and how business is doing now. The audience was really inspired, and extremely thankful afterwards that I had shared my story with them. I just hope that having inspired them, they will go on to support the Trust, which will help lots of other entrepreneurs get their businesses up and running. With just £1000 from the Prince’s Trust I was able to make my business what it is today and I hope I get invited back to keep on telling my success story for many years to come.

A box of chocolates given to me as a souvenir of the day.