London riots: Charles and Camilla hear victims' tales


The couple talked to those made homeless, to the emergency services and others affected by the disturbances

The Prince of Wales has spoken about the "sheer terror" faced by people affected by the riots in London.

The prince and the Duchess of Cornwall have visited areas in London hit by recent violence and looting.

The royals began their tour of the capital in Tottenham and then went to Hackney, Lambeth and Croydon.

In Croydon he said he was pleased the Prince's Trust was able to get involved in helping young people escape gang culture.

The prince said many of the people whose homes and businesses were damaged by the riots still felt an unease about what was to come next.

'Cry for help'

But he said there were many "wonderful characters" doing fantastic work.

Start Quote

It's not going to bring back their houses and everything they've lost, but it is recognition”

End Quote Haley Jackson

The prince spoke about the problem of gang culture, saying one way of tackling it was through building young people's self confidence and self esteem.

This echoed comments made earlier in the day in north London where he said the lack of extra curricular activities in schools was a problem.

The prince said: "I still think half the problem is that people join gangs because it is a cry for help, the fact they're looking for a framework, a sense of belonging, and a meaning.

"What's been so lacking is that sort of opportunity to allow people to be motivated and encouraged, and frankly exhausted because that's what you really want at that age."

Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall speak to youth ambassadors at the Fairbridge Prince's Trust centre in Hackney The royal couple talked to youth ambassadors in Hackney

The prince also renewed calls for a national community service scheme for young people.

The royal couple's visit came as it was announced Tottenham and Croydon would get £20m from the government for repairs and to help kick-start their economies.

Charles and Camilla broke off their summer holiday in Scotland for the visit.

They first visited Tottenham Leisure Centre where donations, such as clothes, bedding and toys, for those made homeless through the violence have been collected.

Rioting broke out in the north London area on 6 August, following a demonstration over the police shooting of a local man, Mark Duggan, two days earlier.

The violence destroyed many shops and flats on the main road and left about 200 people homeless.

Riot-hit Tottenham and Croydon are to receive £20m to kick-start economic growth and recovery

Among those to meet the royals was Barbara Bereda-Malik, 45, and her husband Omar Malik, 47, whose flat above the Carpetright store was completely destroyed in a huge blaze.

After meeting the prince, Mrs Bereda-Malik said: "It was really nice to see him and see they're concerned about our situation."

Mr Malik, a cab driver, said the council-coordinated support at the centre had been "amazing".

He added: "But at the end of the day we've got this trauma that we've been through. We are living in limbo now and it's very stressful."

Haley Jackson, a 23-year-old dance instructor, managed to shake hands with the prince as she and some friends delivered clothes, shoes and toiletries to the leisure centre.

She said: "It's not going to bring back their houses and everything they've lost, but it is recognition."

'People want change'

Youth worker Dymond Allen, 33, also greeted Prince Charles as he arrived, and said afterwards: "I think it's showing that there is some type of empathy there.

"But realistically I think the people want more change. They don't want to be sitting down talking, they want more action."

Earlier, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles announced the £20m fund to be shared between Tottenham and Croydon.

He said Mayor of London Boris Johnson would work with the boroughs to develop plans that may include redeveloping land for commercial use, improving transport infrastructure in Tottenham and establishing Croydon as a retail centre.

The money is in addition to £50m of recovery funding announced by the mayor last week to help areas hit by the disturbances.

The Prince's Trust said it was urging businesses to raise a further £1.5m to help young people in Manchester, Birmingham, Hackney, Tottenham and Croydon, who have been affected by the violence.

It has already raised £1m for the cause.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    The fact the Royals visited will mean a great deal to a large number of people. The visit shows there are common goals to both the Royals as well as the general public in that they want to encourage the rebuilding. It forms a community and that is what is important. Hopefully people at the heart of this in rebuiliding a community will come closer and riots wiill be stopped before they are started.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    I can understand that empathy can make people who have suffered feel ever so slightly better. However, I don't quite understand why the empathy of the royal family is so gladly received. Good old Charlie and Chamilla are from completely different 'worlds' to the people who live in the affected areas and the idea that they can in any way empathise with the situation is absurd.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    What wonderful news - I do take it of course that the royal couple are there to invite some of those made homeless to make use of some of their surplus accommodation whilst rebuilding takes place.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    The Royal Family work hard for the interests of Great Britain. If you think they don't do anything that reflects your ignorance, not their lack of contribution.

    It is good to see the Royal Family visiting these areas, the people there need all the love and help they can get, and this is a reminder the whole country supports and sympathises with them.


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