The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in Bedfordshire today, where they paid a visit to the Youthscape building at Bute Mills in Luton in order to raise awareness about mental health.
Youthscape was formed in 1993, and specialises in the social and emotional development of adolescents and young adults. The charity has pioneered a number of projects, including SelfharmUK, an initiative aimed at helping people recover from self-harm. The newly revamped Youthscape centre reopened in April, and cost £3.2 million to renovate. It has been designed to be the national hub of the organisation.
During their visit, the Duke and Duchess stopped to talk to a number of young people who have been helped by Youthscape. While chatting to a group of girls, Kate revealed that she was a fan of the book Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins, and that she and her siblings loved the card game Uno, which they used to play regularly.
The royal couple also spoke to 28 year-old Ellis Jones, who told them about how she began self-harming when her mother was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, and how Youthscape had helped her cope with her mother’s death just a short while later.
Prince William, who too lost his mother as a teenager, told Ellis: “What happened should never have happened to you and you should never have gone through it. The fact you have gone through it and got where you are now, you should be really, really proud.” Kate agreed with him, and told the young woman that she was “so courageous” and “strong”.
Later, Ellis spoke about her meeting with the Duke, saying: “I feel so thankful for what he said, especially because he lost his mum at a similar age. It meant a lot to me. He said I was really brave and strong and that I should be proud of myself. He was really nice and so was Kate.”
Prince William also joined some boys in a game of FIFA on a computer. A devoted Aston Villa fan, the Prince played for his team against Luton Town. Although he scored a goal during the match, William was later told by one of the boys that it was offside, much to his disappointment.
The visit to the Youthscape centre is just one of many engagements that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have carried out this year as part of their effort to promote mental health awareness. The royal couple and Prince Harry launched the Heads Together campaign in May, in order to end the stigma associated with mental health, and earlier this year, the Duchess of Cambridge lent her support to a series of podcasts by the Anna Freud Centre.