The Duke of Cambridge launched the first Centrepoint Awards ceremony last week.
The event celebrated the achievements of Centrepoint young people who have changed the direction of their lives after experiencing homelessness.
The Centrepoint Awards will be an annual event, highlighting the impact of the charity’s wider work, which includes providing young people with support in tackling physical and mental health problems and finding a job or route back into education.
His Royal Highness became Patron of Centrepoint in 2005, making the charity his first Patronage.
As a child, the Prince visited homelessness charities in London with his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. With his father, Prince William visited a homelessness charity in Newport, Wales just before his 21st birthday.
Before becoming their Patron, Prince William volunteered at Centrepoint, working with young people to help them talk about their situation and review their personal development plans, sort out their housing benefit claims and find more permanent accommodation.
“Ten years ago, Centrepoint was one of the first charities that I officially became associated with,” said Prince William at the event. "During that time I have seen the charity adapt to the challenges of tackling youth homelessness with continued optimism and enthusiasm.
“The young people commended this afternoon have each had to overcome their own seemingly insurmountable challenges. But crucially in doing so, they have not allowed homelessness to destroy their ambitions or determine their futures. They are proof that when given the right opportunities, they can not only recognise their potential, but achieve so much more.”
The awards, hosted by Centrepoint Ambassadors Jonathan Ross and Sara Cox, recognise successes in a number of categories, including sport, art, business, and career development and reflect the wide range of interests and skills that exist among the young people who use Centrepoint services, and recognise the significance of personal milestones for those who have had to endure difficult situations in the past.
Recent research by Centrepoint has shown that as little as 12% of the 136,000 young people in England and Wales seeking support for homelessness are being housed. This is of particular concern for the charity ahead of the Christmas period, with young people resorting to desperate measures to avoid sleeping on the streets. Centrepoint expect that 15,000 young people will be without a home over Christmas, often having to sleep rough.
This is why the charity focuses a large part of their work on making specialist advice available for homeless young people, ensuring they know where they can seek help, and providing advocacy for those who need support in finding a safe place to stay.