You are here: Royal visits for two Youth Music projects

Young presenters impress Harry and Meghan

Reprezent has been making waves internationally with its youth-led approach to radio programming. The royal couple spent their afternoon meeting the young presenters and chatting with staff, trainees and volunteers.

DJ and presenter Glory, 17, who takes part in the Specialists project, came in for praise from Meghan, who said: “I can see why your show’s so popular because you’re so thoughtful in your approach and so engaging to listen to.”

After the visit Glory said: “Having both of them in one room trying to talk to you and having interest in the station, how it works, the relationship between everyone, it’s just so amazing.”

YV Shells, 24, another DJ who’s part of the Specialists training programme, described the couple as “so cool, so down to earth”, and said: “I couldn’t believe it when Meghan spoke to me and said she’d heard about my work on gender equality.”

Since being founded in 2008, the community radio station has helped thousands of young people in challenging circumstances to develop their skills and access further training or employment.

Speaking before the visit, presenter Henrietta, 22, explained the impact that getting involved with Reprezent has had for her. “Around the age of 16 to 19, everybody faces stuff, but for me it was on a ridiculous level.

Without Reprezent, I wouldn’t be able to speak to people the way I can now, and be as open and as fun-loving as I am today. I can do so many things now, technically and socially – it’s opened up a whole new world for me.

Coventry crew wow Wills and Kate

On their visit to Coventry, Prince William and Kate Middleton met staff from Positive Youth Foundation and more than 20 young people that the organisation has supported.

Lauran, 15, was part of a group discussion with the Duchess on young people’s mental health. She said: “It was just like a dream come true. It was so good to be able to speak to Kate, because I know mental health is a cause that they are very passionate about.”

William chatted with a group about their musical tastes – and revealed some of his own favourites (Linkin Park, Coldplay, Eminem) – before the Duke and Duchess enjoyed a music and dance performance by young people from the Changing Trax project, which Youth Music has funded since 2013.

Prince William meets young people from Positive Youth Foundation

Sibby, 19, who led the singing, said Kate enjoyed what she saw. “She said, ‘You’ve got great confidence and that was really special and you commanded the stage.’ I thought, ‘Oh, my goodness!’”

Sophia, 18, said it was “phenomenal” singing for the couple. “As soon as they walked in I felt my heart beating really fast. When we spoke to her, it was just a breath of fresh air. They’re both so lovely and down-to-earth and I wasn’t expecting that. I was expecting them to be lovely but not for them to speak to us so much.”

Development Manager Susie Murphy added: “Our long-standing relationship with Youth Music has been a critical element of support for our cultural offer. Our royal visitors witnessed first-hand the power of music in supporting young people through a range of challenges and circumstances.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton in group with Positive Youth Foundation team

Positive Youth Foundation has worked with thousands of young people in the city – including newly-arrived asylum seekers and refugees – and has helped Coventry to become a multicultural role model for other cities.

Positive Youth Foundation CEO Rashid Bhayat said the visit was a great opportunity to showcase the crucial work being undertaken by the organisation and the wider youth work sector.

He said: “The royal couple were so engaged with what our young people had to say and they really seemed to enjoy finding out about everything that we do. The young people deserved this opportunity to tell their stories and to meet the Duke and Duchess and there was great energy in the room.”

Matt Griffiths
Matt Griffiths. Photo by Harvey Aspell.

Youth Music CEO Matt Griffiths, who attended the Reprezent visit, said: “It’s been great to have both royal couples visit music projects supported by us. Their visits have underscored the important role music plays in young people’s development. The projects we support bring hope and a new future to many young people facing difficult challenges.

We’re delighted that the royal couples have taken the time to see first-hand how music-making helps young people to discover their creativity and develop a wealth of valuable new skills.

Positive Youth Foundation young musicians onstage

Positive Youth Foundation

Read more about the showcase event for the Changing Trax project, and how young people took centre stage in Coventry’s UK City of Culture bid.