Sunderland young homeless centre ready to welcome Prince William

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PREPARATIONS are underway at a young people’s home to roll out the red carpet for the Duke of Cambridge.

The second-in-line to the throne will visit the Centrepoint base in Dundas Street, Monkwearmouth, tomorrow. Prince William is expected to take a tour of the centre for homeless people aged between 16 and 21, as well as taking part in a cookery lesson, where they will be whipping up spaghetti bolognese.

Head of operations for Centrepoint in the North East, Martin Gill, said excitement is building ahead of the landmark engagement.

“I think people have said they are nervous, but I think the main feeling is excitement,” he said.

“It is a really big deal and something to be excited about.”

The centre’s occupants will take Prince William on a tour of the building, which opened in January 2012, and have been taking lessons ahead of chatting to His Royal Highness.

“We are planning for the day and making sure the young people can express themselves properly about their experiences,” said Martin.

“Their involvement in what we do is one of our key things and so we are making sure they all have a chance to talk to him when they go around.”

Other exciting activities include a cookery class, and Martin said there have been a few practice sessions to make sure everything goes smoothly.

“The food won’t be for him to try because it will be bolognese,” he said. “But he will be able to see them taking part in a real demonstration.

“It will be an accredited session, and for them to be doing that with the Duke watching adds to the excitement.”

And, of course, a spot of obligatory cleaning is taking place before the royal visit.

“We are making sure, like we would for any special visitor, that it is spick and span,” said Martin.

“One or two of our young people, who are not with us any more, have met the Prince in the past, so we are going to make sure there are plenty of pictures of them with him around so he feels at home.”

The Duke of Cambridge missed a visit to the North East last year due to the death of his and brother Prince Harry’s former nanny Olga Powell, and wife Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, attended alone.

During his visit he will also officially open Haven Leisure Point Centre in South Shields, and attend a Diana Award Inspire Day training workshop event at the leisure centre.