Leading policy makers for the Prince’s Trust, a British charity that helps young people aged 14-30, visited London’s Bhaktivedanta Manor on April 11.
Formed by Prince Charles of Wales in 1976, the charity provides training, business start-up support, and ongoing mentoring and advice to young people who would benefit from additional help.
The charity has grown in size and capability over the past thirty years, and has to date helped around half a million youngsters – mainly those who were educational underachievers, unemployed, youth offenders or previously in institutional care. The results of the extra care have changed lives, and the UK government have taken up some of the ideas of the Prince’s Trust as national policy.
Kripamoya Dasa took the policy makers on a tour of the Manor, Srila Prabhupada’s rooms, and the grounds, then gave them a ride by ox-cart to the temple’s farm. Back at the temple, they took in a short yoga and breathing class, before asking Kripamoya questions on the application of spirituality in helping others.
“Vaishnava teachings have a lot to say about how young people can remain healthy and mentally positive, free from the anxieties and depression that plague so many,” says Kripamoya.
He adds, “Even just a few simple ideas on health, diet, rising early, remaining free from sensual distraction, meditation, service to others, restraint, and useful employment within a community could change the fortunes of many young people in Britain.”
Over lunch, two of the policy makers – one a Major in the British Army, the other a campaign organizer – talked with Kripamoya about their Trust’s Team Programme, a 12-week personal development course which offers practical skills and engagement in worthwhile community projects.
“They were interested in how spirituality might be added to a scheme of personal development for those in their important youthful years,” Kripamoya says.
The Trust’s visit follows a visit by Prince Charles himself to the Tolcarne organic farmers’ market in Cornwall, run by Hare Krishna devotee Dhirashanta Dasa. There the Prince of Wales, who takes a keen interest in home-made produce, was photographed taking a bite of a home-made burfi sweet prepared by Krishna devotees.