The Prince of Wales has championed homeless charities for decades, seeking a solution to put a stop to people not having a safe and secure location as their base, and it has become a key part of his royal work.
Today, Prince William, along with The Royal Foundation, launched his first major project since he became Prince of Wales: Homewards.
Homewards is a five-year locally-led programme, which will demonstrate that together it is possible to end homelessness.
The organisation will support local partners to form coalitions with committed individuals, groups, and businesses to create and deliver a tailored plan to prevent homelessness in their areas. Homewards will allow local organisations to create bespoke solutions that suit their needs, to tackle homelessness.
The Royal Foundation will be providing up to £500,000 of flexible funding to each of the six locations, that can be accessed to support the delivery of their action plan.
The campaign comes as The Royal Foundation have released research which shows one in five people in the UK have some experience of the issue, either themselves or through someone close to them.
There will be a total of six initial locations which will be supported over the next five years. The Prince of Wales will visit the six locations across the UK over two days.
The Prince launched the campaign in Lambeth at Mosaic Clubhouse today, to highlight their work to support those who are living with a mental health condition and the role improving mental health has in tackling homelessness.
It was here Prince William gave a short speech and said that ‘in a modern and progressive society, everyone should have a safe and secure home, be treated with dignity and given the support they need’ and it would be through Homewards that this was to be made a reality.
Reflecting on his own experiences of working with homeless charities, he said he has ‘seen first-hand the tireless work of people and organisations across the sector, the tangible impact their efforts can have and what can be done when communities are able to focus on preventing homelessness, rather than managing it.’
During the visit to Mosaic Clubhouse, Prince William was reunited with was Big Issue seller Dave Martin, who he joined last summer in west London to sell The Big Issue.
HRH spoke to Clubhouse members, who told him about their experiences of homelessness, and how the centre has subsequently helped them. He met with staff from Old Spike Roast – a coffee social enterprise that offers the homeless community employment opportunities.
Listen to his speech below 👇 pic.twitter.com/KBRzRSbaqL
— The Crown Chronicles (@crownchronicles) June 26, 2023
The next stop in the Homewards campaign launch day was Bournemouth. The second out of six locations was announced as Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole. The Prince visited the Faithworks Carpentry Workshop – an enterprising charity which runs practical projects in urban Dorset.
The Prince will meet initial members of the coalition as join together to ending homelessness in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole.
Great to have kicked off with Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole! Thanks @FaithworksDRST for giving us insight into the importance of empowering people with skills to help end repeat homelessness. Incredible to see the carpentry being taught & Prince William trying his hand at it! pic.twitter.com/uMxTkk8oRT
— Homewards (@HomewardsUK) June 26, 2023
Prince William spoke about to change the narrative around homelessness and to stop the ‘prejudice and stigma’, which he aims to do through this new project. The Royal spoke to people who are being supported by Homewards; they told the father-of-three about the isolation faced by those who are homeless and how they need to rebuild their confidence.
William also got stuck in and tried out some of the skills that are being taught, including carpentry, where he tried his hand at using a lathe. Joking, he noted that he ‘had five fingers when I began this.’
The first day of the campaign launch concluded in Newport, which is the third location of the Homewards campaign. The Prince of Wales was joined by former Spice Girl, Geri Horner.
They visited Maindee Primary School, where they were shown the crucial role that local schools can play in supporting children and families at the earliest point to prevent homelessness.
Geri was keen to support William’s homeless initiative, as she is an advocate tackling domestic violence and women fleeing these situations often find themselves homeless. This of course, overlaps with The Queen’s work in this area, making Horner a regular in royal charitable circles.
The pods are made up of three rooms each and are run completely on electricity with solar panels, green roofs and triple glazing. This is something that will have pleased Prince William, given his commitment to tackling the climate emergency.
Prince William toured the pods and met residents who have benefitted from the new homes. The housing development is made up of 12 separate modules, which are built in a factory and transported and assembled.