The Duke of Cambridge has revealed that a project that he and his wife Kate, along with his brother, Prince Harry, set up in 2012, has "grown significantly over the last eight years" and is now an independent charity.
Coach Core was established by William, Kate and Harry's Royal Foundation in 2012, and is a programme that delivers sports coaching apprenticeships for 16 to 24-year-olds who are not in education or employment, in a bid to develop their talents and help them learn vital sporting, work and life skills.
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On Thursday night, William officially opened the 2020 Coach Core Awards with a video message, and revealed his pride at the apprentices during a particularly difficult year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Duke said: "This year more than any in the programme's history, Coach Core's apprentices have had to overcome challenges, adapt and learn to be flexible in the face of difficulty.
"I am so proud – both of your individual accomplishments this year – and of Coach Core itself.
"Coach Core started as a programme at The Royal Foundation and I'm pleased to say that over the last eight years it has grown substantially and is now an independent charity in its own right, working with over 500 apprentices in 14 sites across the country."
He finished by saying: "So, congratulations once again to the entire Coach Core network for helping bring huge opportunities to young people and communities across the UK."
William, Kate and Harry at a Coach Core graduation ceremony in 2017
Jason Knauf, Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Foundation, said: "Coach Core was one of The Royal Foundation's first programmes and has grown to have an incredible impact on local communities across the country.
"We are very proud that Coach Core is now an independent charity and are confident that it will continue to inspire the next generation of coaches."
William, Kate and Harry launched the project through the Royal Foundation in 2012 – the year of the London Olympics.
Harry, now known as the Duke of Sussex, was heavily involved in supporting the scheme, delivering a speech at the awards in 2018 with the Duchess of Sussex at his side.
Meghan branded the initiative inspiring and said at the time: "My husband has devoted so many years to Coach Core."
Harry and Meghan at a Coach Core event in 2018
The Royal Foundation was established by William and Harry in 2009, with Kate joining after her marriage to William in 2011. The Royal Foundation became the joint charity of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, following their wedding in 2018.
In June 2019, Buckingham Palace confirmed that the Royal Foundation would now become the "principle charitable and philanthropic vehicle for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge".
Harry and Meghan, who stepped back from royal duties in March, have since established the website for their charitable organisation, Archewell.
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