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Prince Charles makes permanent base in Burnley
PRINCE Charles is set to reaffirm his commitment to Burnley by setting up a permanent base for his charites in the town.
Charity officials are in talks with council bosses over siting a new Prince’s Trust Centre in the Weavers’ Triangle, the Lancashire Telegraph can reveal.
The Prince of Wales chaired a regeneration summit in the former cotton heartland as part of Wednesday’s Royal tour - and he is expected to return to the town soon.
And if negotiations are successful, a new centre for disadvantaged 13 to 25 year olds will take shape at the same complex.
It would be the first of its kind in Lancashire and offer a new start to young people who may be unemployed, homeless or have drug and alcohol problems.
Currently the centres are only based in large cities and offer long-term support to help people back into education or employment.
Council leader Coun Julie Cooper said: “I did get the chance to speak to Prince Charles briefly and it is amazing how Burnley remains at the top of his list.
“The Prince really does have a great fondness for the town and he will be back again soon, from what he was saying.
“The more investment we can get into Burnley the better and once we start attracting things to the Weavers’ Triangle then more will follow.”
Former mayor Coun David Heginbotham, who welcomed the royal party to the borough, said: “I am all in favour of this - I know that the Prince is very ambitious for Burnley.
“The Prince is very well connected and for everything that he can bring to Burnley we should be grateful. I think in a couple of years time people will see real changes at Weavers’ Triangle.”
Wednesday was just the latest in a series of visits to Burnley made by the Prince of Wales. He has already spoken of his fondness for the town and his support of Burnley FC.
In 2009 he even said the town was ‘his number one priority’ and ordered his flagship charity to help change the lives of hundreds of Burnley youngsters.
The Prince’s Trust has been heavily involved in a four-year effort to rejuvenate the borough but has never had a base of its own in the town.
Prince Charles spoke specifically of his passion for the Weaver’s Triangle on Wednesday.
He said: “If you talk to people on the ground then they are particularly keen to convert these old buildings and see a new use for them.
“To knock these buildings down is unsustainable because of the embodied energy that is within them.”
The new Prince’s Trust centre would host the Fairbridge programme, which begins with a five-day access course, enabling youngsters to try their hand at the likes of rock climbing and music production.
Recruits can stay with the programme for as long as necessary but there are strict ground rules banning involvement in drugs, alcohol and violence.
A Prince’s Trust spokesman confirmed that the centre plans were in the ‘early stages’ and ‘a number of different options were being explored’.
Victoria Mill in the Weaver’s Triangle will be home to the new university technical college and Prince Charles was shown artists impressions of the project, where work is set to begin soon.
But it is the Weavers’ Triangle proposals, a potential neighbour of the new university technical college, which have captured the imagination of townsfolk.
Charles hosted a conference entitled ‘Making a Difference’, in Victoria Mill, Trafalgar Street, during the second leg of his visit.
Invited were delegates from Burnley, Redcar, Burslem, East Ayrshire, Tottenham and Llandovery - all areas the Prince has taken a keen interest in.
Regeneration officials swapped ideas on the best ways of reviving the fortunes of challenging communities and renovating forgotten landmarks - such as Burnley’s redundant mills.
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