Kate and William visited South Yorkshire for a one-day tour of charities and industry last week, were they visited a brand new £50million McClaren car plant in Rotherham and gave it the royal seal of approval. But in a more touching moment, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited a brand new Centrepoint hostel in Barnsley, which was set up to help homeless people in the area. The brand-new hostel helps 60 people a day from the local area helped with food and shelter – and the Duke and Duchess wasted no time in mucking in and helping. The Duchess was pictured rolling up her sleeves and helped to serve soup and bread to patrons of the hostel, and brought a “calming influence” to the facility, which was recently set up the homelessness charity.
Two of the centre’s residents shared their stories with Catherine while she sliced bread and ladled a competition-winning soup – including Gareth Bradbury, 24, who said: “They are warming people.”
Mr Bradbury, a former foster care child who sought help from Centrepoint, after he was “in limbo after university” said the Duke and Duchess brought with them a calming, positive air that out him at ease.
He told PEOPLE: “They have an almost calming vibe that puts you at ease. It was easy to talk about anything.
“Kate seems to really care about Centrepoint and asked me a load of questions on what support they offer and how I came to find it and where I’m going to go in the future.”
Centrepoint’s chief executive Seyi Obakin said he was delighted the couple could attend together – and was not at all surprised at how the royals made the residents feel relaxed and comfortable with them.
He said: “Over the years, one of the things I have seen is this inherent ability he has to make people feel relaxed. And it’s a gift.
“I know a lot of those young people were nervous. I told them their nerves would fall away as soon as you meet him and that’s exactly what happened.
“He just has that knack and it’s great that she has it as well.
“They spent far longer than we expected and hoped. That’s very inspiring for young people.”
Another resident, Chelsea Jenkins, also said the couple had a warm and friendly atmosphere about their person.
She said the couple “are very good listeners. William asked me about the obstacles that I’ve had in life. Centrepoint has helped me.”
Mr Obakin reminisced on how Prince Charles was inspired when he first visited the charity at their sole-hostel in Dean Street, Soho, London – as Charles celebrated his 70th birthday in London.
Mr Obakin said: “In the very early days of Centrepoint, when nobody knew anything about it, [Charles] visited a solitary service in Dean Street, Soho in London.
“At that time, he put the issues of young people and the challenges they face in the agenda. He went off and of course started the Prince’s Trust — and we work with them today.”
Charles is not the only royal to have a long-standing relationship with the charity. Following in the footsteps of his mother Princess Diana, Kate’s husband William has been a patron of Centrepoint since 2005.
The charity has remained close to the prince’s heart since he visited the London headquarters of the charity when he was a young boy.
Reports have since suggested that Princess Diana was keen to show him real-life experience from an early age.