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Prince Harry visits struggling youth sports centre in Leicester

After meeting primary school-aged children and learning about the services provided by Leicestershire’s AIDS charity, LASS, Prince Harry attended his final event in Leicester yesterday. He went to the Southfields Drive Sports Centre on the Saffron Lane Estate and met kids participating in the Pink Lizard Youth group.

Pink Lizard helps children in this deprived area of Nottinghamshire gain confidence and self-esteem through sport. Because of council cuts, the Southfields Drive Sports centre is threatened with closure. Harry encouraged the kids to go out and seek funding for better services.

The Prince showed off his athletic skills, playing football with the kids at the centre before chatting with the kids on the inter-war housing estate about their lives and problems.

The Prince asked: “Who here got themselves into trouble?” Around 20 youth raised their hands.

Harry speaks to the children at the Pink Lizard yesterday. Photo: @KensingtonRoyal/Twitter

“Who here is a roughneck?” he asked as he looked to the local dignitaries; this made the kids laugh.

The youth told His Royal Highness about how there is not much to do in their neighbourhood. There is crime, cuts to schools and groups like the Pink Lizard. Harry said to The Express: “It is ridiculous because these small organisations are the ones that are making the biggest difference.

“You’ve just got to have that support – and that belief to have someone out there saying because you’re good you can go out there and do what you can.”

After the youth had performed a song for him, Harry encouraged them not to give up or lose hope and to be proactive in creating change in their neighbourhoods. He spoke of other cities along with Nottingham where groups had gone out independently and received funding for centres that have music studios, sports complexes, hair salons and other facilities in them. They had done this all on their own.

He said: “The gaping hole you are talking about, other cities have filled with funding.”

Ady Hinds, managing director of Pink Lizard, told The Express that he hoped the Prince’s visit would bring in extra funding for the area. He said: “He’s the man. He’s smooth.”

Tendai Daire, 21, who partnered Harry in the football, was equally impressed. “He had good skills. He is a really humble guy,” the social work student said.

Tendai’s family is originally from Zimbabwe. They emigrated to the UK 13 years ago. He spoke of the difficulties he faced when first coming to the UK and then of the benefits of utilising the community sport on the Saffron Lane Estate.

“When we first moved here, it wasn’t a good time. Our house was getting egged every day. People didn’t know us, but then as we got involved, it stopped.”

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