The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, met young people working to make society a better place through his Youth United initiative this week.
His Royal Highness visited a London café opened in memory of murdered schoolboy Jimmy Mizen, and met young representatives from The Prince's Trust, the Scout Association, and Families United including the Mizen family.
The Prince of Wales has worked for 35 years through the Prince’s Trust to help young people overcome barriers and boost their self-esteem. Youth United is a collaborative effort between youth organizations and the army and police force to enable young people to help make positive changes in their communities.
The Prince asked the attendees who had served prison sentences if they had “got into the wrong crowd”, and whether having a group that was “like a gang but more constructive” would have made a difference.
His Royal Highness later held a meeting with politicians and youth leaders in a bid to tackle unemployment among young people and the causes of last year’s riots.
Arfan Naseer, 30, told The Prince the lack of a male role model was the reason he got involved in drug-related crime as a teenager.
Rod Jarman, Chairman of Youth United – a coalition of youth volunteer organisations convened by The Prince of Wales – said more young people could be reached if the number of group leaders increased.
Several Scout leaders attended the meeting, and The Prince agreed that enabling young people to experience different cultures was beneficial to their development: “Being able to take people off to places like Nepal is really helpful,” he said.
Jimmy Mizen was attacked and killed in a shop in Lee, South-East London, trying to avoid a fight the day after his 16th birthday on 10th May 2008. His killer, Jake Fahri, was jailed for life for murder.
Jimmy’s father, Barry, said it was important that The Prince met with teenagers to discuss their issues.
He said: "He has the credibility now that he has come here and spoken to young people.
“He’s had a true reflection of life. It’s not a sad story but there are some issues. With determination we can make some changes and make things a little bit better.”