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Thursday, 08 March 2018

Kate praises Place2Be's efforts 'to give children best start' as she opens new head office

Written by Tony Jones

The Duchess of Cambridge praised a children's mental health charity for leading efforts "to give every child the very best start in life" as she opened its headquarters.

In a speech to mark the launch of the new building, Kate highlighted the work Place2Be has been doing in training and guiding counsellors based on the evidence and experience gathered from the organisation's frontline work.

Speaking at the refurbished premises in Clerkenwell, central London, the duchess said: "School leaders and teachers need expert guidance and training to develop their own approaches to supporting children's mental well-being.

"They also need access to a pool of experienced, well-trained mental health professionals, who can step in when things are more complex or serious. As its patron, I am incredibly proud of the contribution that Place2Be is making towards exactly this."

Kate became patron of Place2Be - the leading UK provider of school-based mental health support - in 2013 and is passionate about the cause.

She has become closely involved with its attempts to provide early intervention for children before problems escalate.

She added: "In my years of working with all of you at Place2Be, I have seen at first hand the leadership you provide: you are at the forefront of efforts to give every child the very best start in life.

"That's why this new centre of excellence is so crucial, not only for Place2Be to continue their outstanding work, but for all the school leaders, teachers and children it helps now, and undoubtedly will help in the future years to come."

Earlier, Kate, who is expecting her third child in April, joined three pupils from Albion Primary School in Rotherhithe, south-east London, where Place2Be has been providing mental health support for pupils, families and staff for 16 years.

The youngsters, who were invited to the launch event, had been given a simple drawing of a hand and had been writing the qualities of good friendship along the fingers.

The duchess was dressed in a Marlene maternity cocktail dress by Seraphine, an outfit she wore during a recent visit to Norway with William.

Catherine Roache, chief executive of Place2Be, highlighted the benefits the charity's new space will provide over its old offices in Islington, north London.

She said in a brief speech to invited guests: "We already train over 1,000 counsellors each year and with this space - our fantastic, brilliant, wonderful new space - we have the potential, along with the new technologies, to train many, many more as many as 6,000 each year by 2025."

Before leaving, Kate unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of the building, which staff will be moving into around mid-April.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Victoria Jones / PA Wire.