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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit Centrepoint in Camberwell

21st December 2011

The Duke of Cambridge dances with Vanessa Boateng as his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge looks on during their visit to Centrepoint's Camberwell Foyer in London

The Duke of Cambridge was described as a "hugely powerful" motivator of disadvantaged young people today as he visited a centre helping homeless youngsters make a start in the world.

The Duke and his wife The Duchess of Cambridge dropped into Centrepoint's Camberwell Foyer in south London to learn about efforts to teach clients vital life and work skills.

The Duke has been the charity's Patron for six years and takes a keen interest in its work, as did his mother Diana, Princess of Wales who was a long-standing and active supporter of the charity and became its Patron in 1992.

Seyi Obakin, Centrepoint's chief executive, who slept rough on the streets of London with The Duke a few days before Christmas Day in 2009, said The Duke wanted to visit the centre in the deprived south London neighbourhood of Camberwell.

He said: "He always said he didn't want to be a stand off ornamental Patron, so he takes an interest in what goes on with us and we keep him regularly briefed so he knows what's going on, on all fronts.

"For somebody of his ilk, of his own accord to want to come here and meet them is a powerful motivator - says there is somebody who cares."

Mr Obakin added that when The Duke chats to a young person, then six months later meets them again and asks how they are, "that's hugely powerful for young people".