Published 6 November 2008

Our visits with our mother ignited a deep and growing interest for the great work the charity does for the homeless.

The Duke of Cambridge

Good evening everyone.   It is wonderful that so many of you were able to come here tonight to launch Centrepoint’s 40th anniversary year - and, thanks to HSBC’s generosity, in such great surroundings.

It is especially good to see so many valued donors and supporters who enable Centrepoint to do the great work that it does. Also a huge welcome to the staff and volunteers who make it all happen. And, of course, particularly good to see here some of the young people living with Centrepoint.

If I may I would just like to reiterate what Michael said. This anniversary marks 40 years of extraordinary service to our society by a remarkable organisation. It is not a celebration, for there is still so much to do.

But it is a magnificent and momentous milestone. Typically, those at Centrepoint are treating it as an opportunity, honouring what the charity has achieved, but laying foundations for the years to come.

I feel very closely linked to Centrepoint. It is a charity with which both my mother and father became passionately involved. Indeed, it was while my mother was Patron that Harry and I had our first contact with Centrepoint.

I was much younger, better looking and more naive back then!  But it began to open my eyes to the world that so many young London people face. Our visits with our mother ignited a deep and growing interest for the great work the charity does for the homeless.

That example of selfless service that Centrepoint represents has stayed with me, and that is why it was the first charity that I wanted to be associated with. Since becoming Patron, I have been privileged to witness at first hand, and with the utmost admiration, the great work of its volunteers.

But I have seen something else too: the extraordinary courage of so many of Centrepoint’s young people in rising to meet such seemingly insurmountable challenges in their lives. I count myself enormously privileged to be associated with such individuals, and with such an organisation as this.

But that’s enough from me. Far better to hear something of what it is actually like to be homeless, and to have to confront these challenges every day. It is a privilege, therefore, for me to introduce Samia. She has been helped by Centrepoint, but far more importantly, she has done so much to help herself. Samia …