By Jill Dando news
The Prince of Wales is touring the UK in his bid to beat homelessness.
On Monday, the Prince of Wales visited Lambeth in south London to promote his new Homewards initiative, which will provide $3.8 million to six different locations as seed money for an ambitious plan to make homelessness “rare, brief and unrepeated.”
Speaking at the Mosaic Clubhouse mental health charity, Prince William 41, said his inspiration for Homewards came from making visits to homeless shelters as a boy with his mom, Diana.
“The visits we made, left a deep and lasting impression,” said William. “I met so many extraordinary people and listened to so many heart-breaking personal stories. Too many people have found themselves without a stable and permanent place to call home.”
“Through these visits, I have seen first-hand the breadth and complexities of homelessness,” he continued, before mentioning his undercover role selling the Big Issue magazine on the streets of London, in aid of the homeless.
“A personal thank you to people such as Dave Wilson, who is here today and who gave me an induction in selling the Big Issue [magazine] last summer,” he said.
Over the next two days, Prince William will tour all six of the UK locations where the Homewards project is taking place.
The homelessness initiative will be one of the projects that define his working life for many years to come, a legacy for both him and his late mother.
Prince William – and the Royal Foundation he shares with his wife, Kate Middleton – believes that bringing together local authorities, non-profits and other groups into local coalitions can generate new ideas and collaborations.
He is following the example of Finland, where homelessness has effectively been beaten, as a place that showed it can be done, insiders say.
“Over the next five years, I believe that we have a unique opportunity to develop innovative new solutions and scale tangible impact. This will inspire belief throughout the U.K. — and beyond — that homelessness can be ended for good,” said William, while praising the already “strong tradition of collaboration” between local authorities and both the charity sector and private business in the U.K.
“Lambeth will become part of a network of six flagship Homewards locations across the U.K., all committed to creating and delivering a plan to prevent homelessness in their areas,” he added. “They will all put collaboration at the heart of the response, forming locally led coalitions of committed people, organizations and businesses.”
“Their in-depth knowledge of the specific issues and requirements of their local areas will drive forward the work. And we will be here to support you. Bringing together an unprecedented network of individuals and organizations with expertise, resources, and the commitment to end homelessness.”
“We will support you to deliver sustainable change and I am so grateful to you all for joining us on this journey,” said William. “Through Homewards, we will demonstrate that together we can finally end homelessness.”
Earlier, Prince William spent time at the centre, which supports people living with mental health conditions across south London.
There he met Clubhouse members with lived experiences of homelessness and heard how Mosaic has supported them through challenging times.
Elsewhere he also spent time with representatives from Old Spike Roastery, a specialty coffee social enterprise that offers a way into employment for those affected by homelessness.
For the second stop of his tour on Monday, Prince William visited the seaside town of Bournemouth. During his visit, the royal met initial members of the coalition being built through Homewards as together they start on the path towards ending homelessness in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
He arrived at the Faithworks Carpentry Workshop, an enterprising charity that runs practical projects in urban Dorset with the aim of ending loneliness, food poverty and homelessness of all sorts. At their carpentry workshop, trainees learn woodworking skills and techniques, as well as benefitting from one-on-one support with life issues and building relationships within a supportive community.
The Prince of Wales’ visit will spotlight a practical example of empowering people with skills that help get them into employment and therefore prevent the cycle of repeat homelessness.