“I have an idea.”
Grabbing a marker and a banana, the Duchess of Sussex got to work while visiting charity One25 in Bristol Friday. She added a personal touch to care packages for women working on the streets, writing inspiring messages on bananas.
The organisation, which helps women in Bristol break free from street sex-work, homelessness, and addiction, might not be the type of charity you’d expect to see on a royal visit. But the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have continued their quest to spotlight causes that others might not be willing to address.
Printing messages like “you are brave,” “you are strong,” “you are loved,” and “you are special” on the bananas, the Duchess surprised One25’s kitchen volunteers with her spur-of-the-moment plan. After watching care packages being prepared, Meghan explained she heard of a programme in the United States doing something similar with empowering messages.
“I saw this project this woman had started somewhere in the States on a school lunch programme,” she said. “On each of the bananas she had wrote an affirmation, to make the kids feel really, like, empowered. It was the most incredible idea – this small gesture.”
Meghan also drew hearts on the bananas, which went into packages including muffins, crisps, Fruit Shoot drinks and other items such as blankets and condoms. One25 goes into Bristol’s red light district five nights a week in their mobile van unit to deliver food, supplies, and emotional support to women working in the sex trade.
The van is essential in reaching those who might not otherwise drop in One25’s centre, providing them with basic needs and the tools to get help.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex toured the van and the facility’s drop-in centre, speaking with volunteers, staff, donors, and women who benefit from One25’s services. Due to the sensitive and personal nature of their work, the engagement was kept confidential until after the Sussexes left in order to protect the womens’ privacy.
One25, the only organisation of its kind in Bristol and the surrounding areas, aims to help women break away from street sex-work. They provide services for around 240 women a year, ranging from life skills and employment support to help for abuse, addiction, health issues and more. The charity helps both women currently engaged in sex work and those trying to rebuild their lives after leaving the streets.
The organisation is hoping awareness from the royal visit will increase funding to help expand their services to seven days a week instead of five.
The Sussexes’ trip to One25 was part of a busy day of engagements in snowy Bristol. Other stops included the Bristol Old Vic, where the couple watched students perform, and Empire Fighting Chance, a boxing club for vulnerable youth.