The mood was a completely different one from when the royal couple visited last year when the community was left dazed by widespread lawlessness.
Prince Charles & Camilla dropped in on Croydon and mingled with local residents, shopkeepers and faith-leaders on 21 September.
A smiling Prince Charles sampled a pint of micro-brewed Cronx Brewery Standard and Camilla accepted a fiery bottle of chilli sauce from the Mad-Ass Chilli Sauce Company. Prince Charles, who has always supported and promoted natural, organic and sustainable food through his Duchy Originals products, took a particular interest in stalls selling locally grown produce.
Earlier in the day the royals were greeted by cheers, claps and the harmonious sounds of a local gospel choir at the Croydon Voluntary Action centre.
After shaking hands with local mayor Eddie Arram and council leader Mike Fisher, the royal couple chatted to colourfully dressed participants in the Festival of Cultures that took place at the weekend.
They also met David Knight, a newly appointed business connector from one of Prince Charles’ charities, Business in the Community, who will help small firms and community projects access funding.
Business connectors were created two years ago when Prince Charles realised that to develop sustained relationships between firms and communities, there needed to be one person in place to ensure things happen.
Prince Charles and the Duchess also met retail queen Mary Portas after Croydon’s Old Town was successfully selected as a Portas pilot town in an effort to spur regeneration there, and visited Matthews Yard, a cafe and small business and community hub set up by 32-year-old entrepreneur Saif Bonar in April this year.
Mr Bonar said: “This area of Croydon suffered dreadfully during the riots but a visit like this shows how far it has come in a short space of time. Local business organisations and the council must work together to keep this momentum going and show the world that this corner of south London is a great place to do business, not to mention live and work.”
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