Centrepoint (charity)

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Centrepoint is a charity in the United Kingdom, which provides accommodation and support to homeless people aged 16–25. It's mission is to end youth homelessness and its vision is to get homeless young people into a home and a job.

Prince William, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, has been a patron of the organisation since 2005. His mother Princess Diana was patron before she died. This was William's first Patronage.[1][2] Centrepoint's accommodation services include high to low-support hostels in London, Bradford and Sunderland, as well as supported flats and houses. It provides safe accommodation for care leavers, ex-offenders, young single parents and refugees. Many of its young people became homeless due to family breakdown.

Hostels and services

As well as accommodation, Centrepoint provides learning and health support to homeless young people. Its learning team gets young people back into education or training, helping them into work or apprenticeships. It also teaches basic life skills, from cooking to budgeting. Its health team helps young people get physically fit, but also provides mental health support. This includes depression, eating disorders, self-harm and drug use.

Centrepoint works with hundreds of volunteers every year and runs a mentoring scheme, which sees a volunteer support a young person one on one for 12 months. It also works with partner organisations across the UK, helping them deliver services to homeless young people in other regions and join forces to raise money through End Youth Homelessness.

In 2015-16, Centrepoint supported more than 9,000 homeless young people. 90 per cent moved on successfully.

History

The charity was founded by the Reverend Kenneth Leech in 1969.[3][4] Fr Leech said he saw the desperation of homeless and drug-using young people in London, which led him to open the doors of his church, St Anne’s Soho. He later helped set up Centrepoint’s first homeless hostel. Ken Leech devoted much of his ministry to tackling homelessness and drug dependency. Along with Centrepoint, he also founded the Soho Drugs Group and was a director of the Runnymead Trust, which supports race equality.

Support

Centrepoint fund raises to provide homeless young people with the learning, health and life-skills they need to live independently. It also lobbies government to make sure their needs are considered and to influence the policies that affect them. Centrepoint runs the Centrepoint Parliament - a group of homeless young people elected by their peers to hold the organisation to account and to campaign for the rights of homeless young people.

It's flagship fundraising event is Sleep Out - a November night where hundreds of people sleep out to raise awareness and money.

Centrepoint's galas have included special guests such as Taylor Swift and Jon Bon Jovi.

Centrepoint's ambassadors include Radio 1 DJ Sara Cox, actress Lisa Maxwell and TV presenter Jonathan Ross.

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