Signing up to The Prince's Trust Palace to Palace ride and raising funds for the UK's leading youth charity is a challenge I'm looking forward to taking on. The route is going to be a challenge, but it will be worth it in a number of ways - not just for the scenery

I believe strongly in the work that The Trust does, and the transformative effect the charity can have on young lives. This personal passion is the main reason I've signed up to take part in The Trust's flagship fundraising event.

At Marriott International, we've worked with The Prince's Trust for several years now, and we have seen the impact of the work The Trust does to give disadvantaged young people the opportunity to transform their lives. We work with The Trust to offer young people work experience within the hospitality industry and in many cases offer them a permanent role within the Marriott International Group. These young people are a credit to themselves and our team. The impact of the work The Trust does is all around us.

There are a number of other benefits to signing up to Palace to Palace. For instance, I know it has been a real motivating force for many of our associates to also get behind this cause. We have had 20 riders sign up from our hotels across London, and there's a good competition going amongst our associates to raise funds in creative ways, and to get a good time in the ride. Taking part in a challenge like this is also a great way to get to know yourself, and the team you work with, it can definitely build a sense of team spirit.

In addition, encouraging and supporting our staff to take part in a physical challenge like Palace to Palace fits within our wider wellbeing programme. It is important that we enable our team to live their healthiest lives possible, and this ride is a great opportunity for the keen cyclists in the team as well as those who want to try something totally new.

I don't want to share too many training tips with people, as I want the Marriott team to do well! But my words of advice to other people would be stay hydrated on the ride and don't underestimate 45 miles. Put the training in and bring friends and family along to the village to really enjoy the day. Most importantly, you will need that personal passion in the cause to keep you going mile after mile.

Here's a success story from our partnership, one of many that inspires us to keep welcoming youth from all backgrounds into our business:  

Nicola Staff, 26, from North West London has benefited from the partnership between Marriott and The Prince's Trust. Nicola was bullied at school and had a difficult upbringing.. Unbeknown to others, she was suffering a breakdown and because she was so unhappy she quit her Hospitality Management course, left home and ended up living in a tent for three months.

‎Three years later, at the age of 21, Nicola was diagnosed with lymphoma. She recovered, but suffered another breakdown. 

"That's when I was diagnosed with OCD, social phobia, low self-esteem and confidence issues. I needed medication and intense psychotherapy."
Nicola's father didn't know where to turn for help. He tried to engage her with different organisations that could help, but nothing worked. Then he came across a Prince's Trust programme that builds the confidence and motivation of disadvantaged young people.

Taking part in everything from BMX-biking to canoeing, Nicola's confidence flourished during the programme and led her to join another Prince's Trust programme, Get into Hospitality, a programme delivered in partnership with Marriott, providing unemployed young people with the skills they need to gain work in the industry.

Despite initial nerves, Nicola gave the programme her best shot and began her first day at the five-star JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair, London.

"That day completely changed my life."

She gained experience in a number of different departments and asked to extend her placement when the programme ended. 

Nicola now works full-time in the Pastry Kitchen at the JW Marriott, Grosvenor House Hotel and meets regularly with her Prince's Trust ‎Progression Mentor to continue to build her resilience.

Positive, stable and with a great support network around her, Nicola finally feels in control of her life. She has ambitions of travelling to France to train as a pastry chef and plans to continue her career in the hospitality sector.

"Before The Prince's Trust, I couldn't think about the next day, but everyone at The Trust and Marriott were so supportive; now I can really plan my future."

To find out more about this year's Palace to Palace ride, sponsored by Capita, visit

To find out more about Marriott's involvement with The Prince's Trust, visit