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Charles bids to curb gang violence

The Prince of Wales is to launch a campaign to boost the numbers of young people helping others in a bid to curb gang violence.

Charles believes that street murders can occur because young people lack structured activities.

In an article in the Mail on Sunday, he says he often reflects on the courage shown by Barry and Margaret Mizen, whose teenage son Jimmy was murdered in 2008.

"The Mizens are convinced - as I have been for the past 40 years - that part of the solution is in providing more structured activities for young people.

"In my opinion, tragedies such as the murder of Barry and Margaret's son are the extreme result of too many young people no longer guided through a rite of passage; young people who would benefit from the guidance and help of organisations such as the Guides, Scouts, cadets and other youth organisations. However, these are all groups which are hampered in their growth by a lack of adult volunteers."

Speaking with the Mizens and members of Families United - a group for parents whose children have been killed by gang violence - made him even more determined to start a long-term leadership campaign.

"This kind of initiative can help to provide a constructive team-based substitute for destructive gang violence, so that no more families like the Mizens should have to suffer such untold misery in the future."

Charles said that this week at Buckingham Palace he would join the leaders of Britain, including the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition, plus 50 young people, to launch a pledge campaign called #iwill through a collaborative youth initiative called Step Up 2 Serve.

Those taking part will pledge to help young people take every opportunity to be of service to others.

"At present, just 29% volunteer regularly, although more may do so informally. The campaign proposes that we should support and inspire 50% of all those aged between 10 and 20 to take part in practical action in the service of others by 2020."

"Young p eople have an immense contribution to make to society, but we are failing to do enough to unlock their talent to help tackle all sorts of challenges," the Prince wrote.

"Young people are the solution to so much and yet, too frequently, they are seen as the problem. In the nearly 40 years that I have been supporting youngsters, many of them have told me they also want the chance to put something back and assist their communities.

"If you think that all over our country there are thousands of lonely old people who need company, younger children who need alternatives to hanging about on street corners, crucial environmental work that needs doing, and local causes that need espousing, it is not difficult to see how any small voluntary contribution can help."


From Belfast Telegraph