The Prince was visiting Salford Community Fire Station for the second time to meet young people from the charity’s Team programme delivered in partnership with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.
Unemployment hotspot Salford has a stubbornly high levels of youth joblessness, with more than one in five young people (21%) struggling to find work.
Current Team member Nicholas West-Keyes, 21, from Swinton, who met The Prince, said: "Being on the Team programme has been amazing so far and I’m doing things that I never thought I could do. I’ve gained since so much confidence since joining Team and now I have people who believe in me and that is such a huge help.
“Meeting Prince Harry today was brilliant. He was very easy to talk to and he was really interested in what we were doing. It was a great way for us to say thank you for the support of his dad’s Trust.”
As well as meeting with the young people, The Prince was also shown the fleet of engines and reintroduced to the fire crews working at the station, who he first met after the civil disorder in the area in 2011.
The Trust’s Team programme is a 12-week personal development scheme which helps unemployed 16 to 25-year-olds build the skills and confidence they need to get a job. The Prince was also able to meet past members of the Team programme who have now turned their lives around and found work.
Past Team member, Lee Waddicor, 20, of Boothstwon, Manchester, joined the Greater Manchester Fire Service as an apprentice after completing Team. He said: "Gaining this apprenticeship has really taught me that, with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. I have always wanted to work for the Fire Service, and The Prince’s Trust and the endless help of their staff has turned this dream into a reality.
“I would recommend The Prince’s Trust Team programme to anybody struggling with their confidence. It really has made me a better person. Don’t doubt yourself and always chase your dreams because I nearly gave up on mine.”
Jonathan Townsend, regional director of the North of England for The Prince’s Trust, said: “This visit has given our young people such a boost today. The work that we do in the area with the Team programme is vital and can often be life saving for them. We are working hard in partnership with the Fire Service to make sure these young people get all the help they need to overcome their barriers and achieve their best in life.”
The visit follows on from The Prince’s last visit to Salford after the civil disorder in 2011. Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) control operators took hundreds of calls and deployed fire crews to around 350 incidents. In the immediate aftermath, GMFRS worked with Greater Manchester Police and Salford Council to help provide reassurance and support to the community, and build relationships and trust with young people in the area.
Chair of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, Councillor David Acton, said: "It is fantastic that Prince Harry has come to visit firefighters, other staff and Prince’s Trust young people at Salford Community Fire Station and meet some of those who he met in 2011 following civil disturbance in the area.
“The Prince’s Trust programme has been running in GMFRS for 12 years and has seen 100s of young people enrich their futures, taking with them a range of qualifications and life skills. Many who complete the scheme go on to find employment in Greater Manchester, including with GMFRS.”
GMFRS has been working in partnership with The Prince’s Trust providing inspirational leadership and guidance to help young people in Salford since 2002. The Trust’s Team programme is run in partnership with the Fire Service, as well as other partners, across the country.
Young people on the scheme take part in a residential, a community project and a work experience placement over the course of 12 weeks, while developing team-building skills and CV-writing skills. As well as gaining valuable teamwork, communication and social skills, Teams make a great contribution to the community, undertaking refurbishment projects for community centres and local parks, and working with other groups such as disabled children.
Source: Prince's Trust