Prince Charles visited the Good Hope Café in Lewisham last night, delighting locals who filled Hither Green Lane to greet him.
The Prince was visiting the café to meet with young people who have been helped by the Prince’s Trust, as well as representatives from the Scouts Association and Youth United, an initiative launched by The Prince of Wales in 2009.
The Good Hope Café was set up by the Mizen family in memory of 15-year-old Jimmy Mizen, who died in a stabbing in May 2008. The café was established as “a haven for young people”. All proceeds go towards local youth projects.
The Prince of Wales talked to youth representatives about their experience of gangs and asked whether having a group that was “like a gang but more constructive” would have made a difference to their lives.
30-year-old Arfan Naseer told the Prince the lack of male role models was the reason he got involved in drug related crime as a teenager, while Rod Jarman, chairman of Youth United, spoke of the need to increase the number of Scout leaders.
Scouts came from different parts of the country. Simrit Kudhail, 17, Hannah Husein, 16, Jasmin Robinson, 15, Stefan Lewis 17 and 16-year-old Alex Tarrant-Anderson had a chance to express their opinions on what more can be done for young people who are in danger of gang recruitment.
Hannah Husein said: “We also wanted HRH to know how scouts are affected. Hopefully this will show that life for young people doesn’t have to be wrongfully portrayed in the media.”
Barry Mizen, father of Jimmy said: “We were asked if we would host HRH The Prince of Wales and a group of young people in our café ahead of a meeting he was hosting for government officials this evening.”
As Eastlondonlines reported last week, The Café of Good Hope was awarded social enterprise of the year by Lewisham Council on 23rd of January.
The Prince is to convene a roundtable meeting at Clarence House to tackle issues such as unemployment amongst young Britons, which recently reached over one million. The meeting will be attended by representatives from the three political parties, youth organisations and representatives from civil society.