Following the Duke of Cambridge’s honouring of recipients of the Victoria Cross on Monday morning he traveled across town through Digbeth, Bordsley and out towards Saltley and the East Birmingham Heartlands. We alighted at Saltley school and the expansive sports pitches where the supporters and ambassadors of Football for Peace awaited. The effervescent Cllr Shafique Shah and Hodge Hill MP Liam byrne welcomed everyone to the city of peace.
After penalty kicks everyone went to the assembly hall to be met by the Football for Peace team and founder Kashif Siddiqi who introduced the celebration of the foundation and all that it has achieved from it birmingham beginnings.
Prince William watched matches organised by Football for Peace Ambassadors from the 7 schools in east Birmingham. He also spoke with Head Teachers of the schools and representatives and sponsors of Football for Peace before he presented certificates to the students who have completed the programme.
Before the awards ceremony the Duke was welcomed to this outlying, but warm part of the city. In attendance was also a very welcome and important representative from the United Nations Wilfred Lempke, the special advisor for sport. Mr Lempke was full of admiration and praise for FforP from its beginnings in Birmingham. This excellent model that works with marginalised communities should be taken across the world to encourage people of all backgrounds to aspire to be footballing greats.
Football for peace awards
Each year since 2013 The Duke has visited the city for organisations focused on bringing diverse communities together and supporting the youth young people. FfP Global is a pilot project, supported by Birmingham City Council that brings together youth from different backgrounds, schools and cultures, using football as a focus for dialogue between all.
The Prince then traveled on to the Diana awards in Bournville College across the city in the regenerated Longbridge, the home of mass car manufacture for the last 100 years since the Austin was established.
The Duke heard how The Diana Award for anti-bulling campaign is helping young people with issues of difference and diversity. Prince William’s recent work with the Diana Award is bringing to light how bullying affects a child’s mental health. The focus of this visit highlighted the message of “we are all different, but together we are one.”
Recent research released by the Diana Award revealed a quarter of young people don’t feel safe at school. As part of the programme, young people take part in workshops examining issues such as feeling safe and diversity. The young anti-bulling ambassadors, supported by Diana Award holders, will have the ability to set up a year-long social action project in their communities that create a safer, bully-free environment that celebrates diversity. There are over 16,000 Anti-Bullying Ambassadors who have been trained in 3,000 school across the UK and Ireland by The Diana Award.
Created in memory of William’s mother Diana, Princess of Wales, The Diana Award keeps her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better alive.
The High Sheriff, The Lord Mayor and their consorts were shown round the college and were particularly interested in the refurbished art studios where young people were studying a range of arts subjects inc photography, design, embroidery, printmaking.
Many thanks to our Driver Gerry for the day who was a font of knowledge about Longbridge and the history of car manufacturing having been employed at the plant for 30 years before it finally came to a close with the end of MG Rover in 2005.
Later in the day, Prince William visited St. Basils in Sandwell. The Prince has visited St. Basils centres on two previous occasions in 2013 and in 2014. The charity helps homeless youth and those at risk of becoming homeless in the West Midlands.
William visited the “Live and Work” partnership between St. Basils and a local NHS Trust. The partnership is a community response to youth homelessness and creates affordable shared accommodation and apprenticeship opportunities with the West Birmingham and Sandwell NHS Trusts. Twenty-seven Apprenticeships at the NHS Trust are set up for the homeless young people and a block of apartments now provide on-site shared accommodations for the apprentices. A main benefit of the scheme is that apprentices are able to live benefit free, this has been created so that young people are able to live and work without relying on welfare benefits.
Prince William is patron of Centrepoint, one of the charities that works in partnership with St. Basils as part of the campaign to ‘End Youth Homelessness.’ The alliance that includes many other groups works to bring attention and advise the government on what causes youth homelessness and what can be done to stop it.