A speech by Prince William to mark 40 years of the youth homelessness charity Centrepoint

Published 12 March 2009

It is for them that Centrepoint represents the difference between misery and dejection and a sense of hope and renewed self confidence.

The Duke of Cambridge

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is a huge pleasure to welcome you tonight to St. James’s Palace to mark Centrepoint’s 40 years of extraordinary service to young homeless people.

In a way it seems rather odd, us sitting here surrounded by all this finery, when one considers the driving purpose of this great charity. But actually I think, just this once, it is appropriate. For this is a celebration.

I know Michael and Seyi would say homelessness is not something to celebrate but tonight I am going to, because for forty years, thousands of young people have, in their own individual way, had cause to celebrate the fact that Centrepoint exists.

So - apologies - I for one join with them in celebrating the great good that Centrepoint does – and my extreme good fortune in being its Patron.

My brother and I were lucky enough to grow up supported by the love and nurturing of our family. They saw to our education, our health, our well-being, and every other need. So many young people have none of this. It is for them that Centrepoint represents the difference between misery and dejection and a sense of hope and renewed self confidence.

Whenever I have had the privilege of working alongside staff at Centrepoint and meeting its young people, I have come away uplifted by the sense of purpose, the dedication, and just the feeling that one is part of a family. As I have said, that is simply irreplaceable.

I am now going to hand over to Emilyn Hutchinson, who was, herself, until recently a resident of Centrepoint - and who is far better equipped to talk about the amazing work that Centrepoint does for young homeless people than I am. All there is let for me to say now, Centrepoint and Centrepointers – is: Happy 40th Anniversary, and I hope you all have a wonderful evening.