On 23rd February 2017, HRH The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO visited the Community Foundation for Surrey and local charity, Leatherhead Youth Project. This was an opportunity for The Earl to hear more about the important work undertaken by both organisations. Leatherhead Youth Project (LYP) hosted the event at All Saints Church in Leatherhead, which the group transformed into their state of the art youth facility in 2005. The Community Foundation hosted His Royal Highness during a previous visit made to coincide with its 5-year anniversary in 2011.
On this special visit, HRH met staff, trustees, donors and groups supported by the Community Foundation for Surrey. By working with donors who want to give back to their local communities, the Community Foundation awards grants to disadvantaged individuals and voluntary groups that provide vital services for people in need. Thanks to the generous and continuing support of their donors, the total figure awarded in grants across Surrey has increased each year with over £1 million being distributed to local communities in 2015/6 alone.
The Earl then met young people and staff associated with Leatherhead Youth Project. This included young people who attend the BFree after school drop-in project, a hub that is open every day for young people aged 11-17. It also included those who benefit from One to One counselling provided by LYP. During his visit, The Earl was served by the Allsaints Coffee Shop team, a group of young apprentices who run the LYP on-site social enterprise enterprise and was taught how to make a cappuccino by Matt Fleming, manager of Allsaints Coffee Shop. Before departing, HRH unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the visit.
The two charities have partnered together for over 10 years, having both formed in 2005. During this time, the Community Foundation has made various strategic grants to support the growth of LYP. This includes supporting the launch of AllSaints Coffee Shop, in 2014.
Joe Crome, General Manager of Leatherhead Youth Project commented:
“We were delighted to host The Earl of Wessex and to share this special event for both organisations. This visit was very special for our young people, and something they will always remember. It has been a chance for them to share what they have gained from their involvement with our youth work programmes and celebrate the personal progress they have made with LYP. It was also a fantastic occasion for our staff and volunteers who very much deserve the recognition they receive for the work they do to help local young people.”
Wendy Varcoe, Executive Director of the Community Foundation for Surrey echoed his comments:
“We are grateful that The Earl of Wessex has returned to see how much we have developed since his last visit. Building stronger communities is at the heart of what we do and over the past decade, we have built a strong relationship with Leatherhead Youth Project. We were glad to share this opportunity with LYP to celebrate what both organisations have achieved with the invaluable help of those around us.”