Evgeny Lebedev

Prince William hails ‘incredible’ support of Standard readers as our Christmas Appeal smashes £1m barrier

The Evening Standard Thursday 19 January 2017

Prince William today thanked Evening Standard readers for their “incredible” support as our Christmas Appeal, in aid of Centrepoint’s Young andHomeless Helpline, smashed the £1 million barrier in record time.

To mark the fundraising milestone the Duke of Cambridge welcomed former Centrepoint residents to Kensington Palace for a photoshoot.

“As Centrepoint’s patron the Duke has heard countless stories of how homelessness can blight young lives,” said a Palace spokesman.

“The support for this project so far is incredible as it means young people can get the help they need when they most need it. Thank you.”

The two former Centrepoint residents who visited the Palace were photographer Samia Meah and student Kumba Kpakima.

I met Kumba a few weeks ago at a Centrepoint hostel in south London and I am happy to say she is now living in her own flat. We will welcome her at the newspaper for work experience in the New Year.

They are proof of how effective Centrepoint’s work is, and how vital the new helpline will be.

The appeal follows a call to arms from the prince, in which he urged the nation to do more to combat the scourge of youth homelessness.

Each year, more than 150,000 young people seek help because they are homeless or at risk of homelessness.

Yet it is at this time, when they are trying to find their feet, that they are most at risk of abuse.

Centrepoint’s new freephone line will provide young people with all the housing information they need.

Through a partnership with advice service The Mix, callers will also have access to support on training, counselling and job opportunities.

Thanks to your efforts, we are approaching our goal of being able to fund the helpline fully for the next three years.

In our proud history of Christmas Appeals, this is the earliest that we have hit seven figures.

It is testament to the generosity of our readers, corporate backers and influential figures in politics and the arts who have lent their weight to our appeal.

As proprietor, I want to thank you sincerely for your efforts: the Christmas Appeal is absolutely core to what the Evening Standard does.