Prince of Wales kissed by Gazza during visit to Pret for homelessness campaign

The prince’s visit to the south coast follows the launch of his anti-homelessness programme in June.

Luke O'Reilly
Thursday 07 September 2023 17:08 BST
The Prince of Wales with Paul Gascoigne during a visit to a Pret A Manger in Bournemouth (Chris Jackson/PA)
The Prince of Wales with Paul Gascoigne during a visit to a Pret A Manger in Bournemouth (Chris Jackson/PA)

Former footballer Paul Gascoigne gave the Prince of Wales a kiss on the cheek after they unexpectedly met in a sandwich shop.

William visited the Pret A Manger in Bournemouth, Dorset, on Thursday, to discuss its plans to expand The Pret Foundation’s programme to help 500 people experiencing homelessness get jobs at Pret shops around the country.

The chain made the commitment as part of its work with William’s Homewards initiative – the prince’s ambitious five-year project to end homelessness in six locations.

While in the shop, William was joined by Gascoigne, better known as Gazza.

They spoke for a couple of minutes as a crowd gathered around them.

The former England international then shook William’s hand before kissing him on the cheek.

After meeting the footballer, William said it had been a “very interesting morning”.

“We even met Gazza, he popped into (Pret),” he said.

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole is one of six flagship locations where the Homewards programme is taking place, alongside Aberdeen, Sheffield, Newport, Lambeth and Northern Ireland.

The prince’s visit to the south coast follows the launch of his anti-homelessness programme in June, this time shining a light on the role the business sector can play in tackling rough sleeping

During his whistle-stop day tour of Bournemouth, William was joined by Diary of a CEO host and Dragon’s Den’s Steven Bartlett, as he met local and national businesses to hear about their pledges.

Mr Bartlett, who is an advocate for the Homewards programme, said it was “100% possible” to tackle homelessness in five years and said William was “deeply passionate” about the cause.

It’s been a very interesting morning

Prince of Wales

He recalled that in a conversation with William about the project the prince said “some things just catch your heart and you feel you can move them forward”.

Mr Bartlett added: “It’s one of those things that’s caught his heart and it’s quite clearly possible. Sometimes you have to put a deadline on things to make sure they happen.”

The Homewards programme aims to show how society coming together can make homelessness “rare, brief and unrepeated” and supports locally-led initiatives with up to £500,000 of flexible funding.

The prince later visited AFC Bournemouth which is joining the programme by expanding its community outreach programme Bounce Back.

William spoke to players Lloyd Kelly and Katie Scadding at Vitality Stadium, Steve Cuss, the club’s communities sports trust chief and chief executive Neill Blake to hear about their piloted scheme which supports disadvantaged adults gain independent living.

Mr Kelly also told the prince about the importance of football in his own life, and something he had to look forward to, having been in foster care as a child.

AFC Bournemouth and the Pret Foundation were among national and local businesses that joined William for a roundtable meeting about how businesses can help tackle homelessness.

The Pret Foundation’s global head Nina Allard said Pret’s pledge is “real commitment” to continue its work as the charity has already recruited 750 people through its Rising Stars programme since 2008.

Business bosses from Lush, Sunseekers, Dorset Chamber of Commerce, The Pret Foundation, AFC Bournemouth and Bournemouth and Poole College pledged to expand a variety of initiatives including community outreach, education and employment opportunities.

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