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British RoyalsThe Cambridges

Prince William sees impact of local volunteering on visit to North Wales

Photo: Benjamin Wareing

The Duke of Cambridge travelled to North Wales on Thursday to visit Brighter Futures, a consortium of eight groups in Rhyl that encourage people of all ages to engage in community activities and issues.

Brighter Futures’ website notes that the eight local groups “shares equipment, skills and facilities to reduce overall costs, reduce duplication, reduce waste and provide better quality services to meet the needs of our community.”

During his visit, William met with representatives of two Brighter Futures groups: Rhyl Men’s Shed and Rhyl Youth Group. Men’s Shed encourages men in the area to participate in a range of gardening activities as a way to reduce isolation, loneliness, poverty and social exclusion.

William met with volunteers for a woodworking session and discussed the impact of Men’s Shed on the community. He also helped plant an apple tree to mark his visit, and quipped, “Next time I come there will be 300 apples on it.”

He revealed that he hasn’t been much of a gardener, but that he’s going to read Monty Don’s book, at Kate’s urging, so that he can learn and join his father, the Prince of Wales, in the garden.

“My wife does all the gardening. I really like it but I have no idea what I’m doing,” he confessed to the volunteers.

Rhyl Youth Group encourages young people to manage and deliver services to their community as a way to benefit themselves and their peers, and to develop self confidence. William heard about various Youth Group projects, including a sports club, café and tuck shop that saw 150 young people visit its facility every night before the pandemic began last year.

Sixteen-year-old Ellie, a volunteer with the Youth Group, and someone who’s been partaking in activities with Brighter Futures since she was an infant, told reporters about meeting William, “We had a nice chat with him. He’s very down to earth. It was great to see him.”

Kensington Palace notes that during the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, Brighter Futures was played an important role in “supporting isolated and shielding local people by switching to mobile services, which included deliveries of food, PPE, sports and IT equipment, craft materials, and games to help alleviate the effects of the lockdowns.”

“You don’t believe it’s going to happen to you – we’ve been picked and it’s a good thing,” said Stephen Johnson, coordinator and caretaker of Brighter Futures about William’s visit.

“He seemed interested in the community, he wanted to see what’s going on during the pandemic, what’s happened with the community.”

About author

Jess is the Senior Royal Reporter and Editorial Assistant at Royal Central. Her interest in royalty started in her teenage years, coinciding with The Queen's Golden Jubilee in 2002 and grew from there. She specializes in the British Royal Family (with emphasis on the Cambridges) and the Danish Royal Family, and has provided royal commentary for media outlets in Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia.