The Prince of Wales, 41, headed to a cafe in a seaside town, sporting an apron to help prep food and meet people helping tackle the issue.
He was at Pret A Manger in Bournemouth to talk to businesses that pledged to help his Homewards campaign that kicked off in June. There, he helped prepare food alongside some of those who’ve been supported by Pret’s Rising Stars program into employment. The Pret Foundation also donates unsold food at the end of the day to those in need.
Along with local areas Christchurch and Poole, Bournemouth is one of the six flagship locations chosen to try locally-relevant initiatives to end homelessness.
Prince William spoke with representatives from eight national and local businesses about the pledges they are making to move Homewards forward. These include a commitment by cafe firm Pret A Manger to expand The Pret Foundation’s Rising Stars program in order to support at least 500 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness into jobs at their shops over the next five years.
The local Premier League soccer club, Bournemouth AFC, is also expanding its community outreach and introducing new education and employment opportunities.
Prince William launched his ambitious Homewards project in June as he hopes to demonstrate over the next five years that through collaboration across all sectors of society, it is possible to end homelessness in the U.K., “making it rare, brief and unrepeated,” his office at Kensington Palace says.
Homewards intends to spread the word of any successes it has at each of the six locations to foster new thinking and approaches to tackling homelessness in the U.K. and beyond.
The Prince of Wales also believes it will help improve understanding of the issue and increase optimism that homelessness can be defeated.
Pret A Manger is one of an initial nine Homewards Activators, which are from a range of sectors and industries who have committed to contributing skills, resources and investment to help build momentum and support the six Homewards flagship locations as they seek to deliver the solutions needed to prevent homelessness in their areas.
Prince William also headed to Bournemouth AFC's Vitality Stadium. He chatted with player Lloyd Kelly to hear about the Premier League soccer team's work within the community to support those at risk of homelessness.
In a pitch-side conversation, the Prince of Wales learned more about "Bounce Back," a pilot program that the club ran from Sept. 2022 to Feb. 2023 to support local disadvantaged and vulnerable adults in achieving independent sustained living through a combination of classroom and practical learning activities.
The soccer club has made a commitment to Homewards to extend the project, which sees participants gain qualifications and life skills while building their self-esteem.
Prince William's trip to Bournemouth was his first public outing since his summer break with his wife, Kate Middleton, and their three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
George, 10, Charlotte, 8, and Louis, 5, returned to the classroom on Wednesday at Lambrook School, where they started last year following the family's move from London to Windsor. But before that, the Prince and Princess of Wales spent time at Balmoral in Scotland with members of the royal family, following the annual tradition for the first time after Queen Elizabeth's death.
While Prince William continued his homelessness work, his brother Prince Harry is set to attend the annual awards event for WellChild, a charity for seriously ill kids, in London on Thursday. The Duke of Sussex is attending the WellChild event in England ahead of traveling on to Germany for the sixth iteration of his Invictus Games competition.
There are no plans for Harry to reunite with William or King Charles during his time in the U.K. The family members did not get together in June, either, when Prince Harry was in the U.K. to give testimony in court against Mirror Group Newspapers for alleged unlawful information gathering.
Harry, William and Charles were last together in May when Prince Harry traveled to the U.K. to attend the King's coronation. However, there were no public interactions between Harry with his brother or father. The trip to the crowning ceremony was also a quick visit, as Prince Harry headed to the airport shortly following the event, which fell on his son Prince Archie's 4th birthday.