homelessHis Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge has used Skype to chat with young people about an innovative employability exchange programme in the Netherlands when he visited the charity Quarriers’s Stopover, a youth homeless project in Glasgow.

Two Stopover residents are currently on the European Union-funded Quarriers Way to Work initiative, which, alongside Dutch partner organisation Werkcenter, provides them with work experience. Young people on a Werkcenter programme in the Netherlands also come to Glasgow as part of the exchange and take up work placements in social care with Quarriers.

Quarriers Stopover, based in the south side of Glasgow, provides short-term crisis accommodation for 14 young people between 16 and 25 who find themselves homeless. When many arrive at the project they have drug or alcohol addiction problems or experience mental health issues.

Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge toured the project today on the couple’s first visit to Glasgow.

During the visit, Dylan Howie, 18, (pictured) and Lyn Buchan, 21, both from Glasgow and currently based in the southern Dutch town of Papendrecht on the Quarriers Way to Work initiative, had the chance to talk to His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge via Skype about their experiences in the Netherlands as well as what it is like being homeless.

Dylan, who came first came to stay in Quarriers Stopover in September 2011 when 16 and returned last December, said before the chat, “It’s just amazing that I will get a chance to speak to The Duke of Cambridge. It’s brilliant – I’m very excited. I never thought that when I came to Quarriers Stopover that a few months later I would be speaking to The Duke of Cambridge.

“The past year has been really tough for me – but since coming to Quarriers Stopover my life has been turned around. Everyone at Stopover is brilliant and now I’m on the Quarriers Way to Work programme I can see a brighter future. I’ve never been abroad before so it’s great experience to see a different culture and get work experience at the same time. I feel really positive about getting a job and my own place when I get back to Glasgow.

“I won’t believe it’s really happening until I see The Duke of Cambridge on the computer screen. It’s going to be a fantastic day.”

The Quarriers Way to Work programme was developed in partnership with Dutch organisation Werkcenter and facilitated by the Scottish Government and funded under the European Union Leonardo Mobility programme. To get on the programme, the young people undergo a rigorous recruitment process and received extensive preparation training, carefully adjusted to match their individual needs.

 “It’s great that the young people currently in the Netherlands on the Quarriers Way to Work programme will get the chance to ‘meet’ The Duke of Cambridge via Skype. This will have a huge positive impact on the lives of these three young people who have already had to overcome more obstacles than many their age.

“Everyone associated with Quarriers Stopover is honoured – and extremely excited – that Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen to come to the project on their first-ever visit to Glasgow as a couple.” Quarriers chief executive Paul Moore said before todays event.

[Reported by Mike Watkins]

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