William and Kate visit Christian charity XLP


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge today conducted their second visit to XLP in London, to hear about how the Christian charity is helping young people on the verge of exclusion.

The couple were greeted by founder and CEO Patrick Regan (alongside hundreds of paparazzi) and spent the afternoon hearing from young people and their mentors.

Youth from around London talked about the problems they faced, including loneliness, mental health, family issues, homelessness, gangs, struggling to fit in, and gun and knife crime.

The focus of the visit was specifically on XLP's mentoring scheme, which now operates not just in London but across the country.

Young people on the verge of exclusion, or at risk of gangs or anti-social behaviour, are partnered with a trained XLP mentor, who meets with them for at least two hours per week.

For many young people, this ends up being a crucial influence in their life.

One man, Sefton Henry, described how he was part of a gang for more than 17 years, and had been to prison seven times. He had a difficult upbringing, and said not having a father figure had contributed to the problems he experienced.

"I didn't have... a role model, someone to say to me what was right," he said.

He met his XLP mentor, Ethan, who helped him to turn things around.

The difference with Ethan, Henry said, was the way he spoke to him. "Most people judge and punish, when what you should do is discipline and guide," he said.

Henry now advises police, including Scotland Yard, on how to deal with gangs, and is a mentor himself.

XLP works with young people of all faiths from inner city communities who are dealing with issues such as poverty, family breakdown, unemployment, gang life, and educational failure. Today also saw the launch of the charity's new anti-knife crime campaign:

This is the Royal couple's second visit to XLP.

In March 2015, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge watched a performance by young people involved with the XLP Arts project at Christ Church, Gypsy Hill and visited the mobile recording studio.

They also spent time talking to young people from the charity's community bus project on the Hazel Grove Estate in Sydenham.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited XLP last year.XLP