HRH The Duke of Cambridge visited a service for homeless young people in Sunderland. He heard how charities from the End Youth Homelessness campaign, including The Prince’s Trust and Centrepoint, are supporting young people in the region into employment and independent living.

End Youth Homelessness, a group consisting of both charities and businesses, is working to raise the profile of youth homelessness with politicians across the political spectrum, and to pool expertise and best practice to address a problem that affects 80,000 under-25s a year.

The visit took place at a service run by End Youth Homelessness member Centrepoint, which works in partnership with youth charity The Prince's Trust. During the visit, the Duke, who is patron of Centrepoint, and whose father HRH The Prince of Wales founded The Prince’s Trust, heard directly from young people about the barriers they face finding work and the support they are receiving from the two charities to gain new skills.

Jenna Sams, 19 from Newcastle, spoke to the Duke about her experience of homelessness and unemployment. After years of feeling pushed aside, Jenna eventually became homeless. She was placed in a hostel for young people, and finally felt she had somewhere to call home. When she had to leave to live independently, she felt alone again, without any guidance on how to cope.

She says, “It was the scariest time of my life. I felt incredibly lonely and there was no one to support me.”

Then Jenna joined The Prince’s Trust Get into Contact Centres programme. It gave her a structure where she could feel safe and normal, and part of a group. Gradually her self-esteem began to improve.

Soon after the course, Jenna secured an apprenticeship with Barclays. She has recently found her own accommodation near work and is excited about turning her apprenticeship into a long-term career.

Jenna said:

I know how it feels to be homeless and unemployed and I don't know where I'd be without the support I received from The Prince's Trust. It was a real honour to speak to the Duke of Cambridge about something so close to my heart and I won't forget today for a very long time.

Joining the Duke on his visit were the Lord-Lieutenant for Tyne and Wear Nigel Sherlock OBE, the High Sheriff for Tyne and Wear George Scott, Sunderland Mayor Cllr Robert Heron and Council Deputy Chief Executive Janet Johnson.

Commenting after the visit Centrepoint Chief Executive Seyi Obakin said:

“Through the End Youth Homelessness campaign both Centrepoint and The Prince’s Trust are working hard to address the many barriers that homeless young people face in finding work and a place to live independently. We are really pleased that the Duke of Cambridge was able to hear first hand just how much young people want to start training courses and find work.”

Martina Milburn, Chief Executive, The Prince’s Trust, said:

“Both HRH The Duke of Cambridge and HRH The Prince of Wales are keen that the charities for which they are Patrons – The Prince’s Trust and Centrepoint - work together to tackle issues such as youth homelessness and unemployment.

Together we are working with young people who feel they have lost everything – many are jobless, homeless and without hope for the future. However with the right support, we know it is possible to help these young people turn their lives around.