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November 19, 2015 04:20 PM

Prince William is shining a spotlight on an issue that was important to his late mother, Princess Diana: homeless youth in England.

On Thursday, the prince, 33, gave a speech at the first annual Centrepoint awards in London. The royal has been a patron of the organization, which provides a safe place to live for thousands of young people every year, since 2005.

Ten years ago, Centrepoint was one of the first charities that I officially became associated with, the prince said in his speech. During that time, I have seen the charity adapt to the challenges of tackling youth homelessness with continued optimism and enthusiasm.

He continued, “Some young people can find themselves denied the most basic of comforts, such as a safe place to sleep, a guaranteed source of food or simply someone to turn to for advice. This can often be due to reasons beyond their control.

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“But the challenges can also be deeper than having a safe place to stay. The impact of homelesseness is not temporary. All too often, a person s long-term mental and physical health, education and sense of self-worth can also be at risk.

“Ending youth homelessness remains an urgent challenge – too many in society are still unaware of just how many young people need our help.”

As children, Prince William and Prince Harry made private visits to Centrepoint services with their mother, who herself was a patron of the organization.

And William s strong ongoing commitment to Centrepoint was underscored when, in December 2009, he spent one night on the streets with the charity’s chief executive, Seyi Obakin.

With reporting by SIMON PERRY

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