Duke of Cambridge visits The Passage homeless charity that he saw with Diana & dishes up lunch

The Duke of Cambridge visited The Passage charity yesterday and became their patron. Prince William dropped by the organisation for the homeless to help serve up lunch, having a long history with the charity, which he visited as a child with his mother.

William was there to help highlight the issue of homelessness, something he has been working on for almost a decade; the future King has even spent a night on the streets in 2009 to get a better idea of what homeless people go through. The Duke of Cambridge is already a patron of Centrepoint.

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Every day in the kitchen, Head Chef Nour Shab is assisted by at least 8-10 helpers. The Duke of Cambridge’s culinary skills were put to the test as he volunteered to help prepare a spaghetti bolognese for the day’s lunch.

Prince William also lent a hand in serving the lunches alongside a very seasoned volunteer named Malcolm, who has been helping at the charity for the last 21 years!

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Over the years, The Passage has become the largest resource centre in the UK for homeless individuals and those who are in crisis. Their philosophy is rather simple: they believe in giving a hand up, instead of giving a hand out.

Since its inception in 1980, The Passage charity has provided help to over 130,000 people through homeless prevention projects, two inventive accommodation services, in addition to its resource centre. The Passage’s range of services is quite extensive – from participating in local street outreach work, to providing access to health professionals as well as hands on support with training, education and employment.

It takes the support of many volunteers to help make the charity’s tremendous work possible. During 2017/2018, 2651 homeless people were able to receive services thanks to the 450 regular volunteers who so generously give of their time; over 40,000 hours are donated a year. Help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year due to the efforts of these selfless volunteers.

The Passage is a charity that is close to his heart; Prince William first started visiting The Passage in 1993, with his mother, Diana, Princess of Wales. Those visits have left a lasting impression on William and contributed in fuelling his desire to reach out and assist those who are homeless and in the greatest of need.

While speaking at The Passage in 2016, The Duke of Cambridge shared: “The visits I made as a child to this place left a deep and lasting impression upon me – about how important it is to ensure that everyone in our society, especially the poorest, are treated with respect, dignity, and kindness, and are given the opportunities to fulfil their potential in life.”

Prince William’s signature with his mother’s in The Passage’s visitor book in 1993. Photo courtesy of Kensington Palace)

William and Harry visit The Passage with Diana, Princess of Wales. (Photo courtesy of Kensington Palace)

Chief executive of The Passage, Mick Clarke expressed: “During His Royal Highness’s visits to The Passage, it has been very clear that he has a deep concern for those affected by homelessness and a real interest in our work. For His Royal Highness to further express his support for The Passage’s work by becoming our royal patron is a tremendous honour, and a testament to how much he genuinely cares about this issue.”

During his visit, Prince William took part in a discussion about The Passage’s “Home for Good” programme. This project aims to recruit people who are willing to be matched with someone from the programme and help them in a one-on-one capacity. They provide social support to a person who was once homeless and is now ready to move on into a place of their own. With this support, it is hoped that the clients will develop their confidence and independence. These attributes play a large part in decreasing the risk of falling back into a homeless situation again. Many of the homeless are severely traumatised by their experiences on the streets and having someone regularly there to help them and talk to them can provide a positive and lasting connection for them.

Duke of Cambridge discussing Home for Good programme. ( Photo courtesy of Kensington Palace)

According to the charity’s 2016/2017 numbers, 98% of the participants  in their “Home for Good” project were able to maintain their new living accomodation. That is quite an incredible feat, considering that since 2010, the rise in homelessness has increased an astounding 169%. Without places like The Passage, it is quite possible that the percentage could be much higher.

Like his mother before him, it is lovely to see the passion and the caring spirit that William exhibits towards his patronages. It is quite a lovely example of  keeping Diana’s memory alive.

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