The Prince of Wales was quizzed on his bank balance – and on his hairstyle – by young people during a visit to Manchester’s Moss Side today.
The Prince’s Royal Foundation and the Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, donated £50,000 each to support the work of the Manchester Peace Together Alliance, a community-led programme working to source and address the underlying causes of youth violence.
While speaking with some of the youngsters at Hideaway Young Project, William met 11-year-old Amir Hassan who made him laugh when asking, “how much do you have in your bank account?”
The schoolboy said afterwards that William replied he “didn’t know”.
The future King was asked whether he wanted to join the art project, where the children were cutting out hairstyles they thought were empowering and positive, and replied “I’m literally the last person you should ask. My hair is disappearing.”
The prince also briefly joined a game of pool and produced groans from the watching guests when he twice failed to pot a yellow ball.
The £100,000 worth of funding will be used to create an employment, skills and training programme for young people at risk of violence over a three-year period.
Claim of sexual assault in police custody will be independently reviewed, says Greater Manchester mayor
Andy Burnham fined and given six penalty points for speeding on M62
Matt Hancock ‘better at Bushtucker trials than clinical trials’, Andy Burnham says
Companies in the private sector have pledged to provide work shadowing and apprenticeships for young people.
Mr Burnham said: “The city is succeeding in many ways. The community is still strong, what we haven’t got yet are the paths for people so that they can see the opportunities out there and then get that support.
“Be it educational support, or personal support to make their way towards taking up those opportunities. And for me, this is absolutely about the next chapter of Greater Manchester.”
He added that William’s attendance was “timely” after a request was made to the prince during a garden party last year, and that he had “given this community the recognition it deserves”.
William also met some mothers who had lost children to violence, including Audrey Preston, 57, whose 21-year-old son was killed three years ago.
She said: “I think it’s important he came into Moss Side to listen to our stories. When I was told he was coming I thought ‘wow, why would he want to come and listen to me?’.
“Lots of kids get murdered in this area and nobody cares really about the families, we’re just left to our own devices, so it’s good he came, good for the community.”
Later, William made a short trip locally to visit the Moss Side Millennium Powerhouse, a community hub with sports facilities and a library.
William kept his promise to visit after being invited in May by Wendy Simms, a member of the local Rastafarian community. She met the prince at a Buckingham Palace garden party where she was attending as a guest in recognition of her work founding and running a local food bank Keeping It Real 24/7 in Moss Side.
William donated his own basket of food of cultural importance to Jamaicans, including okra, yams and dragon fruit.
William’s Royal Foundation will also provide £25,000 to the Hideaway Youth Project, helping to fund much-needed IT equipment and the refurbishment of a recording studio.
Julie Wharton, director at the Hideaway Youth Project and a senior member of the Alliance, said that everyone at the alliance was “absolutely delighted by the initiative being launched today”.
Later in the day, the prince paid his respects at Jessie’s Wall, a memorial outside the centre to Jessie James, of a 15-year-old victim who was shot and murdered in 2006.
After meeting Jessie’s mother, Barbara Reid, as well as other family members and friends, Ms Reid read a statement to William beside the memorial thanking him for his support, and “to make a stand for justice”.
Dozens of wellwishers later helped give William a raucous send-off, with the prince shaking hands and posing for selfies before leaving.