Thursday, 13 Jun 2024

Princess Kate ‘shines a light on invisible army’ of kinship carers

Kate Middleton hugs young royal fan in Windsor

Kate, Princess of Wales has “shone a light on an invisible army” of kinship carers as she visited support groups at the St Pancras Community Association in London this afternoon. Dressed in a pink Alexander McQueen suit the royal spent 60 minutes chatting with the carers who are supported by Kinship, who explained how they were “isolated” before they became involved with the charity due to a lack of awareness of their specific needs.

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Kinship was established in 2002 with the aim of “looking at the family differently” and providing support, community and advice for families who take in grandchildren, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters and children of close friends when their birth parents are unable to look after them.

There are currently around 162,000 children across England and Wales being raised in kinship care, with Kate’s visit drawing attention to this often overlooked cause.

Dr Lucy Peake, chief executive of Kinship, told Express.co.uk: “The opportunity of having the Princess come and talk to kinship carers today has been incredible, because she’s shone a light on this invisible army of carers.

“Not only will that help them to feel that what they’re doing is being recognised, but it also will help us as a charity to reach people when they need us.”

Kate is a passionate supporter of causes focusing on child development and family life, having launched her Shaping Us project earlier this year to highlight the importance of the early years of a child’s life.

Two of the carers who met with the Princess spoke to Express.co.uk about their conversations with Kate and her interest in their stories.

Joy, who has cared for her eight-year-old granddaughter since she was a baby, said: “She [Kate] seemed very interested in Kinship, she wanted to learn more abour our experiences and how taking in children impacts the lives of both the childen and the person looking after them.

“I think it’s fantastic because anyone who can highlight the issues of kinship carers and their particular challenges, shine some light on their isolation and the sense of invisibility that some of us feel, anybody who can do that is most welcome.”

She added that Kate took time to meet and talk with everyone, alongside rapper Professor Green, who was raised by his beloved Nanny Pat and is a fellow advocate of the cause.

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Wendy has been a kinship carer for 14 years, having raised her grandchildren since they were very tiny.

She said Kate was “very sympathetic” and seemed to know a lot about kinship carers, adding: “She’d done her homework!”

The Princess of Wales heard about the impact on kinship families, how it could affect the family dynamic and how children of kinship families may be made to feel different at school, as well as the importance of Kinship for bringing carers together and offering a strong community.

Kate made time to meet some children as well, getting stuck in and playing Paw Patrol with some of the youngsters.

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Earlier in the day Kate made a visit to the Foundling Museum to meet with people with lived experience of the care system.

She spoke to care leavers who have been supported by the Museum as well as adoptive and foster parents who have taken in these children.

Kate spent time discussing the positive impact that supportive relationships have on those in the system.

The Foundling Museum tells the story of the Foundling Hospital, the UK’s first children’s charity founded in 1739, as a home for children without a home of their own.

The Museum now has its own mentorship programmes and creative projects, as well as training, led and developed by contemporary artists, musicians and writers.

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