A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the launch of the National Emergencies Trust

Published 7 November 2019

Whenever and wherever disaster strikes here in the UK, this country has a unique way of pulling together.

The Duke of Cambridge

Thank you Richard.

Catherine and I are very pleased to be here today at the launch of the National Emergencies Trust.

The UK is one of the most generous countries in the world in helping those in need and giving to charity.

We all know the important role that the Disasters Emergency Committee plays in channelling the British public’s extraordinary generosity to respond to disasters overseas.

It is therefore only fitting that a new, national charity is able to fulfil the same function when tragedy strikes at home.

You have heard first hand from Thelma today about her experience in the 7/7 bombings in 2005.

Just now and on previous occasions, it has been humbling to speak to survivors of the London Bridge and Manchester attacks, the Cumbria floods, the Grenfell Tower fire and other disasters here in the UK.

Their stories are as heart-breaking as they are inspiring.

Their resilience and strength are deeply humbling.

In talking to survivors, I’ve always been inspired to hear about the help they were offered by people and organisations acting on their own initiative with immediate and heartfelt compassion.

This empathy is both natural, and remarkable.

Whenever and wherever disaster strikes here in the UK, this country has a unique way of pulling together.

From the people who donate their blood, to the children who empty their piggy banks, to the families that set aside a bedroom in their home.

The way that local communities support those affected shows the very best of our values and human nature.

 But in the wake of tragedy, managing and channelling the public’s desire to help can prove tricky.

I saw this for myself on the ground in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire. I therefore fully support what you are doing here today.

I’m impressed about how willing the charity sector has been to learn the lessons from previous responses, and to ensure that the quickest and most appropriate support is offered to those affected.

I commend the Charity Commission for initiating this work, and all the charities in the voluntary and community sector for coming together so successfully. Your cooperation is admirable. The result is an organisation that you helped to design, that draws on all your strengths, and is warmly welcomed. 

I am very pleased that the National Emergencies Trust now stands ready to provide a structured, organised response to help people right across the UK in the event of a domestic disaster.

Many thanks to the whole team behind the Trust for all their hard work ahead of the launch.

We all dread the day when you are needed.

But I know that, like everyone here, I am glad that you now exist.