Saturday, 4 December 2021

William hears call from homeless teenager at launch of Centrepoint advice line


LONDON: The Duke of Cambridge listened in to a call from a desperate homeless teenager as he launched Centrepoint’s new helpline for young rough sleepers needing urgent advice. The young man, who had been robbed twice while sleeping rough in London, had rung the new number after failing to get help from his local authority and a concerned William asked to be kept informed about his progress. Centrepoint hopes its new helpline will assist thousands of young people who are in need of help, support and advice after finding themselves without a permanent home or at risk of becoming homeless. The Duke joined Cerys Lewis, 36, a helpline advice worker, at a central London office as she took one of the first calls on the helpline which has been running as a pilot programme since last April. During the 20-minute call, Ms Lewis talked through the available options with the teenager, who had been sleeping rough and bedding down in all-night cafes following a breakdown in his relationship with his parents. After recommending a night shelter, she told him: “It’s not ideal, but it’s safe, it’s free and you’ll get your evening meals and breakfast in the morning.” At the end of the call, William, who is patron of Centrepoint and had been listening on another phone, said to her: “Will you let me know how he gets on? I’d like to know.” Before the Duke listened in to the call, he chatted with Ms Lewis and when she mentioned the catchment area of the helpline, William replied: “It will be really interesting to work out in the country where the hotspots of homelessness are.” The Centrepoint helpline, run in partnership with the youth support charity The Mix, will initially be open from 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, covering England, and will expand if demand increases.


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