Wigan group's excitement at royal visit

A Wigan not-for-profit group helping young people with additional needs will be upstanding for royalty when Prince Edward visits next month.

Thursday, 17th October 2019, 12:21 pm
Cafe manager Julie Gaskell, left, with staff at The Nest Cafe, part of The Hamlet, at Three Sisters

The Hamlet will welcome its high-profile visitor to its Bryn site on November 7 for an event that will also double as the facility’s grand opening just over 12 months after it started.

The organisation, based at the formerly-derelict rangers’ base at the Three Sisters Recreation Area which has now been completely renovated and transformed, helps people with additional needs take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

And it is that work which has put the venue on the royal radar, with the Earl of Wessex making the short trip to Wigan while also attending a Duke of Edinburgh related event in Manchester that day.

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The team at The Hamlet spoke of their pride at a member of the royal family recognising their work in such a short space of time.

Head of provision Gemma Crompton said: “It will be a privilege to welcome the Earl of Wessex to see the fantastic work of the young people in achieving the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

“I’m very passionate about what the award offers young people.

“It is extremely meaningful in their lives and gives them a lot of skills for the future as well as getting them out in the community and providing a wealth of opportunities.

“It is a massive achievement for us to have a royal visit. The young people are so worthy of this visit for all the work they have put into what they do.”

The Hamlet was nominated for the honour of a royal visit by the north’s regional manager for the Duke of Edinburgh, with the place being seen as a Beacon Centre for its work with people who have additional needs.

Gemma and her team have put a lot of work into adapting the award so it is possible for The Hamlet’s service users to complete the four elements involved: skill, physical, volunteering and expedition.

The organisation is planning to pull out all the stops for the royal visit, with an afternoon tea in a large marquee for everyone who has been part of its journey so far.

Prince Edward will also unveil a plaque which has been made by the young people.

The old rangers’ site is now unrecognisable from its previous use as it hosts a cafe which is open to the public and Lakeside Printing which creates personalised gifts.

Both are intended to give the young people, aged 19 to 25, skills which they can use to get into the workplace.

The Hamlet has been launched by Hope School and College in Marus Bridge and received a £50,000 grant from Enovert Community Trust for the refurbishment work to be done.