Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry meet Homeless Helpline volunteers

Royal trio were shown how the Mix connects young people with experts and their peers for advice on everything from jobs to relationship problems and drugs and why it will be such a key partner for delivering the new homelessness helpline

Ed Cumming,Matt Watts
Tuesday 20 December 2016 03:14
Comments
The Duke helps make Christmas decorations at The Mix get-together
The Duke helps make Christmas decorations at The Mix get-together

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry heard how the Young and Homeless Helpline will make a huge difference to young lives – as they met volunteers who will help deliver the service.

They visited The Mix, Centrepoint’s partner charity in our Christmas appeal – to thank volunteers yesterday morning.

The Independent is raising money to help charity Centrepoint, for the first time, give young homeless people, and those at risk of ending up on the streets, a national freephone number for advisers who can link them to the services they need.

The Mix, which helps people aged under 25 facing issues such as drug dependency, mental health problems or family breakdown, will work with Centrepoint to deliver the helpline.

The two charities will share a call centre and work together to answer phones. Callers will be passed between the services depending on the type of support they need.

On arrival at the Harrow Club, a centre for young people in west London, the royal party – the Duchess dressed in a festive red and green dress and the Duke and Prince Harry in dark blue suits – yesterday were met by both volunteers and those who use The Mix’s services.

They were shown how the Mix connects young people with experts and their peers for advice on everything from jobs to relationship problems and drugs and why it will be such a key partner for delivering the new homelessness helpline.

The royal heard how the Young and Homeless Helpline will help young lives

The Duke attended a session with Centrepoint counsellors, where he asked about what more could be done to raise awareness of the services available to young people and was told how the new helpline could make a real difference.

Prince Harry went to a role-playing session on how best to help young people who might feel suicidal. The Duchess of Cambridge attended a training session for volunteers on hosting online live chats.

Amy Freear, a 23-year-old York University psychology student who volunteers with The Mix, offering online peer to peer support, chatted to Kate about her work.

She said: “The Duchess said the support online was so important to help young people feel heard and knowing there is somewhere they can turn to.”

Miss Freear said the big issues facing the under-25s the charity helps were starting school or university or problems with relatives.

She said: “People talk about their family life and how that's affecting them and school and university are important topics - it's more stressful than ever.”

The three royals then joined The Mix’s Christmas party, making decorations, drinking tea and listening to music played by a DJ.

“We are delighted that their royal highnesses joined us,” said Chris Martin, The Mix’s chief executive. “One of the problems young people face is the difficult and chaotic journey trying to get information. At the moment about 20 per cent of the calls we receive are about homelessness.

“We’re working side by side with Centrepoint, and their counsellors are helping to train our volunteers to be even more efficient at dealing with homelessness. A single helpline with a lot of expertise, which can tell young people where to go and what to do – and also provide listening support – will be hugely powerful.”

The Independent’s Christmas appeal was launched in response to a call for action by Prince William, Centrepoint’s patron, in November, for more to be done to combat the “shameful” levels of youth homelessness. “If we are serious about ending homelessness,” Prince William said, “the most effective solution is to prevent people becoming homeless in the first place.”

Currently more than 150,000 young people seek help with homelessness from their local authorities each year.

The Mix was hosting the Christmas party for Heads Together, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s mental health umbrella charity organisation, of which the Mix is a member. They founded Heads Together to try to combat the stigma around mental health issues

The event was the royal trio's last official engagement of the year and came after Harry had reportedly said goodbye to girlfriend Meghan Markle on Sunday after they had spent a week together.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in