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Earl of Wessex meets community volunteers from across Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 09:17 14 May 2018 | UPDATED: 09:17 14 May 2018

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin, Bishop Martin Seeley and CEO Ipswich Borough Russell Williams were among those who attended the visit. Picture: SIMON LEE

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin, Bishop Martin Seeley and CEO Ipswich Borough Russell Williams were among those who attended the visit. Picture: SIMON LEE

Simon Lee Photography

Prince Edward joined the groups at the new HQ for Birketts on Princes Street.

The Earl meeting the grants teams from Suffolk Community Foundation and Birketts . Picture SIMON LEE The Earl meeting the grants teams from Suffolk Community Foundation and Birketts . Picture SIMON LEE

The Earl does a lot of work with young people through his own trust the Wessex Youth Trust and since 2015 he has been the chairman of the trustees of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award Foundation.

Youth volunteering in Suffolk is said to be struggling to reach above half the national average.

A national survey on youth social action in 2017 found that around 40% of youngsters took part in some form of meaningful social action, in Suffolk this number is about 20%.

The visit involved a number of local voluntary groups who spoke about what they are doing to change these figures.

Inspire Suffolk were among the groups who attended the event. Picture: SIMON LEE Inspire Suffolk were among the groups who attended the event. Picture: SIMON LEE

Ipswich Community Media, the Porch Project, the Bangladeshi Support Centre, Inspire Suffolk, 4YP and Access Community Trust all attended the event.

The Earl spoke to the groups about their work, answering questions and meeting with youngsters who had been helped by the projects.

One of those asking the Earl questions was Ionathan Tannasa from Ipswich Community Media.

Ionathan asked the Earl whether he enjoyed singing in the shower which the Earl admitted that he did.

The Earl of Wessex meets Ionathan Tannasa from Ipswich Community Media. Picture: SIMON LEE The Earl of Wessex meets Ionathan Tannasa from Ipswich Community Media. Picture: SIMON LEE

Amongst the other guests attending the royal visit were Ipswich Mayor Sarah Barber and Ipswich MP Sandy Martin.

Jonathan Agar, the chief executive officer at Birketts said:“We are delighted that our first event at our new office in Ipswich is one which is able to shine a light and support the work of our local voluntary sector.

“It has been an absolute privilege for Birketts to be part of such a special event.”

The Earl’s visit to the county was co-ordinated by the Suffolk Community Foundation (SCF) who help to organise charity fundraising across Suffolk.

The Earl of Wessex spoke with guests Linda and Steve Wooldridge and Clive Emerson . Picture: SIMON LEE The Earl of Wessex spoke with guests Linda and Steve Wooldridge and Clive Emerson . Picture: SIMON LEE

Tim Holder, the head of public affairs for the community foundation said: “Here today we have had representatives from the public sector, business people, private philanthropists and many experts who, as they join forces on a daily basis, support young people to blossom and become the very best that they can be, no matter how hard the challenges that they experience in their lives.”

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