Prince William reveals how Gareth Southgate’s England side inspires his homelessness project

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Louise Thomas

The Prince of Wales has revealed how Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2024 team has inspired his project to end homelessness.

William marked the first year of his Homewards initiative by returning to the London Borough of Lambeth where he launched the programme, and revealed he shouted himself hoarse during the Three Lions’ thrilling semi-final victory over the Netherlands, in Germany.

The future King apologised for his slight loss of voice as he met representatives working to eradicate homelessness across the UK.

In a speech he reiterated his belief that homelessness “can be ended” and said the ideas and approaches being developed in the six target areas “will have the power to inspire change across the UK and beyond”.

Ian Jones, head of external engagement at Bournemouth University, which is involved with the Homewards project, brought up England’s victory while chatting to William: “He said he was hoarse and he would be, he’s an Aston Villa fan.

“I just told him working with Homewards makes us proud just as he would have felt last night when Ollie Watkins scored the last goal.

Homewards is a five-year project launched by William in 2023 to tackle homelessness

Homewards is a five-year project launched by William in 2023 to tackle homelessness (Maja Smiejkowska/PA Wire)

“Of course he wanted to talk about last night as well. He said how proud he was about their victory last night and was convinced Ollie Watkins would do something great – he knew that.

“And he said the self-belief in it, that’s the sort of thing he’s trying to do with us, to work on these projects.”

It comes as William announced he will be featuring in a new documentary series about his work to end homelessness.

The two-part series, which has the working title Prince William: We Can End Homelessness, will go behind the scenes of the first year of the programme and will be broadcast by ITV this autumn.

It will follow William as he launches Homewards across the country, and will feature the journeys of those currently facing homelessness or who have lived experience of the issue.

William believes Homewards ‘will have the power to inspire change across the UK and beyond’

William believes Homewards ‘will have the power to inspire change across the UK and beyond’ (Maja Smiejkowska/PA Wire)

The documentary will also feature well-known advocates of the programme, alongside those leading individual projects across the UK.

Homelessness in various forms, from children living in temporary accommodation to rough sleepers in the capital, has reached record highs.

Government statistics published in April showed there were 145,800 children in temporary accommodation by December 31 last year, up by a fifth on 20 years ago when records for this measure began.

In London, 11,993 people were seen sleeping rough in the year to March, according to the latest Combined Homelessness and Information Network (Chain) statistics.

Homewards has already received a pledge of £1 million from DIY retailer Homebase, in the form of home starter packs, and support from coffee chain Pret-a-Manger, which has expanded its scheme employing the homeless.

Government statistics showed there were 145,800 children in temporary accommodation by December last year

Government statistics showed there were 145,800 children in temporary accommodation by December last year (Maja Smiejkowska/PA Wire)

In a speech William highlighted Homewards’ achievements during the past 12 months, saying: “Already, a pipeline of nearly 100 homes is being established through the innovative housing projects which will be developed in each location, and believe me, my ambitions alone mean there will be so many more.

“We are also working to change the way we all think about homelessness. Today, homelessness touches so many more than the men and women we sadly see on our streets.

“We will improve understanding about the different forms of homelessness, shifting perceptions and boosting optimism that it can be ended.

“The energy and enthusiasm that each individual and organisation is bringing to the programme, and to showing that it is possible to end homelessness in their local area, is inspiring and I know, together, we can do this.”

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