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Young people of The Hive buzzing after Royal visit

14th January 2019 by OnSide

Young Merseysiders had the privilege of meeting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex today (Monday 14thJanuary) when the couple visited The Hive Youth Zone in Birkenhead to see for themselves the amazing impact it has on local people and the wider community.

As part of their first official engagement of 2019, both Harry and Meghan took part in several activities and workshops before unveiling a plaque to mark their visit to an audience of local young people, youth workers and volunteers.

The Hive was created by national charity OnSide Youth Zones, that has developed ten state-of-the-art youth facilities across the UK and is set to open three in London during 2019.

Each centre provides a safe environment for young people to spend their leisure time and develop key skills that help support their aspirations and journey to adulthood.

The Youth Zone opened in Birkenhead during 2017 and is regularly used by over 3,500 young people aged 8 to 19, or up to 25 for those with a disability.

During their visit, the Royal couple learned about The Hive Youth Zone’spositive approach to emotional and mental health wellbeing, an issue close to the Duke of Sussex’s heart.

Youth workers explained how young people are supported and encouraged to engage with each other through positive activities that help build relationships and reduce isolation.

The Royal couple also visited the Youth Zone’s hair, beauty and wellbeing salon, to hear more about the ‘Bee Yourself’ campaign.

The initiative helps build confidence and raise self-esteem through targeted sessions, female only gym and fitness classes, and access to a qualified nurse to discuss personal & mental health issues.

Adam Mellor, Chief Executive Officer at The Hive Youth Zone, said: “It was an amazing experience for the young people to meet the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and have a chance to talk about what being a member of the Youth Zone means to them.

“We are delighted that the royal couple chose to visit us and see how the team here is working hard to change lives in the Birkenhead and Wirral community.

“It was great that they were able to see the work we’re doing as part of the ‘Bee Yourself’ campaign. It celebrates and promotes positive female role models, so meeting The Duchess of Sussex has really inspired our members.”

Alex Toland, a member at The Hive who met the Duchess of Sussex, added: “It was great to meet them, I felt like they could relate to me when I told them about my journey at The Hive, and the way it has helped me to become the person I am today. I’m so thankful that I got the opportunity to tell them how Onside Youth Zones help young people on a daily basis.’’

The Duke of Sussex also spoke passionately about his belief that more OnSide Youth Zones need to open across the country for the benefit of young people.

Prince Harry said: “When every single youth club and youth service is being closed down, they’ve just started something here. The more we can build these the better – especially for you guys.”

The Duke of Sussex has previously shown support for OnSide Youth Zones’ plan to build a network of high-quality youth centres across the UK. He has previously visited Wigan Youth Zone and also addressed the audience at the OnSide Youth Zones Gala Dinner last year, held in the grounds of Kensington Palace and hosted by David Walliams.