'Thank you for helping create the Centrepoint Helpline, a lasting contribution to fighting youth homelessness'

The Independent proprietor Evgeny Lebedev thanks readers for helping to ensure that when young people face homelessness they will now have a highly trained, sympathetic ear just a phone call away.

Evgeny Lebedev
Monday 13 February 2017 15:44
Evgeny Lebedev with Prince William at the launch of the Centrepoint Helpline. The owner of ‘The Independent’ was able to tell the Prince our Homeless Helpline Appeal had raised £3.25m
Evgeny Lebedev with Prince William at the launch of the Centrepoint Helpline. The owner of ‘The Independent’ was able to tell the Prince our Homeless Helpline Appeal had raised £3.25m

In the years since I took over The Independent we have supported some amazing causes: homeless veterans, literacy, Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Felix Project, to name a few.

But this year’s campaign for Centrepoint has been special. As our fundraising push draws to a close, we know that we have created a lasting, concrete contribution to fighting youth homelessness: the Centrepoint Helpline, which launched on Monday morning.

With more than £3m raised, its staff and volunteers can get to work, delivering help to those who most need it.

In reporting on the endless case studies for Centrepoint over the past few months, I heard countless variants of the same complaint: the system is too complicated, and it’s unclear where young people should go to get the help they need.

In the majority of cases young people became homeless through no fault of their own. Domestic life, for whatever reason, becomes unbearable, and at a stage in life when they most need a stable home, they are forced into a precarious homeless existence: whether rough sleeping, sofa surfing or living in temporary accommodation. It can be an unbelievably difficult time.

But as of this morning, thanks to the astounding generosity of The Independent and Evening Standard readers, there is no further need for confusion.

By picking up the phone and calling the helpline for free, vulnerable young people will be able to get all the information and advice they need, on everything from housing, welfare, job and domestic skills. When the adults in their lives may have let them down, they can know there will be a highly trained, sympathetic ear just a phone call away.

As proprietor, nothing is more gratifying than seeing the power of readers when they rally behind a cause. Institutions have played their part, too – we are grateful to the Asos Foundation and Arsenal Foundation, among other big donors. And we are grateful to Sadiq Khan, Theresa May, Ellie Goulding, Ed Sheeran and Phil Collins, among others.

But at the heart of it all is you, the readers. You have shown that there is no problem that cannot be overcome.

It is a privilege to be custodian of The Independent. Once again, thank you.