Falkirk Prince’s Trust ambassador shares pandemic struggles at charity event

A Falkirk woman who suffered from anxiety for many years proudly took to the stage at a national event to share her story with the audience.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 10:26 am

The Prince’s Trust young ambassador Emma-May Millar, 22, was given a chance to explain to guests of the charity’s Lunch with an Old Bag fundraiser how she’d been impacted by the pandemic.

Emma-May was on an upward journey with The Prince’s Trust when her course had to be cancelled due to the Covid crisis.

A carer for her parents, Emma-May has struggled with her mental health after personal challenges at school left her with severe anxiety and low self-esteem.

Denny woman Emma-May Millar (middle left) with Lunch with an Old Bag host Des Clarke, presenter Amy Irons and auctioneer Alex Fleming. Picture: David Cheskin.

Having spotted a Facebook advert for The Prince’s Trust, she started out by working on her confidence and groupwork skills before completing the John Muir Award and taking part in The Trust’s Girls Week.

The bullying she was subjected to by girls at school meant Emma-May was anxious about spending time with young women her age.

However, she pushed past her fears.

She said: “Being a part of The Prince’s Trust and building friendships meant that I felt comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life.

“My confidence was improving and I had hope for the future. I was really enjoying life when lockdown was announced.

“I found this difficult to deal with. Lockdown meant I had to make drastic changes to my routine and I began to feel like my personal progress was going backwards by having to stay in the house.

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“My anxiety and depression began to get much worse but thankfully I started to get a well-being call from The Prince’s Trust twice a week. This has been so important for me to maintain good mental health as I feel less isolated.

“I then started to take part in group video calls and I really enjoyed these as it reminded me of the fun I had while doing group work pre-lockdown.

“For the rest of lockdown, I worked on my employability and personal skills and completed an access course to Stirling University. I’m now about to enter my first year doing law.”

This year’s Lunch with an Old Bag event at Prestonfield House Hotel, Edinburgh raised more than £500,000 for The Prince’s Trust in Scotland to help change young Scots’ lives.

The fundraiser has now generated almost £6 million since it began.

Last Friday, 250 guests gathered for a 1920s-themed extravaganza. Performers from London’s West End Stage made an appearance, while American model Jerry Hall sent a message to thank donors for their generosity.

Money was raised during a glittering auction that featured an exclusive wine and dine experience with the Bichot family, a lunch with fashion royalty Anya Hindmarch CBE, a Hermès Birkin bag and Theo Fennell jewellery.

The annual ‘fast bag’ auction saw an array of designer handbags snapped up.

Doreen Davidson, Lunch with an Old Bag committee chairwoman, said: “It’s been an incredibly difficult 18 months for us all, but we know that young people have been particularly hit hard and to know that this money will go directly to helping young Scots to improve their lives by getting the support they need to get a job, start a business or re-enter education is fantastic.”

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