Back in the summer of 2011 Pennies was rolled out across the tills in Zizzi restaurants. Eighteen months on, customers have donated over 600,000 times with their pennies adding up to more than £132,000 for charity. Most of this money has gone to their main beneficiary partner the Prince’s Trust who have used donations to help young people improve their lives, build confidence and achieve their ambitions.

One of their more intensive programmes is the Team programme, a 12-week personal development course for young people to help improve their Afsana_Princes-Trust-300x239self-belief, job hunting, work experience and CV writing. For some, the programme was a lifeline that came just in time.

When Afsana Benozir was referred to the Team programme by her Support Worker, she had long given up her educational or career aspirations. Having suffered serious abuse from a family friend since the age of six, Afsana had become very withdrawn when she was young and was self harming by the time she was 12. Over the following few years, she survived two suicide attempts and, after the second, admitted herself to hospital where she received a psychiatric assessment. After nine months of psychotherapy Afsana was able to talk about the abuse but it was additional conflict at home that prompted Afsana to move out and her Support Worker to refer her to the Team programme.

Afsana quickly began to understand the importance of qualities like commitment and self-respect on the programme. The programme leaders brought her out of her shell and gave her confidence to work towards getting the skills she needed to apply to medical school.

“Hand on heart, if it wasn’t for the support and experience I received from the Prince’s Trust, I would most likely not be here today,” says Afsana.

How your pennies help

The Team programme is very intensive and includes a residential week away, a two week work placement, and a three week community project. It costs the Prince’s Trust £10,000 for three young people to attend the programme, making the £80,000 donated to the charity through Pennies partners so far really valuable for young people wanting to change their situations.

You can hear from Afsana and some of the people who helped her in the video above and understand the difference donating just 20p at the end of your meal can make.

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