Prince's Trust funds Sheffield woodworking business fit for a king

£3,500 was not a princely sum, even in 1996, but it built a Sheffield woodworking business fit for a king.
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Jon Stocks received an acorn of fnding from the Prince’s Trust 24 years ago.

Today Designer Woodwork Services employs 10 directly, plus subcontractors, turns over £350,000-a-year and has paid a king’s ransom in taxes.

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Mr Stocks is a big fan of the royal heir and his youth charity which helps young people aged 11 to 30 get into jobs, education and training.

Jon Stocks, left, with brothers Daniel and Kieran and dad Jon Stocks senior, right, working on a heritage window.Jon Stocks, left, with brothers Daniel and Kieran and dad Jon Stocks senior, right, working on a heritage window.
Jon Stocks, left, with brothers Daniel and Kieran and dad Jon Stocks senior, right, working on a heritage window.

He said: “I have the utmost respect for Prince Charles. I think he is a hero. That man put this business on the map. It was a small amount of money but without it this wouldn’t have happened.

“That’s 10 less people they have to worry about, not to mention the tax paid. I’m a big believer in taxes, they pay for a million things.”

It all started when Jon was made redundant, aged 21, after a ‘top notch’ apprenticeship at Sheffield housebuilder MJ Gleeson.

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He told the Job Centre he wanted his own business and was sent on a training scheme that put him on to the Prince’s Trust for a grant.

Jon Stocks senior.Jon Stocks senior.
Jon Stocks senior.

Jon founded DWS with father Jon senior and two brothers Daniel and Kieran.

They still work together like ‘cogs in a clock’ transforming estates, cottages, houses and businesses with furniture, doors, staircases, and windows made with their own specialised brand of Victorian-style craftmanship.

Their first workshop was his parents’ single garage and the cash paid for tools, start-up costs and even signwriting on the van.

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Now it is based in large premises on Hallcar Street, Burngreave, with big pieces of kit ‘all bought and paid for’ and six vans.

Kieran Stocks.Kieran Stocks.
Kieran Stocks.

After nearly two-and-a-half decades the firm has experienced recessions and now a pandemic.

But business has boomed, says Jon.

“We are busier because people are not at work. Sheffield has a lot of period properties and public sector jobs that are recession proof.”

The Princes’ Trust has helped more than 89,000 young people start their own business since1983.

Jon Stocks jnr.Jon Stocks jnr.
Jon Stocks jnr.
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It is focused on helping young people through the coronavirus crisis with a Young People Relief Fund and has teamed up with NatWest to launch the Enterprise Relief Fund.

A spokeswoman said: “If a young person is struggling to run their business, we can support them with personalised one-to-one support through this difficult time. Our advisors and mentors can offer specialist employment and business advice. We can also help young people to adapt their business model. And we can help young people find a job to tide them over, helping them to reskill for employment.”

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Dan Stocks working on a door.Dan Stocks working on a door.
Dan Stocks working on a door.

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