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HRH The Princess Royal meets Young Offenders in North Kensington

Young offenders and Royalty are not the two types of people likely to be getting to know each other over a cup of tea… Well, today the two came together as Princess Anne, known for her charitable work, made a public appearance at the unveiling of her plaque at the ‘Young Offenders Team’ centre in Oxford Gardens, W11. The centre aims to show the young offenders the repercussions by forms of community ‘Payback’ such as community service and to also bring young offenders to talk to the victims of their crimes, to see the affect of their crime and the wider picture. Speaking to a young ex-offender named TJ, earlier convicted of robbery, whose response to the question of what he would be doing without the Youth Offenders Team was “if YOT wasn’t around I would probably be in prison”. Instead he was doing well with football. I’d say that’s a quite a bleak outlook to have and if this kind of centre can change someone’s prospects from behind bars to being on a football pitch then shouldn’t there be more of them and more high profile individuals like The Princess showing their support to them? Does seem like it.

The type of ‘Payback’ the young person must do is decided by a panel of volunteers from the community. Dawn, a panel member in her second year of studying Youth Justice said the role was about “getting to know the person”. Additionally, Nicky Gunter, Preventions Manager described it was that both victim and offender should be given “the chance to be heard” and maybe all that is needed for young offenders is for someone to listen to them to show that not everyone expects them to go down the same path over and over again.

After speaking to many of the victims of crimes and offenders involved at the centre, the Princess made a short speech at the unveiling of the plaque where she acknowledged that the Centre had “set an example of which one or two would like to follow”.

Text by: Hannah Mckellar-Ricketts (on work experience with The Kensington Magazine)
Images and copyright: Lucy Elliott/The Kensington Magazine

Images: Left to right:

Top: HRH The Princess Royal, Patron of the Restorative Justice Council with Betty McDonald Head of Service; HRH Princess Royal.

Centre:  Mayor of Kensington & Chelsea, Councillor Julie Mills with ‘TJ’, Mr Graham Robb, Restorative Council Justice Trustee

Third line: Julie Mills; Grace Fredricks, Reparation Co-ordinator at the Youth Offending Service with Community Police Carlos Husbands and Helen Tilbury

www.thekensingtonmagazine.com

 

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