‘Nice surprise!’ Royal visit delight

Prince Edward meets young people, youth workers and staff at Angel youth hub

Friday, 17th September 2021 — By Helen Chapman

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Prince Edward with youngsters and youth workers during his visit to the Lift youth hub

YOUNGSTERS were surprised to meet the Earl of Wessex at the Lift youth hub in Angel on Wednesday.

Prince Edward met young people, youth workers and staff.

Darrell Gerald, youth worker at the centre in White Lion Street, said: “Our aim is to do outreach, especially the hard-to-reach young people. All the kids were really excited, we never have people like that coming in here, so they were really excited because they have never met actual royalty before.”

Staff at the centre told the Earl how the club made efforts to keep in touch on the phone and, where possible, remain open in a Covid-safe setting to help meet the needs of young people throughout the pandemic.

Nathan Samuel, who has been a youth worker for 16 years, said: “You get to see generations of young people grow up and now I see adults in the market who say, ‘Oh I remember you.’ We don’t get a fancy pay-cheque but we get sentimental moments seeing young people grow up.

“This is why I do this and why I love it.”

Elyse Duncan, who did her Duke of Edinburgh at the youth club, said: “It was a surprise, I just found out today.

“Even though he’s royalty he seemed normal, like our friend.”

Honey Baker, former young mayor and a current youth councillor, said: “It’s a great opportunity. It’s not something you get to say you’ve done every day. It’s a great opportunity to speak to them, share experiences and get to know him as well.”

Curtis Ashton, director of the Young Islington council services, said: “It was really good that the Earl came to see what these youth hubs have done for young people. We spend more on youth services than most local authority in the country and it is good for him to see evidence of that.

“It was good for him to hear from young people about what they need and for him to be responsive of the needs of young people.

“The youth safety strategy was published last year, marking the beginning of a five-year council plan to improve support for vulnerable young adults.”

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