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Thursday, December 4, 1997 Published at 18:26 GMT


Prince boosts youth training scheme
image: [ Charles meets Clive Harold, an old school chum who now sells the Big Issue ]
Charles meets Clive Harold, an old school chum who now sells the Big Issue

The Prince of Wales has welcomed recognition of his scheme to provide community service training for young people - and appealed to business leaders to "join us and see what it's like".

Later he bumped into an old school friend from 40 years ago who is now selling the Big Issue magazine for the homeless.

The Prince was speaking during a day of engagements focused on the role business can play in helping disadvantaged young people.

The Government has been talking to the Prince's Trust Volunteers about possible participation in its youth training programme.

In an address in the City of London to private and public sector bosses, Charles called on them to support a major expansion of the Prince's Trust Volunteers programme.

This has benefited 25,000 young people - mainly unemployed, but some seconded by employers - since he had the idea 13 years ago.

Now it is set to grow to take 25,000 participants every year by the millennium, including 5,000 a year in London.

The Prince said he was pleased to announce that a number of new bosses had committed themselves to sending their young employees on the Volunteers programme in London.

They included airports operator BAA, Barclays Bank, Carphone Warehouse, Manpower, Post Office Counters, the Prison Service, Government Office for London and the London boroughs of Merton and Newham.

[ image: The scheme is set  to take 25,000 participants into training every year]
The scheme is set to take 25,000 participants into training every year
"I am also delighted that the Government has been talking to my Trust about its possible participation in the New Deal programme," he said.

"In fact, it is even rumoured that the Employment Service sees the Prince's Trust Volunteers as a `market leader'. We are now looking forward to finalising exactly how we can help in this area."

Later the Prince visited the offices of the Big Issue, a magazine sold by the homeless, and came face to face with an old schoolmate, Clive Harold.

Charles appeared taken aback when Harold said he had attended London's Hill House School with the Prince 44 years ago.

"The Prince did not remember me, of course, and I only remember him because we both had big ears and because he was obviously well-known there," said Harold, 49, who told Charles his life started falling apart about 10 years ago.

"For a while I slept on the Strand but now I'm getting my confidence back with the help of the Big Issue," he added.

The Prince signed a copy of the Big Issue for Harold, patted him on the back and wished him good luck, saying: "As long as you're all right, that's the main thing."

The Big Issue editor, John Bird, said later: "The Prince told me as he left 'It just shows you, doesn't it?' "

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