A speech by The Duke of Cambridge at the October Club 25th anniversary dinner

Published 18 October 2012

St Giles Trust reduces re-offending amongst its clients by 40% off the national norm.

Ladies and Gentleman,

Tonight is an opportunity to celebrate two wonderful institutions.

As we have heard from the Chairman, it is the October Club’s 25th Anniversary. I won’t dwell on the Club’s history, but I would like to say that, in its membership and in what it has achieved - and continues to achieve for so many diverse charities - the October Club represents the very best of the City of London.

I know I speak for all the charities you have helped over the past 25 years when I salute you and thank you for your transformational contribution.

And the other great institution is St Giles Trust, celebrating its half century this year. This charity truly inspires me. It has touched the lives of a quarter of a million people over the past 5 decades. These are people from the margins of society who, thanks to this charity, were able to recover from an appalling start and go on to live successful, productive and positive lives. 250,000 people - it is worth pausing on that statistic for a brief moment.

What started as a small soup kitchen for the homeless and destitute has become one of the leading charities in this country helping ex-offenders to reform, resettle, and critically to break out of the costly and destructive cycle of re-offending.

Before I visited St Giles Trust for the first time in 2009, I wondered how such a relatively small organisation could have made such a difference. Within minutes of meeting the volunteers and staff, and observing their relationship with their clients, I had my answer.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the people at St Giles Trust, who give their lives to helping others people like Junior who will speak to us later are beyond praise. They understand what their clients are going through, because in many cases they have been there themselves. They know what it’s like to have no hope, no path to a better life. It’s because of this that they also know how to restore hope and unlock a better future for those whom they help.

Rob Owen, under whose leadership the St Giles Trust has so flourished, is a former City man himself. Like all good City men, he has given me - a not so numerate military man - a statistic I can understand. St Giles Trust reduces re-offending amongst its clients by 40% off the national norm.

As Patron of St Giles Trust’s 50th Anniversary, I would like to thank the Chairman, the Life President and the Founder Members of the October Club for choosing the charity for your special year. More importantly, I would like to thank you, the members of the October Club, for the difference you will make tonight to so many people, who desperately need your help.

Ladies and Gentlemen, have a wonderful evening.

Thank you.

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