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Momentous Royal visit to Hazel Grove

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit XLP Community Bus

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge came to visit Hazel Grove to look at the work carried out by the XLP Community Bus Project. This is an early intervention project for young people that has been working on the estate for the past 7 years. The project aims to support young people with difficulties who are likely to become involved in anti-social activities and gangs.

Friendly youth workers operating from the bus offer a range of drop-in and learning support sessions, sports activities and music making. The goal is to help these young people make wise life-style choices, complete their education, work hard to achieve their ambitions, and better relate to their peers, families, communities, police and teachers. The bus visits Hazel Grove weekly working in partnership with a team of local volunteers from the estate. Various initiatives for Hazel Grove have been funded by the Sydenham Assembly including some projects on the XLP bus particularly the Hazel Intergenerational Filming Project – A Journey In Words and Songs.

I was honoured to present the Royal couple with the Hazel Grove Intergenerational Project album as a memento of their visit. The album contained a DVD and photos of residents showing the collaborative work across the generations. Younger members of the community are involved with performing arts, whilst the older members of the community bring valuable life experience to share with the project. The activities are resident led with the support of the XLP Youth project and Lewisham Homes.

As Chair of the Sydenham Assembly that funded the various projects over recent years it was a proud moment to present the album and talk about the community spirit in Sydenham. I explained the journey of working with residents and how members of the community volunteered to work together to share experiences. The film has been shown several times and is an inspiration to local communities. The Duke and Duchess showed a particular interest in the photos of the community garden led by community leader Jean Beckford.