Blessed Sacrament School in Islington, North London, welcomed a special visitor this past Tuesday as Kate Middleton, 32, the Duchess of Cambridge, met with children, head teachers, and charity workers to see how things were progressing within a program that helps children whose parents have addictions.
She was greeted by scores of cheering and enthusiastic children waving English flags. When she asked them what their favorite part of school was, a young boy named Ezekiel quickly said, “Lunchtime!”
The pilot program, called M-Pact Plus, is eight weeks long and seeks to educate teachers and administrators to identify young people whose parents misuse drugs and alcohol and give the young people the support they need.
It is funded by The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with Prince Harry, in conjunction with Comic Relief and two charities which she is a patron of—Action on Addiction and Place2Be.
In a meeting with head teachers and charity workers involved with enacting the M-Pact Plus program, Kate asked numerous questions to gauge the progress of the program, including, “Have you found it difficult to attract parents given the stigma that can be associated with these issues?”
She also asked if parents were “quite surprised” by the things the children were saying.
A Kensington Palace spokesman said, “The project had been driven by a personal interest by the Duchess. Through her patronage of Action on Addiction, the Duchess has become aware of the shattering impact of addiction, not only on those addicted but also their families.”
Children of an addicted parent are seven times more likely to develop an addiction themselves, a cycle Kate is hoping the program will break as children receive help to cope with the challenges they face.
The Duchess launched the program last year when she was pregnant with Prince George. She was overheard telling comedian John Bishop that George, who is just shy of his first birthday, was “racing around and he’s so fast she couldn’t believe he was opening doors already.”
The students presented her a drawing of Kate cradling Prince George upon her departure.
Image via Wikimedia Commons