“I really hope I can make a difference, even in the smallest way. I am looking forward to helping as much as I can” – these were the words of Miss Catherine Middleton on November 16, 2010, during her engagement interview.
Today after almost 8 years, Catherine now the Duchess of Cambridge is turning those words into reality. Catherine who is on her maternity leave is reported to working hard on issues that are close to her heart. A Royal source informed Daily Mail, “Kate had been ‘immersing herself’ in her work over recent months, and could often be seen sitting at home with ‘mountains of paperwork’.”
Rebecca English from Daily Mail yesterday reported that Catherine is set to launch her first “solo long term” project – a campaign to help children failed by ‘Broken Britain’ in 2019. She is bringing together experts from academia, education, health and other fields to work on how to help families tackle anti-social behaviour, addiction and mental health.
Broken Britain – a term used by The Sun Newspaper in 2007 to describe a perceived widespread state of social decay in the United Kingdom. Among other issues, the one was Child neglect.
Since becoming a member of the royal family, Catherine’s patronage focus was on Mental Health and childcare along with Arts. Duchess is working with charities providing support to children and families tackling mental and social issues.
In May 2017 Duchess along with her husband Prince William and her brother-in-law Prince Harry started a campaign Heads Together under the umbrella of Royal Foundation to tackle the stigma around Mental Health. Today after two years the campaign is a huge success and turning the tides in the UK. As per a study conducted by YouGov on 14000 people a significant change in the public’s approach to mental health was noticed.
In February during the royal forum, Prince William told that Heads Together was actually Catherine’s idea that she suggested after noticing how three of us are working on the same focus i.e. Mental Health in different areas and it would be good to bring it together under one umbrella.
Speaking at the Forum Duchess said, “Since our roles are lifetime roles, our commitment to the work we do through the Foundation is genuinely long term. The work we do can and should have a long-lasting resonance. For this reason, we’re able to support causes we’re passionate about for decades into the future. Like the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales we feel strongly we have to take a long-term view that is measured in generations.”
Now after one successful combined project, Duchess is making her way towards another project that will be her way of making a difference in the long term. As per Rebecca’s report,
“The subject is politically fraught, with some blaming Broken Britain on parents and others blaming budget cuts. But sources say the 36-year-old duchess is determined to push ahead because she sees it as potentially as big an issue as climate change. ‘This is a lifelong project,’ said one royal source. ‘She is looking at what she can do over the next five, ten, 15, 20 years. She wants to be able to look back and see what difference has been made. That’s what her position in public life allows her to do.’ She insists she will steer clear of public policy, instead using her ‘convening power’ to bring together experts, charities and academics in the field under the umbrella of the Royal Foundation, the charity for the younger royals.
According to sources, Kate has acknowledged in private that her detractors are likely to question what she, as a privately-educated and extremely privileged young woman, could possibly know about poverty and lack of family cohesion. She has often spoken of how lucky she feels to be part of a close and loving family who have always supported her. But she maintains that it is her duty as a member of the Royal Family to use her position to look at fundamental issues affecting the nation on a long-term basis.”
As per Daily Mail, “She is getting to know her subject really well as she knows how difficult it can be for someone from the Royal Family to talk about issues like this. People will often accuse them of being “preachy” or judgmental but she has spent the past few years meeting hundreds of people struggling with mental health issues and addiction, and it all seems to come back to childhood”.
In March speaking at the symposium on early intervention, to provide social and emotional support for children in their early years at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, Catherine said, “I really feel so passionately about the importance of early intervention. Providing children in their earliest years with social and emotional security builds strong foundations which last a lifetime”.
Duchess and her expert advisers will also look at how to introduce better mental health support for primary school children, and at teaching parenting and relationship skills to teenagers before they even think of starting a family themselves. The findings will be published in 2019. The team of advisors include Professor Scott Greenhalgh, Professor Jane Barlow, Kate Billingham, Professor Leon Feinstein, Professor Peter Fonagy, Dr Alain Gregroire, Annamarie Hassall, David Holms, Professor Eamon McCrory and Dr Matthew Patrick.
One of the key advisors is Professor Peter Fonagy, Chief executive of the Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families, patronage of Duchess. Daily Mail talked to Professor Fronagy,
“She came with a very deep interest even then about childhood and the influence of childhood on later development and she was surprisingly well informed about it. She was clearly on a journey of learning but had a good understanding of the importance of early development on the rest of life, there are few greater issues facing the country today. ‘[She] could affect the future of an entire generation with her work”.
‘What we have come to understand is just how important the early years can be in influencing the choices people make in life,’ he said. ‘The duchess can be such an incredibly important advocate for this issue. ‘She has a remarkable position to raise awareness about the importance of early years. I cannot think of anything more important that a person could do in her capacity.’
As expected, Duchess is set to come back from her maternity leave in October. The next three months up to Christmas are set to be busy for Duchess with most of the focus on Mental Health.