Kate’s passion for early years praised at Prince’s visit to homelessness project

webnexttech | Kate’s passion for early years praised at Prince’s visit to homelessness project

The Princess of Wales’ passion for promoting the early years development of children was highlighted by her husband during his latest royal engagement. William spoke fondly of Kate’s work as he spent the day in Sheffield catching up with the developments of his ambitious Homewards project, which aims to eradicate homelessness in six UK locations. When the future King joined a Homewards Sheffield Local Coalition meeting, he smiled when a participant mentioned the importance of children’s early years, an issue the princess has raised awareness about for a number of years. “Venturing into my wife’s territory here. She needs to be sat here to hear this,” William said as he grinned and held up his hands. His trip came after footage emerged of Kate out shopping at the weekend at a farm shop, following intense social media speculation about her whereabouts and health. Kate, who is recovering from abdominal surgery, was seen with her husband at the Windsor Farm Shop close to their Adelaide cottage home in the grounds of Windsor Castle. William’s comment about his wife was made after he joined a group taking part in the event at the City’s Millennium Gallery, and listened to their stories of being homeless but now working to help others in the Sheffield area. One man, Chris Lynam, 41, told the royal visitor how he left the Royal Navy with post-traumatic stress disorder and this led him down a path of drug and alcohol addiction and, eventually, prison. William told him: “Chris, can I just say how brave you are to be here and talk about your story?” Speaking after the visit, Mr Lynam, who works with the Sheffield-based Cathedral Archer Project for homelessness, said: “Wow. Not what I expected. He was really nice man and he really listened, which took me back a little. I liked him.” The Homewards Sheffield Local Coalition has been convened over the past nine months by Homewards to create a shared vision for Sheffield and formulate a Local Action Plan towards ending homelessness in the city. The group includes more than 70 organisations and members of the local community with lived experience of homelessness. Earlier William visited a deprived area of Sheffield to meet landlords, the local authority and more residents with experience of homelessness to hear about their input into the project. The prince was also joined by housing activist Kwajo Tweneboa who called for an end to the “stigma” around homelessness and for the problem to be taken seriously by private landlords and local authorities. William asked Ajman Ali, Sheffield City Council’s executive director: “Does something like Homewards allow you the space, if you like, to help in this area? “Because bearing in mind with the council, you run so many things, (in) so many days, when do you ever get to lift your head up and actually get ahead of a lot of the problems that councils, all up and down the country, are always busily dealing with. “I’m hoping that Homewards comes along (and can) lift that pressure off you, bring more people into the mix and allow you to then able to plan and see something further down the line.” Homewards is a five-year project launched by William in 2023 to bring together a range of individuals and organisations to develop bespoke homelessness solutions in Newport, South Wales; Poole, Bournemouth and Christchurch in Dorset; the south London Borough of Lambeth; Belfast; Aberdeen and Sheffield. The initiative was given a boost worth £1 million from DIY retailer Homebase, whose chief executive officer Damian McGloughlin said he personally wanted to be involved in the project. At the meeting, he formally pledged up to 1,500 Home Starter Packs, which could include paint, furniture, flooring and furnishings, to help people housed by Homewards to turn a property into a home. Mr Tweneboa, who has campaigned for three years to raise awareness about homelessness and those living in sub-standard housing, said: “We know we’ve got enough homeless kids in England to entirely fill the O2 arena seven times over, yet that is not enough to change things, change perspective, really take on this crisis with a bottom-up approach, which I fundamentally believe is social housing. “Because when people are on the council waiting list, when they find themselves homeless, it’s not because they’re waiting to get into private rented accommodation – they can’t afford that – they need social housing but it’s not there for them.”

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