Prince Harry ‘plays air guitar’ and serves up food during visit to Harlesden youth centre
- Credit: PA
Prince Harry took a break from wedding planning to play air guitar, hockey and to serve up food to teenagers at a Harlesden youth centre.
The 33-year-old royal, who was without fiancee Meghan Markle during his visit to the Roundwood Youth Centre, in Longstone Avenue, today, was hailed as a “a champion” who “understands and gets it” as he chatted with youngsters, staff, and volunteers.
The Prince, who is fifth in line to the throne, said that more needs to be done to support youth centres helping disadvantaged young people as he visited the centre in Brent, which is the only one remaining after the council slashed funding to youth services as part of its budget cuts in 2016.
He joined in activities such as handball and exercises organised by the Fit and Fed campaign, run by sport network StreetGames, which aims to provide children and teenagers with free activities and a healthy lunch during school holidays.
He had been welcomed to the centre by the St Michael and All Angel’s Youth Steel band, based in Harlesden.
One child played him the air guitar and gave him a big thumbs up. “I wanted to see him,” he said.
Another added: “I think he was a champion.”
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Nary Wijeratne, founder of charity Sport at Heart, said: “I feel like he understood, he got it, he got what communities need these days.He understands the power of these events, sessions and programmes and how they bring different people together. He spoke of the importance of community buildings for community use and how important it was for these children to have access to these activities.”
Jennifer Parris-Buckley, youth leader at the Roundwood, added: “It’s touching for us and staff volunteers, that royalty can come to a venue like this. He’s got a very busy schedule planning his wedding.
Jane Ashworth OBE, ceo of StreetGames, said: “It was noticable how good Prince Harry is with the little ‘uns. He was playing air guitar and gave chase to one of them who pushed him for fun. He was very good at putting people at ease, asking about their jobs.
Cllr Mili Patel, lead member for children and young people at Brent Council, said: “Fit and Fed sessions provide a vital service which I’m grateful to the Prince for highlighting by his visit today.
Brent is in one of the top 15 per cent most deprived areas in the country, with more than half of attendees of the holiday programmes eligible for free school meals.
“This week alone during half term, there will be 50 children aged 5-13 attending the project every day, as well as opportunities for young people aged 14-25 to volunteer and receive training,” said Cllr Patel.